The Fall 2014 fashion shows in February, which took place during freezing conditions in New York, emphasized the power of outerwear. Coats and jackets have become the focal point of an increasing number of designers’ collections, collections where, thanks to the competitive climate, so often the layers beneath are reworked versions of popular trends and garments from previous seasons. Coats are the most visual way of showing seasonal difference and being both functional and durable, make a good investment for the consumer, who will get more wear out of this garment than they perhaps would a dress or piece of knitwear. The price point and new wave of trends rippling through this category will make it an exciting segment come Fall. Here, we look at the data around one outerwear trend that we’re tipping for success: embellished outerwear.
1. Marni setting the trend for the bomber
Perhaps an unexpected trend, with embellishment normally reserved for less robust garments and evening wear, there’s been recent evidence of this feature growing into a broad trend. Following on from the huge commercial success of the bomber jacket, for SS14 Marni sent out a jewel-encrusted emerald bomber jacket, which was leapt upon by street style stars, including Anna Dello Russo. Retailing at $8,621, the jacket first came into stock at Net-a-Porter on the 10th April 2014 and has already sold out.
Marni jacket may have had the most elaborate version, but coming into store in January for the SS14 season were embellished bombers from MSGM at Selfridges, Antipodium at My Wardrobe, Saint Laurent at Net-a-Porter and 3.1 Phillip Lim at The Corner – a suitably influential set of brands and retailers. Firmly securing the trend’s future was the use of embellishment on Burberry’s SS14 trench updates: the stage had now been set for the industry to play out the trend to full commercial impact. Sure enough, designers stepped up a gear with their embellishment for Fall 2014, with Rochas, Fendi, Moncler Gamme Rouge and House of Holland all joining the ranks (alongside continued backing from Marni) using jewels, sequins, feathers and motifs on oversized outerwear. Anything goes, whether it’s encrusted shoulders, a fully-feathered front, a princess coat laden with paillettes or a mountaineering jacket speckled in Swarovski crystals – just make it ornate.
2. The state of current play
There has been a 138% increase in the number of new embellished outerwear garments coming online during SS14, compared to SS13, and the average price of an embellished garment has risen 164%, to $528 currently. Of particular interest is the way the premium market has now grown – for SS13 9% of embellished outerwear was in the premium market, and 38% in the luxury market. Now, for SS14, 22% of embellished outerwear sits in the premium market, with the luxury market still high at 33% of garments – therefore showing the trend has gained market share from the mass and value segments, and suggesting further commercial potential across every price point.
The current five biggest retailers of the trend are Farfetch, ASOS, Net-a-Porter, My Theresa and Harvey Nichols – a more trend-forward selection than SS13’s top five which included Marks & Spencer and discounters The Outnet. River Island were prophetic with their multi-color beaded bomber jacket, remarkably similar to 3.1 Philip Lim’s which dropped in May 2013, described by them as “a must-have for those in the know”. It seems that they were just too early – the jacket was reduced by 60% to $67 in July 2013 and one size remains in stock.
3. The right timing: September is the month for sell outs
With a greater interest in outerwear and play with proportions, fabrics and detailing, it makes sense for retailers to be drawn to embellishment in order to differentiate in the hot market. If River Island were too early into the trend with their May 2013 arrival, and with a rush of products arriving in early SS14, what is the correct timing for the outerwear trend? Topshop have begun pushing a lightweight embellished jacket in their email newsletters – the most recent on the 11th May, but we’d expect them to ease off on promoting this trend any further for the summer season.
We ran analysis of the number of new drops each month of the year, which pinpoints outerwear drops increasing dramatically from July and coming to a head in October. Retailers who have picked up on the trend need to sit out May and June, which have the lowest number of new product drops in the year. When we layer over the number of sell outs each month, we can see that September is the biggest month for product sell outs, traditionally marking the start of the Fall season (although temperamental climates and a global audience have put paid to the old retail handbook), but full-priced sell outs do start increasing from July.
By carefully watching the data unfold, early adopters of this trend could start dropping their embellished outerwear as soon in the season as July and August to optimize on the trend-hungry, full-priced consumer activity here.