For this year’s International Jewellery London the event organisers wanted to make sure the catwalk and trends were relevant and useful for retailers.
With this directive in mind, newly appointed trend editor, Rachael Taylor, hand-picked four SS18 styles to showcase on the catwalk. These are: Chase the Rainbow; The Artisan; The New Frontier; and True Romance.
The IJL trends were chosen following an in-depth study of every catwalk show presented during the global Fashion Weeks for SS18, taking note not just of the jewels placed on the models, but also the fabrics, cuts, accessories and the general mood of the collections presented. Taylor also looked at more specific jewellery trend forecasts, which highlighted details of metal finishes, gemstones and new technology, as well as general forward-looking consumer reports detailing what and how people will be buying next year.
Taylor explains: “The trends are a real amalgamation of all this research, and what has emerged is my edit of the key directions that I feel will be most relevant and accessible for retail jewellers and their customers.”
While it is important to have diversity in the market, and that retailers are aware of their own niche, consumers – whether they recognise it or not – are swayed by shifting trends, and retailers should bare this in mind when making purchasing decisions at this year’s trade show.
“It could just be a subconscious leaning towards a certain shade or size, or it could be a cognisant hunger for that must-have item, like this year’s choker,” Taylor says of consumers being influenced by trends. She adds: “Being armed with an idea of the direction fashion is going to move in can only help strengthen a buyer’s decision-making process.
“Whether or not a retailer or supplier chooses to buy into a certain trend really depends on whether they believe it will reach their customers, something that they will know best, but knowledge is power. It can also help to know whether there are some items left forgotten in the stock room that could be moved forward and presented in a new light to fit in with one of the key trends.”
At this year’s show Taylor will also be presenting talks on how retailers can take the looks from the catwalk and use them in store.
One key advice she would give retailers is to treat a trend like a brand. She explains: “Group together a selection of jewels across price points that fit with the trend into an attractive, themed display — make a real feature of it. This can be done in store, but the introduction of a trend area or areas is also a great excuse to liven up the windows. Theme the window to the trend in focus at that moment to let shoppers know that something new and exciting is waiting inside, and that as a store you know what the latest trends are. This too can then be pushed out through social media channels through related posts, creating a real continuity across the business and, if you really want to make a big splash, why not have a launch night where you can invite some of your trendier customers down to learn about the main directions of the upcoming season with a glass of bubbles in hand. Be that expert — your customers will love it.”
While at the show, visitors can also use the catwalk as a place to sit down and reflect. It’s no secret that quite often when you march the aisles of trade shows, everything can start to blend together and it becomes hard to remember what you’ve seen.
Watching the catwalk shows can be a great reminder of key themes and trends that have caught your eye, and it can also be a great source of inspiration.
“Not only is it a fun way to digest the directions for the upcoming season, the models will be wearing commercial designs available for wholesale that you can go and see straight after the show. It’s like a flamboyant catalogue that you don’t even need to flip through,” the trend editor remarks.
For those not quite ready to look at SS18 yet, Taylor says The New Frontier and Chase The Rainbow trends lend themselves perfectly for AW17 as well Galactic inspirations, which are the basis of The Next Frontier, are already a huge trend in jewellery, with the universal appeal of this style making it perfect for seasonal gifting. Astrology also offers a personalised element — hitting two trends at once.
Elsewhere, Chase the Rainbow, also presents gifting opportunities as colours can be associated with meanings and express personalities. It is also a fun trend which can fit a variety of price points — from a gemstone adding a pop of colour to an 18ct gold pendant, to a bright piece of silk contrasting with a silver metal bracelet.