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How is fashion born?

Published
2.6.2014 at 04:20
The womb of fashion involves working with a ‘crystal ball’ – trend forecasts that look years ahead.

Trend specialist Tytti Kurula shares an insider's view of fashion and trends. She works at Urban View, one of the few trend agencies with a Finnish presence.

Fashion is not an engineered creation; like other living things, it is born. That birth is influenced by a vast range of world events, from natural disasters to international politics and the world of art. Also, science and technology have an ever greater influence on trends and fashion.

While fashion has existed since before records began, trend forecasting is new on the scene. This field emerged with the industrialisation of the clothing industry midway through the 20th century, in response to the producers' needs.

Tytti says: ‘Trends affect everything, even though a consumer wouldn't necessarily realise this when buying such an everyday item as a new bucket!’ 

The colour forecasts are first, arriving on the scene some two years in advance. As forecasts approach the short term, they get increasingly detailed, down even to predictions for zip types. Tytti clarifies, however: ‘We don't dictate anything or tell anybody what should be done. We just provide inspiration.’

Forecasting involves drawing inspiration from everywhere and spotting associations.

Anyone on the street can become a trend-setter.

Tytti says: ‘When predicting trends, we take a multidisciplinary approach and delve into areas such as ecology, marketing statistics, and consumer behaviour. Forecasts involve lots of research data but also intuition.’

Sometimes the predictions come true, but there can still be surprises. And some trend phenomena can arise very quickly.

‘Anyone on the street can become a trend-setter. A famous fashion designer may be inspired by something a person is wearing and bring it to the great collective consciousness through his or her work.'

A classic example of this is the story of Hush Puppies, the slipper-type shoes that were just quietly being sold at markets and shops until a certain group started using them in New York's trendy clubs, where fashion designers spotted them and brought them to their catwalks. After which their sales went through the roof.


Not interested in trends?

Fashion designers are among the trend agencies' regular customers – but not always. At least one of them isn't: Daniel Palillo. This fashion designer from Helsinki, whose clothes are loved by Lady Gaga, amongst others, doesn't care a jot for trends. He also would rather not be defined as a fashion designer, saying ‘my business card calls me a creative person’.

My interview with Daniel doesn't get off to a very good start. I lose my footing on the very first question, when I try to find out his opinions on women's fashion.

‘I don't have any opinion on women's fashion.’

For Daniel, the gender of the wearer is irrelevant. He doesn't design clothes for men or women. He just makes clothes.

I don't follow trends. I couldn't, as what I do is create new things.

I wonder what Daniel thinks about trends and fashion.

‘Trends do not interest me in the least. They haven't excited me for at least 10 years. I don't follow trends. I couldn't, as what I do is create new things,’ he says.

Then, when I ask Daniel about inspiration, he becomes animated. His seven-year career has seen him apply several work methods and come up with various ways of finding inspiration.

His most recent source of inspiration has proved to be one of immersion: he has been applying the method-acting approach.

He gives an example: ‘A few years back, my theme was motorbikes. I lived as a biker and got so involved in this role that I ended up buying a Harley Davidson. This resulted in a biking-inspired collection, with things like flame prints on clothes.’

Last summer, you might have seen Daniel walking around in his robe from dawn to dusk: ‘I method-acted the role of a slacker who just floats around and repels any kind of work. All of that provided the inspiration for this summer's collection, in which I enhance some garments with the text “Work sucks”, for example.’

The Tokyo, New York, Paris, and Milan fashion weeks have been important sales outlets for Daniel. His clothes have been shown in such distinguished venues as Paris’s Galeries Lafayette and the New Museum in New York.


Find your way to fashion capitals easily from Helsinki Airport:

  • Milan 3 h 5 min
  • New York 8 h 45 min
  • Paris 3 h 5 min


Luxury shopping at Helsinki Airport

Helsinki Airport is giving its visitors a new top-brand store.

‘It is with great excitement and pride that we welcome customers to our new BOSS Store, at Helsinki Airport,’ says Markus Neubrand, the managing director of HUGO BOSS Nordic.

‘I see Helsinki Airport as an important distribution point for not only Finnish but also international customers. With millions of passengers visiting the airport each year, this will definitely be a key location for us, and I am happy to be part of the newly created luxury shopping area in Terminal 2,’ says Neubrand.


Text: Irma Capiten
Illustration: Jaska Poikonen

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