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London Fashion Week SS14: digital trend review

The data behind #LFW. The sportswear, bomber jackets, maxi dresses and prints that will be big business in the new season.
London Fashion Week SS14: digital trend review | EDITED
  • LFW-SS14-Trends-EDITD-2

As London Fashion Week draws to a close, we’ve been quantifying consumer buzz to understand which trends get over-hyped in the furore of the event and which will stick with us through to the products arriving in stores. London has offered a decent wedge of innovation alongside many covetable creations. Brands also succeed in raising the digital bar yet again, generating consumer interest far beyond the show’s attendees. Topshop Unique teamed with sound-based sharing platform Chirp, to encourage consumers into their Oxford Street store to access behind the scenes content prior to their show. Meanwhile, Burberry’s partnering with iPhone 5s saw them releasing a host of mini vid teasers to generate interest around their show. It’s time to expose the data and reveal who is best in class.

1. London’s Colour Palette
London packed in more orange and yellow than New York, but fewer designers opted for the brighter shades of red and the earthy neutrals. The main colour story, however, was the pink which shone out from Bora Aksu, Preen, Richard Nicoll, House of Holland and many, many more. Whether vivid toned as at Burberry, or in the light blush tones at Whistles, this is undoubtably London’s colour story of the season. Black and white monochromatic looks are still present (David Koma, Jean Pierre Braganza) and will continue to sell well, but to refresh interest retailers would be wise to back the brights.

2. Most Talked-About Designer
Burberry and Topshop Unique tussle for top spot each season – despite their strong digital marketing efforts, Topshop’s collection received mixed reviews with its endless high-summer dresses not appealing to its casual daywear consumer quite so well as previous season. Burberry’s polish, celebrity friends and exquisite craftsmanship shone through this season, earning them the top designer position. They presented a mesmerising display of pastels spliced with camel and grey, of top-to-toe sheer lace, rounded silhouette outerwear and sublime over-sized embellishment. They continue to delight, seeking new fabrics in the form of plastic and experimenting with print beyond their trademark checks – this season saw bold stripes and large polka dots coupled.

3. Maxi Power
Maxi dresses in themselves are not a new trend story, but the forms shown in London were. These were maxis with added drama, but for the daytime. At Holly Fulton, that meant a printed silk shirt dress, sweeping the floor. At Jasper Conran a Peter Pan collared dress with skirts aplenty looked both prim and daring. These shapes were classic dress styles subverted with their new lengths. Looking at our retail data over the last month, nearly the exact same number of maxi dresses arrived in store’s Autumn stock as in the month of Spring arrivals, showing maxis no longer solely spell out hot, hot heat, and evidence that consumers are onboard.

4. Fabric: Sheer
Skin-baring with coverage, the sheer trend was was seen throughout the week. Whether that’s gauzy and masterfully cut like at J.W. Anderson, layered sportily like Richard Nicoll’s or in plastics like Burberry and Antipodium, SS14 is going to be scantily clad. Fingers crossed for a warm summer!

5. Theme: Sports Life
With twice as many online mentions as LFW’s next top theme, sport not only played, it won. Designers know how to do this now; light fabric, functional details, tech-y fabrics. The brave can add an element of the unexpected – a metallic (Preen), some leather (Thakoon Addition) or some kick-ass prints (Christopher Raeburn). The important thing here is not to get too tied up in the theme, instead focusing on consumer lifestyle and an ease of dressing. Whistles did this and won man (or woman) of the match.

6. Fabric: Lace
Lace is hotting up commercially, with 135% more lace skater dresses, 67% more lace tees and 89% more pencil skirts arriving online in the past month compared to six month ago. Those kinds of shifts will last more than one season, and ideally suited to the summer season, we know that lace is going to be a commercial hit for SS14. Burberry agrees, as do House of Holland, John Rocha, MichaelVan Der Ham and Peter Pilotto. Don’t use it sparingly; the real crowd pleasers were in all-over looks.

7. Key Item: Bomber
Still you say? Well yes, bombers still mean business. This season they come up trumps two-fold, as they fit into both of the season’s biggest trend stories; retro and sporty. Richard Nicoll and Pringle fed the sporty crowd, whilst House of Holland and Jonathan Saunders added newness with shiny and colourful retro versions. With 11% of current styles being restocked, and an even balance between the luxury and value markets, we can pre-empt the success of this racy outerwear garment for another season.

8. Theme: Mid-Century Mash-Up
You can issue a sigh of relief, vintage wasn’t a main contender at LFW. Instead, the altogether more jolly retro theme shone through. Focusing on the 50s, 60s and 70s this story is more colourful, lighthearted and fun than its prissy historical counterpart. Jonathan Saunders was champ here, with high shine track pants, Bermuda shorts and bombers. Gradient prints and embroidered florals nodded to psychedelia but references were uniquely his and not the history books’. See Matthew Williamson, Paul Smith and Orla Kiely for yet more assurance.

9. Key Accessory: Eye Spy Retro
Eyewear that just don’t care – sunnies for SS14 are frivolous and fun. Go cat-winged like Burberry, House of Holland and Felder Felder or full 70s aviator, like Jonathan Saunders, the retro themed face furniture is our top tip for a seasonal update. Bonus points for polarised lenses, dude.

10. Prints Are Back
Rejoice! We can turn down the notch on minimal colour-blocking because prints were back, with flair. Of course, Mary Katrantzou gave us bleeding edge printspiration with her visionary zoomed footwear artistry. But for the commercial crew, florals reigned supreme, whether in pastel screen print at Antipodium or creepy science lesson at Christopher Kane. Ignore the usual suspects (rose, daisy, we’re looking at you)and freshen up with nasturtiums, poppies, even the common dandelion! Elsewhere, tomboys can embrace stripes, with Bretons working into Margaret Howell’s Riviera theme. The bolder print-lovers can continue their affair with leopard, thanks to Sister by Siblings bright reworking, Temperley going clashy with florals and Antonio Berardi’s metallic version.

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