How casual dressing is changing the industry: "Fashion retailers are fashion victims of their own making"
In 2017, it's clear that casual, everyday fashion has been favored over more luxurious, sophisticated clothing. Retail giants such as Forever 21 and fast-fashion companies have moved forward, while bigger brands have seemed to halt.
"What started in Silicon Valley, was plugged by Levi's as Casual Friday, has eroded into casual everyday, for everyone, everywhere," said Judith Rasband, executive director of the Console Institute of Image Management in a statement. "Promoting America's obsession with casual dress, retail giants pushed the dress down trend to the level of faded t-shirts, dirty, distressed, deconstructed denim, and flip-flops. As the result, too many consumers don't buy or wear nice clothing anywhere, anymore."
Discount and e-commerce are growing more popular than high-fashion couture labels. Some of the trends that Rasband has noticed include negative consumer attitude for dressing up, dwindling customer need for clothing, and sluggish store and shopping mall traffic. Internationally, retailers such as Michael Kors, J. Crew, West Seal, Abercrombie, Aeropostale, The Gap and Macy's are all cutting jobs and closing stores. These are all signs of business slowing down as a result of mall traffic decline. These high-end and low-end stores are all suffering due to their "dressier" apparel.
Sophisicated retailers suffering due to distressed styling and everyday fashion labels
"The first to go were Casual Corner, Petite Sophisticate, and August Max, followed by Cache, Jones New York, and the Limited," said Rasband in a statement. "Courageous hold-outs not yet giving in to disheveled looks include Talbot's, Ann Taylor, Dillard's, Penny's, Sears, Dress Barn, and Christopher Banks, but they're paying a price they can't afford. Saks, Nieman's, and Lord and Taylor are biting the bullet aimed at them as well."
The Conselle Institute of Image Management is known for its education in certification and image management careers. The courses focus on visual design in dress and non-verbal communication through dress, grooming, and body language. As the executive director, Rasband has tracked department stores for years. Throughout her research, Rasband's predictions seem to hold true.
In the past, Rasband foresaw the downfall of department stores in 1985. She has also reported a forecast that came out in 1995, America's Going Down The Tube In A T-Shirt, delivered in Washington D.C. to the Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. She stated that America's focus now is casual dress, faded t-shirts, distressed denim, and flip flops. These looks are imperative for fashion retailers if they want to fight this uphill battle in the industry.
The Conselle Institute of Image Management is known for its education in certification and image management careers. The courses focus on visual design in dress and non-verbal communication through dress, grooming, and body language.
Photos: Michael Kors / H&M / Forever 21