Tmall Trend Center, the B2C site’s fashion trend-forecasting arm, is bringing predictive science to the art of fashion to give designers – including some who presented Sunday at Paris Fashion Week– the insights they need to meet the demands of Chinese consumers.
In a new report generated by Alibaba’s artificial-intelligence algorithms and qualitative research from partner firms Promostyl and Youthology, the Tmall Trend Center laid out the styles that China’s fashion fans will be buying through mid-2020 (more on those below). The goal was to help designers create more on-trend items to reduce end-of-season markdowns and improve their business performance, while consumers can plan their purchases and “pre-style” for the coming season.
“I leveraged the latest trends and consumer insights from Tmall Trend center and spotted some spring color and silhouettes for our collection for Paris Fashion Week,” said Olivia Zhu, creative designer of Elfini, which was one of the China Cool brands Tmall brought to Paris. “For example, the mix and match of yellow candy colored suits matched with grassy green puffy skirts shows a strong sign of spring.”
“Pieces like Alice in Wonderland-themed logomania shirts and poetic ruffle dresses are key pieces inspired by Tmall’s trend predictions for 2020. They have been very popular among our brand ambassadors and KOLs,” she said.
For the months ahead, Tmall said that “poetry,” “tech forward,” “heritage” and “impact” would be the top themes in China’s fashion world. All of the brands that participated in the “Tmall China Cool” fashion show in New York, Milan, and Paris – such as Song Ta, i-am-chen and retail brands Peacebird and Eifini – incorporated insights from this report when designing their collections, including consumer mindset, trending colors and looks. Tmall also created a Trend Index that visualizes how each of the look will perform, using data from social media, traditional media, brand-owned sites, e-commerce platforms and industry research.
Here’s a look at each theme in detail:
Globally, women in the workplace are no longer afraid to show off their feminine and romantic side. In China, that has translated into a fairytale-like and poetic aesthetic that is trending among young women, as they look to add a bit of dreaminess to the monotony of busy urban life.
Case in point: Keyword searches such as “Instagram vacation style” and “fairytale dress” have been trending on the country’s internet. Clothes in the poetry style balance soft feminine silhouettes with minimalist cuts.
The Poetry Color Palette: Romantic pinks and earthy neutrals
Trending Poetry Looks: Extravagant ruffle tops, romantic chiffon dresses, mini totes with tassels, satin kitten-heel mules, men’s linen jackets, men’s suede lace-ups
Young people in China are increasingly interested in exploring how technology can shape their future, especially as advances in artificial intelligence blur the lines between humans and machines. As an example, climate change and futuristic films are top of mind for consumers, and that has given rise to the future-tech trend. Designers use various industrial-inspired materials, such as metal, reflective cloth and glass, to bring this theme to life through fashion.
Tech Forward Color Palette: Metallic purple-blue colors matched with reflective gray and neon greens
Tech Forward Looks: Minimalist knots in the back of dresses and trench coats, pleated ruffle dresses, men’s tech wear and athleisure mix-and-matches, outdoor backpacks, block-heeled strappy sandals, rubber-soled men’s derby shoes
While globalization has made the world flat, some consumers are paying tribute to their unique cultural heritage as a form of self-expression. But they’re doing so with products that combine that heritage with modern design, including in China. “China Cool” is one such trend that uses cultural elements in fashion design, evolving from simple icons such as dragon embroidery to popular Chinese candy, ancient poems and even Chinese philosophy.
Heritage Color Palette: Earthy ceramic colors complemented by bright vegetable/fruit colors that show the power of tribal culture
Heritage Looks: Logomania t-shirts; minimalist denim-hued dresses; industrial techno jackets in nature-inspired colors; canvas and leather mixed-material women’s bags, leather-woven men’s messenger bags; sandals with tassels, woven pattern athleisure shoes
Globally, the younger generation has been active in advocating for socio-economic rights for their local communities. Perhaps only naturally, they are looking to leading global companies to assume more social responsibilities as well. And sustainability is central to their lifestyle. China’s impact-driven consumers are attracted to internet sub-cultures and even a seemingly throwback rural aesthetic. The sharp contrast of “extremely uncool is cool” amplifies their voices when advocating for socio-economic progress. Recycled materials, sustainable-fashion concepts and vintage candy colors are key to drawing their eye.
Impact Color Palette: Urban/industrial colors complemented by highly saturated bright colors
Impact Looks: Pastel-colored suits, cropped sweatshirts, men’s military vests, women’s handbags with geometric prints, “caution sign”-inspired mini bags, suede block heels, chunky platform shoes
Additional reporting by Christine Chou and Ivy Yang