Who decides what is in fashion

Where do trends actually come from?

Where do trends actually come from?

Animal prints, Asian looks, dirndls ... who comes up with that? Do designers suddenly have an inspiration at night - or does it work differently? A report on fashion trends

Do you already know what you will be wearing the summer after next? No? But we: a dirndl. In it you will clamber through the Bavarian Alps, famished in front of the alpine hut fall over a slice of rye bread, and in the evening you will pull your feet out of clunky hiking boots. Will that never happen to you? They think. Just like you thought two years ago that you would never wear gold-embroidered velvet slippers, not even at home in the dark. But now that it-girls like Alexa Chung have their picture taken with these ultra-flat slippers, you have to have them too. Absolutely. A trend is catching on and we want to be a part of it. What looks absurd or takes some getting used to at the fashion shows appears to us to be totally desirable six months later. How does this change of heart come about? How do bold designer ideas end up becoming must-haves?

Trends are related to our attitude towards life

At the beginning of the story there are often people like Lidewij Edelkoort. The Dutch trend researcher has been predicting what we will wear in the future for 40 years. And what attitude towards life is behind our wishes. "The wanderlust is coming again," announced Edelkoort. She sees us going to the mountains on long weekends, enjoying simple food, doing handicrafts and wearing dirndls. Because our thinking changes. Three weeks vacation on the Côte d’Azur? Too expensive, too far away, too chic. We have been experiencing crises for over 20 years, money is becoming scarcer, and uncertainty is growing. Now, Edelkoort is certain, we have got used to it. We no longer mourn the light-heartedness, instead we celebrate the small pleasures. She sees signs of this everywhere, "in art, in science, on the street". She intuitively scans pictures, technology, hair colors. Edelkoort only records with her eyes, she notes nothing, does not photograph anything. "I have a sixth sense for it," she says. "A system that works unconsciously. One day there is a knock on my brain - there is news!" Then she gathers her team together, explains the idea, places searches: finds photos that go with it, fabrics, materials, samples. She commissions pattern designs and turns the collection into a book, every season. A 1000 euro bible for all designers and fabric manufacturers who follow their predictions.

Are these prophecies that are self-fulfilling? Edelkoort predicts an animal trend, and everyone prints birds on blouses and wallpaper? “No,” she says firmly. “I don't think of anything, it's all there.” Once hip, some things last astonishingly long. The animal motifs too. Marc Jacobs paints dog faces on iPhone cases, Kirsten Dunst wears cat prints on her pants, and Sarah Burton dedicates her summer collection for Alexander McQueen to bees. There is yapping and whining and humming in the closet - but why? "We love animals, but actually we want to be some ourselves," says Edelkoort. "With technology, we have strayed too far from our instincts. We want them back." Go back, that seems very important. Back to the simpler life, to sensuality. But not back to the last few decades. Retro is exhausting. The large decor, prints and patterns let off steam one last time this summer. And then?

That'll be the trend next year

Next, the colors fade, it can be plain and white. Like a pure sheet on which the designers create something new. "Something contemporary," hopes Elisabeth Schwaiger. Laurèl's chief designer likes to read trend forecasts. But she looks for her own topics, sometimes in car manufacturing, sometimes in art. For her next winter collection, Schwaiger flew to Singapore, looked at skyscrapers and read books by the architect Zaha Hadid. Futuristic facades became the model for black shimmering sequin dresses, elliptical buildings for eggshape blouses and oversize sweaters. Such cuts have a hard time, at least for women with conventional taste. Avant-garde designers and their fans love the wide shapes - even as a rejection of everything classic - but normal-fashioned ones tend to be more body-hugging. Especially women who want to show their figure, no matter what is trendy. Schwaiger sighs. "I've been trying oversized styles for six seasons. But it was always just sipped." That inhibits an idea that wants to become a trend. And also the buyer who orders for his shop - in the end it is his turnover that counts, not his courage. And the designers? "That also inhibits me," admits Schwaiger. "But I also design parts," she says, "they are totally outstanding and are still a big hit." A yellow jacket, double-breasted, with a belt and three-quarter sleeves - actually cash poison. It was ordered cautiously, then it was sold in a flash. Sometimes it just has to attract the right woman, then it works by itself. An it girl, an actress or a model in a photo series that is often seen. Chance can also create trends.

Most of the time, however, things are predictable. The big labels in Paris and Milan show their collections, and everyone is watching: designers, buyers, bloggers, stylists. That's where the new ideas are, that's where the big lines for the next few seasons lie. Designers like Miuccia Prada, Isabel Marant, Phoebe Philo at Céline or Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton have their own mind and their own signature - no matter what they do. And they affect everyone else. "The big creative people don't need trend consultants," says Jörg Ehrlich. "You will find your subjects all by yourself." Ehrlich has been running the Odeeh label together with Otto Drögsler since 2008. The two worked for Rena Lange and Escada and were the head of design at René Lezard. The two emphasize that they would never have sought outside advice. Drögsler retires for a week to draw and comes back with 500 drafts. The craftsman is honest, looks for materials and commissions fabric manufacturers. She inspired Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower-tying, for her summer collection. The Asia theme is not exclusive to them. Prada, Haider Ackermann, Chanel, Etro - they all wrap us in kimonos and delicate flower prints this summer. There was no pioneer there. Are you talking to each other? "No. Designers don't share their ideas," says Ehrlich. Are the trend consultants behind it? "I work for all the great designers," says Lidewij Edelkoort and then falls into discreet silence. She doesn't like to call names. What is certain is that the fabric suppliers listen to the prophets, and they give many customers similar ideas at their trade fairs.

We find yellow and pastel on every catwalk, from Milan to New York. Black and white tiles at Louis Vuitton, black and white also at Dolce and Gabbana, Talbot Runhof and Moschino. Some designers strictly follow one idea, many offer a bit of everything: stripes, colorful, mini, maxi. "The big trends don't exist anymore," says Ehrlich. "Paris shows black, so everyone does it - it's over." We owe journalists and bloggers to journalists and bloggers who filter out the most important topics Look at others and find what goes with it. The fact that we have a good dozen trends to choose from means great freedom. Au revoir, trend dictation, today we look for the right style. The signature of a designer, the look of an actress, we and that shows us how to wear something casually. It's about styling, about the coolest combinations. That's what bloggers, stylists and journalists do today. They show how we get out of the house with what's coming Lucky for us, otherwise we would soon be in the cow dung in velvet shoes.

For sniffing trends on the Internet

The trend researchers on the net

On Li Edelkoort's website you can find bits of her forecasts, on her platform "Trendtablet" hundreds of topics, photos and texts in which one can lose oneself: edelkoort.com and trendtablet.com. The prophets of Peclers Paris, Trendstop and WGSN regularly fill their blogs and Facebook pages with suspicious finds: peclersparis.com, trendstop.com, wgsn.com.

Street style blogs

What is Tokyo wearing? How does the fashion crowd style themselves during the fashion weeks? Designers can find suggestions on these pages, and so do we: thesartorialist.com, stilinberlin.blogspot.com, facehunter.blogspot.de, japanesestreets.com, thelocals.dk, easyfashion.blogspot.com.

Fashion shows on the net

From the catwalk straight to the screen: well-made photos and films from the shows can be found everywhere on the Internet. At Fashion Week organizers such as Mercedes Benz: mbfashionweek.com, at liverunway.com under the names of the cities, on style.com, purple.fr, nowfashion.com - and of course on YouTube.

We also keep you up to date live and up-to-date on the Fashion Weeks at Petra.de.