As inflation and unemployment figures hit new highs, Retailers are being forced to slash prices, innovate and adapt simply to stay in business. Those who are slow to react are paying the ultimate price as more stores go under day by day. As metal prices continue to remain high, the jewellery industry is suffering like everyone else. Gold is simply too expensive for most people’s pockets at the moment, even silver isn’t cheap, so as we look towards Christmas and into 2012, the biggest challenge facing designer/makers is going to be how to continue to offer quality, yet affordable jewellery. To repeat my opening statement, the answer has to be, innovate and adapt.
Base metals and plated metals are rapidly increasing in popularity for obvious reasons. It’s all about the look you can achieve for less, but this doesn’t have to be restrictive, in fact quite the opposite. In fact two trends tipped for 2012, Dark Nature and Vintage both lend themselves to Antique Style brass and gun metal finishes very easily. Look out for oxidised findings which will help you to achieve this look far more successfully than if you were to use highly polished, regular findings!
Colour picks for 2012 are as varied as ever depending on which source you happen to refer to. On the one hand you have the Trend Forecasting Agency TJF tipping emerald green, aqua blue and icy white, and then on the other you have Swarovski Gem Visions suggesting that fire reds and oranges are the way to go. The one constant theme that is coming up time and time again is monochrome i.e. black and white. Obvious you may think, but don’t overlook it. Whilst other colours will go in and out of fashion, black and white will remain a classic, so take advantage of this and ensure it’s always there as a colour option.
Two contrasting eras are being highlighted in fashion as being big for next year; the 1960s and the 1920s each bringing with it some extremely different features. There is currently a film adaptation of the novel The Great Gatsby in production which brings with it images of flapper dresses, fringing and beading detail, decorative headbands, feathers, Jazz and Chanel. These subtle elements will be creeping into fashion at every level so be prepared if you can!
In stark contrast the 1960s styling is anything but subtle. Bright, bold colours, hard materials (plastics and PVC) and oversized geometric prints to name but a few. This ties in quite nicely with a Futuristic trend which references modern day icons such as Lady Ga Ga and Katy Perry. Two different styles you may think, but if you can picture Jane Fonda in the cult classic Barbarella and then imagine her side by side with Lady Ga Ga, are they really so different? Bold but affordable, low metal content but high impact – are these themes which can be incorporated into your ranges???
As I have said before Trends are something to be aware of, not laws which should be followed to the letter. At the end of the day, you know your style and that is also what your customers know, so never abandon that for the sake of a fashion trend. However, as things become ever more challenging in the Retail environment, it pays to stay one step ahead of the opposition. So don’t ignore what goes on in the world around you, but try to embrace it – it may just pay dividends!