Wednesday, 02 December 2015 14:19

ChicGeek Comment - Fashion Instinct

The Chic Geek fashion comment lystA recent wrap on the Evening Standard’s ES Magazine by fashion portal, Lyst, got me thinking about how fashion is currently being bought and marketed. Armed with streams of data on sales and searches, the company fine tunes its offering to predict what you want before you even know it yourself selling from different retailers and sites in one place.

Left - Recent advert for Lyst

The advert says things like - “This week on Lyst: New York men spending 25% more on rubber-soled sneakers than New York women on high heels”.

Is this kind of information really useful? While any additional information empowers buyers and retailers to think about what is selling and what to buy again, it has be remembered that fashion isn’t a logical beast. 

lyst fashion data chic geek commentYou can’t solely predict and buy fashion on previous sales and best-sellers. It’s a bit like trying to please a search engine, how can people search for something they don’t even know they want yet or actually exists? It’s the digital equivalent of the chicken and the egg. 

Right - Can algorithms predict fashion?

Annoyingly, as fashion becomes more saturated and speeds up, the number of major changes and ideas seems to be slowing. Is it these types of buying patterns and data information that is stalling fashion? Are retailers being too cautious in order to maintain sales and offer more guaranteed return on sales?

Algorithms will never be able to replace instinct. Fashion is about instinct, a gut feeling. It’s about influential people - be they celebrities, designers, best friends - asking themselves “what do I want now?” or “I want that!”.

This starts the wave of influence along the chain across brands, designers and people which then results in the trends and then, hopefully, end sales for the retailers.

As fashion becomes more competitive and saturated it will be those with the instinct to go in their own direction who will really standout.

Friday, 27 November 2015 15:15

Hot List - The Car Coat

the chic geek boohoo grey mens coatAffordable men’s clothes have got so good, recently, that if you’ve got the eye and the inclination you can pick up some of the best menswear pieces for next to nothing.

Left - TheChicGeek previewing Boohoo's car coat at their press preview last spring

My case in point is Boohoo’s men’s AW15 car coat. Women have had this shape for a long time, now, and it works because it elongates the body, making you look slimmer and taller.

Fast fashion brands, like Boohoo, have to come up with so much new product these days that they are continually innovating themselves rather than looking to designer fashion solely for ideas. This was one of the best men's coat shapes, I've seen, of the season and at a bargain price of 30 whole English pounds!

Below - Available now - £30

boohoo grey winter mens coat the chic geekboohoo grey mens coat geek chic

Monday, 23 November 2015 18:49

ChicGeek Comment - Bye, Bye, Brands

harvey nichols new menswear department chic geekKnightsbridge based department store, Harvey Nichols, has been busy excavating their basement. Long the home of their menswear offering, this cavernous yet claustrophobic space is, we are told, being completely made over ready for its unveiling in spring 2016. 

Left - Harvey Nichols' new store in Birmingham which gives us the direction stylistically of the Knightsbridge store's new men's basement.

So, what’s new? I recently attended a presentation of theirs describing how the new spaces are going to look. Bye, bye shop-in-shops and branded concessions: long the bastion of mega-brands, physically claiming prime spots in-store to be replaced by easily changeable spaces and the mixing of brands.

I'd like to think of it as a more democratic form of shopping: allowing labels to speak to people solely on product alone without the pre-judgement of walking over to a branded section or the muscling out of smaller brands by placing them in the parts of the store these mega-brands don’t want.

The big brands won’t like this. They will sell less. There will now be an equal playing field between them and whichever new brands Harvey Nichols decide to stock. It also allows Harvey Nichols to drop brands faster, regardless of size, to keep pace with the speed of fashion and allowing new brands to bring excitement and interest into their physical store.

People are tired of seeing the same brands everywhere regardless of how expensive they are. It also allows a form of curation rather than simply a mini-mall of the same designer names which you can find the world over.

harvey nichols menswear april 2016 the chic geekHarvey Nichols know they can’t compete with the likes of Harrods and Selfridges on menswear floor space, so, they are making theirs more flexible and less static. This is a very clever idea.

Right - More interiors from Harvey Nichols Birmingham. Let's hope London looks this good

In order to survive shops need to become destinations. They need to offer something you can’t find anywhere else: something new, fresh and inspiring. They also have to flow, both visibly and physically, and, ultimately, part time-poor people with their cash.

One of the more interesting ideas they have is putting all the same things together. So, white T-shirts, tuxedos etc., all at different price points, selected by Harvey Nichols, are together with the sales assistants explaining the differences between them all.

Fashion’s big names have long earnt their corners of the big stores, but they sell more and remain powerful because they have the best positions and are, therefore, stuck in a positive cycle which is very hard to break, making retail spaces look the same every time and everywhere. It all becomes quite predictable and menswear buyers and the retailers want something different and exciting while still retaining the spend.

Harvey Nichols is seeing this refresh as an opportunity to try something new. No doubt they’ll be some difficult discussions with brands, but I hope they hold their ground and give these ideas a chance to prove that the customer, now, buys into good product rather than brands. Menswear just got a level playing field!

Opening April 2016

Wednesday, 18 November 2015 11:19

Hot List - The Grey Made In England Trainer

marks spencer walsh trainer

Making it onto TheChicGeek's Hot List is a pair of made in England trainers. The majority of people would be surprised to learn that there are still manufacturers making trainers in this country.

Bolton to be precise. Norman Walsh make these classy looking trainers for Marks & Spencer's latest AW15 Best of British collection, where they support British manufacturing.

The first casual shoes within the range, they come in this handsome grey colour which look just as good with joggers as with more formal trousers.

Left & Below - Marks & Spencer - Best of British - Trainer - Grey - £99walsh made in britain trainer marks spencer

Friday, 13 November 2015 15:11

TheChicGeek’s Top Geek-Chic Spectacles

chic geek spectacles gucci menswearGo bold, that’s TheChicGeek’s 2015 message for eyewear. Make a style statement in thickly rimmed retro style spectacles, this season. Perfect for the current vintage inspired looks, as seen on the catwalks for SS16, and the huge trend for facial hair and fuller hairstyles.

Left - Gucci Menswear SS16

smart buy glasses zack pilot spectacle framesTheChicGeek has complied a scrapbook of his 5 favourite spectacles, available right now from SmartBuyGlasses, and a few special spectacle wearing style icons to give you some inspiration.

Left - Smart Buy Spectacles - Zack

 

 

gucci menswear aviator spectacles Left - Gucci Menswear SS16

TheChicGeek says, "Think about your favourite TV stars of the 1970s in their oversized frames. The best shapes to go for are the aviator/pilot or thick square or rectangular frames".

Below - Yves Saint Laurent doing his best 1970s safari look, Gucci Menswear SS16

yves saint laurent spectacles icons the chic geekgucci glasses menswear spring 2016 the chic geekyves saint laurent spectacles icons the chic geek

Left - Yves Saint Laurent Spectacles

TheChicGeek says, "Fashion has entered a very fantastical moment full of dress up, patterns and prints. The types of spectacles help finish these eclectic looks".

elton john best geek chic spectaclesLeft - Elton John

Below - Cazal Spectacles

cazal aviator pilot glassesgucci menswear geek chic spectacles

Left - Gucci Menswear SS16

seventies yves saint laurentLeft - Yves Saint Laurent 

Below - Gucci Spectacles

gucci green red stripe spectacles

 

style icon spectacle wearers yves saint laurent

gucci spectacles spring 2015 menswear chic geek

TheChicGeek says, "Be bold. Oversized frames ooze confidence. They are also fun. Think Elton, Yves and the new look from Gucci".

Far Left - An older Yves

Left - Gucci Menswear SS15

Below - Tom Ford Spectacles

tom ford spectacles geek chic glasses yves saint laurent style icon geek chic 

Left - Young Yves

TheChicGeek says, "Spectacle frames reflect your personality. Standout and look confident".

Below - More 70s Yves & Elton 

yves saint laurent geek chic spectacleselton john style icon geek chic

This article is brought to you in association with SmartBuyGlasses