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What New York Fashion Week Says About Consumer-Led Design

Not too long ago, there was a time when you weren’t able to instantaneously see photos from a New York Fashion Week (NYFW) show on social media. These days, social media and smartphones make it easy to see the fashion trends forecasted for seasons set seven months into the future from the comfort of your Delorean (Yes, those are going back into production).

At Day 1 of NYFW, I had the privilege of attending the event hosted by Desigual. The brand landed with a bright and colorful splash and successfully combatted the cloudy days and Arctic temperatures we’ve been seeing in NYC lately. Layered patterned outfits comprised of mohair, fur, and leather rocked the runway and were complemented by stick-straight Cher 70s hair, minimal makeup and Desigual’s signature quirky-cool style.

The collection is a “metaphor for the 21st century city, visualized as a cultural collage, where technology, trends, and a global culture are seen as one.” Desigual’s new collection was also comprised of hints of Parisian chic, gypsy vibes and inspirations of Steven Tyler’s layered and loud eternal style. As for Desigual’s new Fall/Winter 2016 collection? You “Don’t Want to Miss A Thing.” OK, that’s enough cultural references for one post!

So, the launch of a new fashion collection is exciting, but why should marketers care? Well, I found that the theme behind the collection spoke volumes not just about changing trends, but about how consumer behavior is changing the way in which brands design: For utility as well as for style. The flow of the collection speaks to how today’s consumers are free spirits, embracing the opportunity every day to express themselves, and reviving the youth of their parents, all while putting comfort ahead of other characteristics. Modern consumers are fully immersed in their world, and prefer experiences to material goods. They want their style to reflect the integration of their work, social, and personal lifestyles.

Desigual reflects that perspective nicely and highlights how fashion brands today need to embrace their consumers, and let them craft the direction of the brand. Gone are the days where brands will lead messaging and consumer direction. And if done correctly, that’s not such a bad thing.