Spring Forward: Designers Chime In On The ’04 Lines

Think about what you’re wearing and, more importantly, the goods you’re selling. They didn’t suddenly appear out of thin air. Behind each garment is someone’s vision — a vision that begins months before the product ends up in your hands.

Branding, trend reports, and market research can only take a line so far. The rest of the journey must be taken by designers, the often under-recognized and overlooked members of our industry. Designers don’t have a crystal ball they consult three or four times a year. They must be tuned in to a number of cultural phenomena and social trends. They also depend on their instinct and personal taste.

For this issue’s Spring Product Preview, we spoke with a number of designers to get their predictions for Spring ’04 — and to find out what inspires them.

While each designer has a unique background and different people and places that motivate them, they’re all subject to the many overriding trends at large. There’s a bigger military influence across the board, with cargoes once again getting more play. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Spring ’04 is going to be wrapped in a swath of camo and khaki. Many designers — especially on the juniors’ side — are touting an explosion of color.

Designers also report they’ve looked back to the 80s for design inspiration. Mini skirts for girls and slimmer-cut guys’ bottoms seem to be on many radar screens. Boardshorts are big, as are graphics. Westerns are fading (are truckers, too?), and everyone is paying “attention to detail.

Men’s Market Style Report

Women’s Market Style Report