Fashion Data Analysis or Sartorial Soothsaying?
What can fashion analysis in social media tell us about ourselves? A lot, I'd wager.
Sartorial soothsaying (or is it sartorial psychographics?), I have a hunch designers would agree, is part social anthropology, craft and artistic execution, notwithstanding. So what better place than social media - the queen beehive of social interactivity - to identify, monitor and capture that mood as it translates into tailoring?
Fashion mood boards can now be mined in social media data.
Ostensibly, no matter what their aesthetic, key to a designer's commercial success is an innate ability to tap into popular psyche. To playback and reflect that mood, as fickle as it may be, in our seasonal attire.
If we are to believe this fashion ethos, next Spring 2017 men, according to some Italian designers, will be aspiring to an impeccably styled travel leitmotif, one more fluid, less fettered, even outdoorsy. A nascent idiosyncratic itinerant male whose lifestyle is neat and readily convertible. A yearning for tailored transformation?
Think designer velcro and rucksacks, but with a sartorial twist and retro nod. Throwback style will be highly embellished, individualistic without a hint of tailoring sacrifice.
As Localspeak continues to analyze designer trends in the current European Mens SS17 collections in social media, we turned to Milan's recently concluded Spring 2017 shows. As a social media analytics platform, we used NetBase in the Crosstab chart below to identify trending themes among Italian designers.
The analysis identified three predominant themes - utilitarian, tailoring and retro, in order of prevalence - shared by six venerable Italian design houses - Armani, Fendi, Gucci, Missoni, Prada, and Versace. Trending since last years Spring shows, a fourth theme, applique, is an enduring thread in mens fashion.
In contrast, a dominant thread at London Mens Collections, rebel/punk, while noted in Milan (6%), was secondary among the Italian designers analyzed.
Where London and Milan converged, however, was revealed in sartorial prowess, in particular, the robust trend toward a more relaxed fashion decorum, but one with a twist. In the shape of bespoke tailoring, elaborate applique, with more than a hint of nostalgia for the rebel seeking a cause.
If current fashion ideologies conjure a thirst for individuality, and play, a hearty wanderlust has also been unleashed as a fashion forecast next Spring.
Utilitarian, encompassing an aesthetic range of sartorial leitmotifs - functional, uniform-inspired, sporty, athletic - earned 36% of overall social conversation analyzed, followed by tailoring (24%), retro (15%), and applique (9%).
To define utilitarian in its thematic analysis of Milan Mens SS17 trends, Localspeak plucked design leitmotifs from the collections, which suggested a decidedly eccentric global nomad, with a penchant for convertible athletic suiting, and imbued with a fickle fancy for quick boardroom to outdoorsy biker changes.
Nylon rucksacks and velcro suiting closures help lighten the load for easy travel - and athletic-inspired conversion.
Notably, Versace took top utilitarian ranking among the designers with 59% - trailed closely Prada (55%) and Armani (54%), versus Fendi's 45% - evidence of both the label's popular design acumen and collection staging, as well as receptivity it has stirred around its new Activewear Collection.
Versace also generated the highest volume of potential impressions, a 99% net sentiment, as well as the leading owned vs. earned media efficiency, depicted in the designer comparison analysis chart below generated in NetBase.
Illusory and time-trippy as ever, Gucci continues to delight its minions. Evidence that artistic craftsmanship and embellishment are potent fashion selling cards du jour is the social media attention attributed to Gucci's Milan SS17 show with respect to tailoring and applique, themes equally dominated by the label at 24%.
Gucci has experienced a remarkable turnaround under the creative direction of Alessandro Michele, who continues to inspire winning innovation among other designers.
However, according to our comparative designer analysis, the label still has influencer work to do in lifting brand exposure in social. Masterful entrepreneur Armani, on the other hand, has forged strong social media influence and marketing traction.
As mens dress codes revamp and relax, more designers are tapping into upscale mens leisure wear. Jumping into the fray, as well, are athletic wear behemoths inviting designer collaborations, such as Nike x Balmain.
Aesthetic prowess notwithstanding, social monitoring and marketing by fashion labels will continue to be an imperative. As buyer temperament waxes and wanes, sartorial soothsaying is no longer a gut affair, but rather a data based concern.
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