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The global economy has been taken off the ventilator, but is still in intensive care.

Everybody knows somebody who has had to downsize in the last couple of years and we’re all feeling ‘the pinch’ in one way or another. So, how has all this impacted the catwalks for the coming season?

Many collections have fallen into one of two camps:

Pared down simplicity ( = I am defined by myself and not by my possessions). Classic tailoring, clean lines, muted colours, retro bias-cut swing tailoring.Jewellery to complement these looks is predicted to be of understated elegance and quality.

Simple classic sculptural shapes in plain precious metals, worn one piece at a time for self contained sophistication. Vintage & estate style jewellery – elegant chokers, semi-precious stones, precious stone earrings and string pearls. Pure sentiment.

Futuristic & historic fantasy ( = pure escapism). Multiple looks using mismatched media – think neons + leather + lace + florals + embroidery + anything else you can think of……….Jewellery will be big, bold, creative & intense. Remember the Coco Chanel adage ‘When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on’? Forget that – this look says more is more. Multimedia pieces – metal, leather, ribbons, tassels, bells, ethnic insignia, plastic, feathers, handmade cabochons, fur, resin etc., fused, interwoven and linked into elaborate neckpieces, cuffs, breastpieces, head, shoulder & arm adornments. As you can probably guess, statement jewellery is still huge.

Q. I have my own style and my customers like what I make. How is any of this relevant to me?

Put simply, making jewellery that looks the same as what you’ve been making for the past year or so won’t persuade your customers to come back and buy more. It helps to make things that are a little different.

People’s tastes change all the time, some to a greater degree than others. What sort of habits do your customers have? Will they follow the latest looks from the catwalk or spontaneously purchase something of a milder influence from the high street? Or something in between? Know your customer. Read what they read, shop where they shop, watch what they watch. Keep an eye open for the future trends and you’ll learn how much relevance they will have to your clients.

Trends are decided by the people and the really good news is that independent designers and makers are nimble enough to be able to fulfil trends quickly. It’s something that the big brands just can’t do; they are such big organisations that they have to plan 18 – 24 months in advance, whereas we can ‘turn on a sixpence’.

It’s good to keep an ear to the ground

Jayne Coulson

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