The accessory category dominates the fashion world – outdone in size only by the tops category.
Accounting for 18% of the total apparel market, this category is varied and comprises of bags, footwear, sunglasses, belts, scarves, jewellery, watches, hair accessories, hats, sunglasses and gloves. Not only is the accessories market big, but recent statistics reveal that it is also on the rise with retailing exceeding 4% more than last year.
Last year, shoes alone hit US $ 246 billion and thanks to the over-hyped street culture, this figure is only poised to increase at a pace of 4.5% per year. So we can very well expect to be looking at a global valuation of US $ 320.4 billion by 2023 itself. The current demand is ripe for comfort footwear and athletic styles, but other areas such as beach essentials are also rising on the fast selling graph.
In the jewellery section, statement earrings in abstract gold shapes such as coins and medallions, oversized circular hoops, mismatched pairs, and bright boho tassels are on the uptick, so much so that they have taken over necklaces, rings and bracelets. Cufflinks, charms, brooches and anklets have all eaten into that space, as revealed by Edited, with increase of 2.8% for cufflinks, and 36% for brooches.
Apparel Resources discusses the most promising opportunity areas that retailers and brands should be looking at to increase their brand performance and lure shoppers to their stores…
From jewellery to bags to footwear – delicate pearls are popping up everywhere! Pearl dotted details were hot on both Fall/Winter 2018 and Spring/Summer 2019 runways with bigwigs such as Chanel, Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, and Simone Rocha, unleashing them over bags and Nicholas Kirkwood and Miu Miu adorning them over footwear.
UGLY FASHION SNEAKERS
Love them or hate them, they’re here to stay. Hyped by the ‘Úgly Fashion Movement’, these sporty styles are outdoing the broader category of footwear in general. Retailers are introducing new takes on the chunky sneaker in order to lure thirsty shoppers. Market leaders in this regard such as Urban Outfitters, which increased its sports footwear offering by 41% in Q2 of 2018 as compared to last year, and JD Sports, Nordstorm and Bloomingdales which went up by 39%, 26% and 24% respectively in the same quarter, signal towards the wealth that lies in this massive opportunity area. Even retailers with no specialised experience in sports, such as Zara, Forever New and H&M, were up in this quarter.
Luxury retailers, which peddle their products with the enticement of limited edition pieces, are on a massive sellout spree. Top players in this segment include millennial approved brands such as Gucci, Balenciaga and Prada.
ON THE SEASIDE
With themes of escapism leaving everyone in a perpetual vacation mode, brands and designers picked up on the sentiment and utilised it to advance their offerings. Aquatic details such as sea shells, sequined and 3D appliques, colourful stones and beads, appeared over footwear, jewellery and bags.
Pops of neon greens, oranges and pinks swarmed the runways at Versace, whilst bright nautical colour blocking prevailed at Thom Browne. Slip on sandals, chic slides featuring cork soles were the mandate at Chanel, whereas Hermes introduced a new version of the strappy gladiator.
Techniques such as crocheting, are big and trending over woven tote bags, neckerchiefs as well as footwear. Colourful zig-zag and crafty floral patterns tap on the allure of spring whilst emphasising on the charm of sustainability – a direction the entire supply chain is moving towards.
ROPES AND KNOTTING
The use of cords and ropes found their way onto various accessories on Van Noten’s runway, lending a utilitarian look to the practical collection. Various aquatic influences have been prevalent in many of the Spring collections. Bag got a modern twist with a rope handle that lets off a wrapped cord look, or a twisted knotted sling. Ropes also appeared as ties and straps over footwear.
NICE TO FEET YOU
Other styles such as last summer’s favourite espadrilles see a fall, whereas slides and platforms are splitting the market, with luxury increasing its price points compared to two years ago and mass falling. Another thing to note here is that seasonality is no longer a constraint in the footwear segment. Thanks to a generation of jet-setting kids, summer styles such as the ones mentioned above and flip-flops and strappy gladiators, sell all year long. Further proof of this is screaming from the latest footage from international runways, where the likes of Chanel, Sacai, and Marni, among others have incorporated these styles in their S/S ’19 offerings.
After gaining momentum during the runway showcases of Fall/Winter 2018, this wild print is back in a bigger way for Spring/Summer 2019 and this time, it has branched out into the accessory category. Mix and match of tiger stripes, leopard spots, snake skins, cow hides and zebra stripes were a usual sighting during the recently concluded fashion weeks – not just on the runways, but on the streets as well. A unanimous trend across fashion capitals, the animal print is being juxtaposed with clashing print-on-print apparel-accessory pairings. Faux fur bags, blanket scarves, bold bags and even footwear, are pieces to consider.
The old school fanny pack is undergoing a revival of sorts.
This utility led versatile bag is being rebranded as a bum bag, or belt bag, or waist bag by major retailers and brands ranging from sporty names such as Nike to luxury players such as Burberry and Dior. The sudden surge of refined designs and versions tap onto the consumers of today – the millennials and Gen Z signaling a lift in new arrivals at 120% and a growth in sellouts to 359% in Q2 of this year, as compared to that in Q2 of 2017.
Prices vary from as low as US $ 25 at Adidas to US $ 1000 at Gucci. New trends suggest that the sellout amongst genders is equal, with the latest trend suggesting a new way to wear it – slung across the body/chest and over the shoulder, rather than the traditional way of belting it at the waist.
“Fanny packs, or ‘waist bags’ as we now call them, are the fastest-growing segment in the men’s accessories market,” Marshal Cohen, an analyst with market research firm NPD Group, said. According to data reported by NPD, from September 2016 to September 2017, sales of fanny packs or belt bags grew more than 10% and hit US $ 100 million.
The rise of streetwear might be partly responsible for the huge success being enjoyed by this accessory right now. Consumers are inkling towards casual fashion that is easy and fulfils all the three parameters of comfort, practicality and convenience.
ALL THAT FRAYS
Frayed details are hot for Spring 2019 and include feathers, fringes and frayed denims.
Apart from adding texture and whimsy footwear and bags, these trims instantly update the product with a fun twist. Marabou-clad sandals came with a spectrum of colours at Dries van Noten and Valentino, whilst summer-approved raw straw fly-aways edged the bags at Jacquemus and Oscar de la Renta.
The accessory route might as well prove to emerge as an industry hack for many brands and retailers who have struggled to lure consumers into their physical and on-line stores. Accessories serve as a bait to attract customers to your offering – place such assortments on the ground floor of your store space and preferably in an area that promotes direct eye-contact with window shoppers. The first impression is usually the last impression, and in such a scenario, all that glitters may just be the path to retail success.
Divya Joshi, Design Manager – Women’s Western Wear, Ajio.com – Reliance Retail Ltd.
Nautical is a huge trend across categories. We are seeing a lot of stripes as trims, wooden and straw bags in a lot of interesting new shapes and trim details.
Tassels on bags continue in finals whereas ropes are being used as trims – as straps on bags in multi-colour braided and knotted varieties.
On the hardware side of it, there is an influx of big eyelets as details over accessories, big chunky buckles over belts.
On the prints side, animal prints are huge and can be seen in many innovative new versions across all categories. Leopard print faux fur charms are a key to basic bags and slings and totes. We also have Fanny packs in quirky prints such as boho and paisley and even animal prints.
Sarah Fotheringham, Safomasi
I see a lot of pattern play – aesthetics are becoming a lot bolder…, mixing different prints together is a huge trend.
Sometime back, geometrics had taken over but now again, more of the bold patterns such as the animal print and illustrations have come back.
Anything with a narrative or story is seeing a great response – consumers today want a good story attached to the product and how you as a brand implement it into your designs to convey it to the consumer is where the success lies. Coastal themes are in – a lot of tropical patterns such as palm trees and sea shells and tropical flowers are hot for next season.