Future Trends in Retailing

Increased Focus on Experiential Marketing

Over the past two years I have seen a rise in experiential marketing. The trend is about brands or companies creating these stores or spaces that feature some sort of an experiential factor within it. The experience can vary based on what the brand is, for example it can be an immersive media interactive room or a way for consumers to interact with the brand in a new way. Whatever it is it entails focusing more on the experience and less on the product.

The trend comes from the fact that younger generations such as Millennials and Gen Z value different things than past generations have. Millennials are a generation that are known for valuing the experience over other things. Brands that create experiences can create a lot of publicity because when people go there they might take pictures for their Instagram and post it on their feed. By doing so more people see it and want to go which creates a natural buzz around the brand or product. I have seen a variety of different brands use this trend to promote different things.

I visited several different stores on the west side in the Chelsea and Meatpacking area. I went to the Dior pop-up store which creates an immersive experience by transforming the space into an area where you can explore all the different patterns Dior has to offer from its new collection. It is separated into different areas where each area has a specific pattern and the clothes from that pattern are shown there. It’s an immersive experience where you can touch and feel all the different patterns and fabrics. There is also a Holiday corner where they have set up a Holiday dinner table. The other store I went to was the new Intersect by Lexus brand experience. Intersect by Lexus just opened in the Meatpacking District and according to the people that work there it’s a brand new endeavor where they want people that don’t necessarily own cars now to connect with the brand. It features a little museum, a café and then a restaurant and bar upstairs. The concept for the restaurant is very interesting because they bring in different chefs from around the world to create menus for it and they will change out the chef every four months. I also visited the Mickey Mouse store which is a part of the Mickey Mouse museum. In that store is a room that is decked in head to toe with different neon furniture and knick-knacks.

I see this trend evolving even further into something similar to what Lexus has done. Brands will create spaces where consumers, that wouldn’t necessary buy the product right now, would come in and interact with the brand in different ways which might pay off for the brand in the future. I also see companies going even further with connecting specific product launches with a specific experience that makes people excited about that new product.



Intersect by Lexus

Mickey Mouse Store

(All photos by me)

Consumer Research

Do people that live in New York prefer comfortable shoes over fashionable or cute shoes?

I started this week’s assignment with a question. Do people that live in New York prefer comfortable shoes over fashionable or cute shoes? When walking about New York I often see people wearing these fashionable shoes that can’t be comfortable to walk in. On the other hand I can also see people wearing not aesthetically pleasing shoes that look very comfortable. This has made me wonder which is the majority, do more people prefer comfort over being fashionable or vice versa. To better understand this big question I created a survey with 6 questions. I had some issues at first with the wording of one of my questions which I realized after two respondents had already answered but I fixed it before the rest had answered (even after I had two people read over it) but I feel like I learned more that way. Please see image below for the questions I asked.

I had family and friends send the survey to people they knew that live in New York and I also sent it out to people at my office. But to also make sure I was asking different kinds of people I asked people in person on the train during my commute to work. I decided to ask people on the train because it is a place that they are already and can’t leave until their stop arrives so I believed it was the best place to ask strangers some quick questions. After getting 25 responses (including the five in person responses) I decided to analyze my findings. A majority of the respondents were female and the respondents had lived in New York for a span of 1-20 years. It differed a lot when they started to think about comfort over fashion or vice versa but many said that comfort became more important when they moved to New York, which makes sense because you walk more here than you might in other places. What I believe to be the most interesting finding I got from this was the fact that even though a majority owned sneakers and rated 4 on the scale of how important they found comfort to be when shopping for shoes, that 65% of respondents on the survey answered that they would rather have cute shoes that are uncomfortable than comfortable shoes that aren’t cute. I also thought that it was very interesting despite the fact that they would rather look cute than comfortable was that none of the respondents answered 1 on that same scale. This leads me to believe that my respondents when getting down to it would rather have cute/fashionable shoes instead of comfortable ones. This group has clearly benefitted from the sneaker trend that has been very prevalent the past couple of years. Asking these questions was extremely interesting because I got to ask a bunch of different people about their shoe preferences and I learned a lot of new insights. People that live in New York clearly don’t want to choose between one or the other, they want cute and fashionable shoes that are also comfortable.

All the photos are my own except the cover photo which I took from Elle.com

Finance Bro's

Style Tribe within New York City

This style tribe is called Finance Bro’s. Finance Bro’s can be seen all over Midtown as they walk to and from work. They can also be seen around the Financial District. They are called Finance Bro’s because of the way they act, look and where they come from. These are the guys that were likely a part of a frat and most likely come from an Ivy League college. If they weren’t at an Ivy League they were at an equally good school that helped them get the job they are at now. Finance Bro’s are men that work within the finance industry at banks and or hedge funds. This style tribe entails either wearing Patagonia vests, or other similar vests such as Moosejaw, with their bank’s or institutions logo on the chest or Patagonia vests they bought themselves to fit in at their job. Many banks give these vests out as bonus gifts or Christmas gifts. These Finance Bro’s buy these vests themselves because they aren’t at a high enough level or lucky enough to get them as a gift so they want to fit in with their friends and colleagues according to CNBC. These bro’s want to wear this style to fit in but also because it is very comfortable, much more comfortable than a suit jacket. They wear dress shirts and suit pants underneath the Patagonia vest which gives a stark contrast with the finer dressier look they need to wear within the office. These Finance Bro’s are a wealthy group and work a lot. They also often wear the Apple AirPods with the outfit or the Beats by Dre wireless in ear headphones. This group is clearly not wearing these vests when doing outdoorsy things like Patagonia intended but wear them to fit in at their workplace.

The style tribe leaders of this are the leaders of some of these finance firms. Their employees want to emulate them and they want to emulate each other so they dress in the same way. This tribe was formed through contemporary events. According to CNBC this trend started both in Silicon Valley and in the Finance industry and was immortalized by the wardrobe departments at the hit TV shows Billions and Silicon Valley. According to the Wall Street Journal this vest style tribe started after the financial crises because after that crises the financial institutions started loosening on the dress code. Their thought process was that hey we don’t pay you as much but now you can dress more casually and it is one of the easiest way to make employees happier. It also stems from the fact that Patagonia is a B Corp, which means they have to donate parts of their proceeds to charity or form charitable organizations and initiatives, so I assume the banks or hedge funds buy from them to look good to the outside world.

(All images are my own)

Innovation in Textiles

Textile innovations are a vital part of the evolution of the fashion industry. It is especially important now to create new textiles and ways of making those textiles because of sustainability issues the fashion industry faces. Companies have also been figuring out new ways of embedding technology within fibers. Researchers at MIT have recently been able to develop electronics embedded washable textiles. According to Textile Today “This marks the achievement of a long-sought goal of creating “smart” fabrics by incorporating semiconductor devices – the key ingredient of modern electronics — which until now was the missing piece for making fabrics with sophisticated functionality.”

Photo: MIT Researchers

This textile is unique in that way. Optical fibers have traditionally been made in the past by creating a cylindrical object called a “preform” and then heating it. Softened material is then pulled down under tension and the resulting fiber is collected on a spool according to Textile Today. This textile however according to MIT “has embedded high speed optoelectronic semiconductor devices, including light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and diode photodetectors, within fibers that were then woven at Inman Mills, in South Carolina, into soft, washable fabrics and made into communication systems.” According to MIT News in the own words of the researchers that worked on this project “this new textile discovery could unleash a new “Moore’s Law” for fibers — in other words, a rapid progression in which the capabilities of fibers would grow rapidly and exponentially over time, just as the capabilities of microchips have grown over decades.” This can create an entirely new fashion where wearable technology can go even further than it has today.

Photo: MIT Researchers

This technology can have multiple benefits for people, this fabric can encompass communications, light up and have physiological monitoring which can help people monitor their health. According to one of the researchers, “In the years ahead fabrics will deliver value-added services and will no longer just be selected for aesthetics and comfort.” This textile has the capacity to change the way we look at fabrics and how we use them. If this fabric really follows Moore´s Law then maybe in the future we can receive text messages on our sweatshirts and track our health with our T-Shirts. According to MIT News it is a fabric communications system. Also “beyond communications, the fibers could potentially have significant applications in the biomedical field, the researchers say. For example, devices using such fibers might be used to make a wristband that could measure pulse or blood oxygen levels, or be woven into a bandage to continuously monitor the healing process.” This new textile was proven to work because they washed it at least ten times and showed that it could still work in water by submerging it in a fish tank where it stayed for weeks.

Photo: MIT Researchers

I think it will take people a while to trust this textile but in the end it will be implemented by almost all when it has proven itself to last and help people’s everyday lives. I believe it will first be implemented by highly educated consumers that have already accepted various wearable technologies and smart home devices and were in the early adopter category of doing so. Because they have used similar technologies before I believe they will be willing to try an evolution of that technology. These consumers were also one of the first ones to adopt the wearable tech trend so they don’t want to miss out on the newest innovation of that trend. I also believe younger consumers will implement the technology first because they would be more willing to try this new innovation. They have less biases towards this technology since they have grown up with various wearable technologies so they will believe this a natural evolution. This textile has exciting possibilities for the future and I look forward to follow the evolution if this innovative textile. 

Color Forecasting

Spring Summer 2019

Looking at colors for the upcoming Spring Summer 2019 season is very interesting and there are several colors that are forecasted to be popular that season. One color that stood out that I have already noticed out and about on the streets is the Pantone color Terrarium Moss. As the Pantone website stated “Terrarium Moss conjures up thoughts of flourishing foliage and the physical beauty in the natural world.” This hue is of a lower saturation as it has cooler tones in it and isn’t as vivid as hues that have a higher saturation. Terrarium Moss has a dark value. This hue is a secondary color with shade in it to create this darker mossy green. This hue is subdued as it has been mixed with black to create a darker shade of green.

Pantone Terrarium Moss

I would say my color falls into the consumer category Color Loyals as defined by the Cooper Marketing Group. The reason I chose this category is because this is a safe color that has been popular multiple times throughout the years. This color is not daring to wear and that’s why it isn’t risky for people to adopt it. You can even think of it as a sort of neutral color.

Givenchy Spring Summer 2019

This color is coming back in a big way, it comes from army uniforms in the 1940’s and then was seen in the transition to autumnal colors in a brown phase circa 1976-79. This color is now a part of the trend that has been going on for the past year of women’s empowerment. Terrarium Moss brings out the sense of the utilitarian nature of the clothing as well as showcases the masculine within the feminine. As mentioned by Pantone the colors that are part of the trend report for Spring Summer 2019 are “Vibrant without being overpowering, highlighted shades illustrate our desire for authenticity and our continued need for creativity and relatable, accessible design.” I think we are going to see more of this color because it has such a deep root within nature and designers continue to draw inspiration from nature each season. I believe this color or hue will always be seen somewhere each season. I think the people that will adapt this color will adapt it because of the color symbols it provides. It brings out the experience and emotion of nature with its green tones. It might also be adapted by young environmentalist because green often signifies the environment and the younger generations such as Gen Z are putting a greater emphasis on being ecologically friendly.

As seen on the streets on Kate Ross

As seen on the streets by me

(Image at the top Ralph Lauren SS19)

2018 Pop Culture Trend

Powerful Women can do anything

The biggest trend I currently see within pop culture is the rise of powerful women. These past years and especially this year we have seen a women’s movement, multiple female led movies like Oceans 8 are emerging. After Donald Trump was elected president even though he had been accused of sexual harrassment by multiple women, women had enough, they organized the Women’s March the day after his inauguration and from there on out we have seen a rise of powerful women. Women are speaking up for themselves, women are showing they can wear anything they want when they want. For FW18 the fashion industry saw the emergence of 80’s power dressing popping up on runways everywhere we also saw references to the 60's movement because that references women fighting for themselves. Multiple designers from Versace to Saint Laurent had 80’s power silhouettes and colors amplifying their runway shows. During the SS19 runway shows you saw many ladylike dresses and more 80’s power suits in bright colors to keep with the trend of powerful women and continue the trends you saw on FW18 runways. This trend has also manefested itself with the designers at famous fashion houses. With Dior and Givenchy all being led by women, traditional fashion houses who used to be led by men are designing for women by women.

Saint Laurent FW18

Versace FW18

Brandon Maxwell SS19

Gabriella Hearst SS19

This trend started being a trickle down theory fashion change because powerful women started coming about with stories about sexual harressment which pushed the #MeToo movement but became a trickle across theory because women of multiple classes started speaking up and fighting for what they believe in. Women of all classes started showing that they are strong, powerful women and that they can wear and do whatever they want. This trend is also a fashion cycle trend because it brought back parts of the past fashion trends such as the 80’s power dressing and bright colors. 80’s power dressing and bright colors in the 1980’s evolved from the rise of women becoming executives at big companies and having more control over their lives. They didn’t need husbands and they even started making more than some of their husbands. With this current newfound rise of women’s empowerment, women asking for more and not taking shit from men, it was inevitable that this current pop culture trend would bring back 80’s power dressing and all that that entailed.

Opposing Retail Trends

I visited the Lower East Side to look at various stores to explore the retail trends that are happening. The two opposing trends I noticed the most were curated vintage fashion and the rise of smaller designers. When visiting the stores on the Lower East Side I found that these two trends were the most prominent and some stores even had incorporated both trends at the same time. They had both vintage clothing and smaller designers in the same store.

The trends are opposing because one is more about sustainability because it is about selling old garments and therefore not producing more waste whilst new designers are creating new garments that produce at least some environmental waste. The smaller designers that I saw in the store are producing trendy items that are currently popular, but they also had long lasting classic pieces that were more about craftsmanship than being on trend. Some garments from these designers had both elements together. The main difference also between the smaller designers and the curated vintage items were that the smaller designers were designing what they wanted to and for a specific individual. For example, in the designer store Yumi Kim it was all about colorful clothing with bold prints and feathery jackets whilst the curated vintage pieces were more all over the place trend wise so that each individual could find something they liked.

Vintage clothing is nothing new but it is having a resurgence in popularity as of late. I would say that curated vintage clothing is in its resurgence and it is in the early majority adoption phase whilst smaller trendier designer stores are in the early adopter phase where it is gaining popularity and might soon move into the early majority. I believe that vintage clothing has greater media attention because younger generations want to be more sustainable and that’s why they are shopping vintage. It also has greater presence because shopping vintage clothing is nothing revolutionary or new because it has always been around but now various boutiques are selling curated vintage clothing that they find and sell to consumers at a higher price according to articles on Business of Fashion. I believe that in the short term these trends will only grow larger and that smaller trendier designers will become very popular within certain crowds. In the long term I believe that the vintage clothing trend will stay popular especially the curated vintage shopping experience will only grow. In the long term for smaller designers I would say that the market will continue to grow but might not enter the mainstream because then these designers would no longer be small and therefore not be a part of that trend. The market for smaller designers will remain fairly niche and only within certain areas.

(All images are my own)

Economics and Fashion

There are many ways in which current economic situations could impact future fashion trends. Economics have always had a huge impact on fashion because it influences how much people can spend on fashion. From the great depression to World War II, the economics of the time have impacted both what can be manufactured and how much people can spend on that manufactured product.
With the extreme rise of fast fashion the past couple of years where everyone can buy the latest trends within weeks of them emerging the rise of slow fashion has become a huge trend. Slow fashion was people’s response to the terrible ecological impact that fast fashion brought with it. Fast fashion makes it possible for a lot of people to take part in the fashion industry. Stores such as Zara and Mango pull trends straight from the runways of New York Fashion Week and are selling these trends sometimes within as little as 10 to 15 days according to Forbes.

Left is Gucci and right is Mango

Slow fashion however is the exact opposite where brands are looking to create long lasting staples that can fit into a person’s closet forever. Slow fashion emerged because of the astronomical rise of fast fashion and it was in response to many economic drivers such as workers demanding higher pay. Slow fashion has also been affected because of the rise in GDP and the decrease in the unemployment rate to just 4%. Since people have more money they can spend it on fashion that costs more and they often want to spend it on clothing that costs more. When the economy is good people spend more money on expensive things. This is a trend that I think will last for a long time. 

I believe that trends are directly shaped by economics because economics influence people’s day to day lives in such a big way. Economics influence how people spend their money and brands have to make adjustments accordingly. Therefore some fashion trends would not come to fruition unless it was shaped by economics. For example when the ugly sandal trend became popular in 2011 it was a trend that was directly shaped by the economy because it showed that people had more money to spend on a variety of shoes because the economy was better. 

Economics have played a role in the development of NYC fashion trends much in the same way that economics have shaped trends in other places. Certain economic events have influenced New York City more than others since Wall Street is right here. After the recession of 2009 it birthed colorful trend of 2010 where women started wearing a lot of garments with vibrant extravagant colors. That evolved into going the opposite way (because you had so much money), like I mentioned earlier, the ugly sandal trend birthed the ugly dad sneaker trend that became very popular in NYC and was influenced by similar things. 

Economics are a large driver of various fashion trends because economics and fashion are intertwined. The various trends such as Fast fashion, slow fashion, colorful garments and the rise of the ugly shoe clearly show this

Greenpoint vs. Gramercy Park

I started walking around Greenpoint on a rainy Sunday afternoon and then again on Tuesday night. I walked into various stores and had drinks along with small plates at a local restaurant. Greenpoint is a vibrant young neighborhood where the demographics seem to be young professionals of all races and genders. I would say the population is mostly in their late 20’s to early 30’s. The people living in the neighborhood seem to be very interested in small local designers as well as eclectic restaurants and bars. They want to experience new things but still things that are within their comfort zone in a sense. The stores are a mix of vintage and new specialty stores with up and coming designers. The neighborhood is a mix of residential buildings on one side along with warehouses that either house construction companies or hip and trendy co-working spaces for creatives. The neighborhood used to have a heavy Polish presence but now it seems that it has gentrified somewhat but I could still see and hear Polish people talking outside their homes. There are a lot of trendy restaurants that serve a twist to classic American foods at a higher price point. The inhabitants are a mix of either trendy fashionable, hipster and people that don’t appear to really think about what they wear everyday. Many of the women I saw were wearing the latest trends and clearly wanted to be noticed for what they wore. People did not seem to own that many pets unlike Gramercy Park where the majority of the inhabitants own dogs. 

walked around in Gramercy Park on Saturday and then again on Wednesday around noon, I had coffee and a blueberry muffin from a small coffee shop on Irving. Gramercy Park seems to be a much older neighborhood than Greenpoint and therefore the inhabitants seem to be older on average. There are a lot of older ladies out walking their dog or running errands. Gramercy Park is also a smaller neighborhood than Greenpoint. It is a historic neighborhood as it houses the last private park in New York City. It is an expensive neighborhood where there are a lot of brownstones and nice apartment buildings. One of the most exclusive apartment buildings are the ones that surround the park. Many of the inhabitants of that neighborhood wear designer clothing and eat expensive food. They wear classic items such as cashmere sweaters along with Chanel purses. The style in that neighborhood is more classic instead of trendsetting. Most of the restaurants in the area are upscale eateries that attract a large crowd. Gramercy Park has an air of being more old world classic whilst Greenpoint is a trendier neighborhood. Gramercy Park has more families than Greenpoint and is a significantly calmer neighborhood with less noise in the streets. 

Both Greenpoint and Gramercy have different things to offer, if you are looking for a more vibrant neighborhood with a lot of restaurants, bars and stores I would highly recommend going to Greenpoint. However, if you are looking for some of that old New York charm I would highly recommend walking around Gramercy and eating at the Italian restaurant Paul and Jimmy’s.

Please see slideshow below to look at the images.

Greenpoint vs Gramercy Park
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Greenpoint vs Gramercy Park























Gramercy Park


Gramercy Park


Gramercy Park


Gramercy Park


Gramercy Park


Gramercy Park


Gramercy Park


Gramercy Park


Gramercy Park

About Me

Kristin Steinunn Helga Thorarinsdottir

I was born in Iceland then I lived in Boston for three years as a child before moving back to Iceland. I currently live in New York with my boyfriend and new puppy. I'm in my senior year at Parsons School of Design.