April 19, 2017, by Leigh Rudd
Leigh Rudd and David Wolfe go over what it means to be a fashion forecaster. Learn more about fashion forecasting and hear more great stories by following Leigh’s YouTube Channel.
This is an interesting episode because David and I talk about meeting in London at a time I was publishing a little retail report for a few American clients – because the boutiques in London were 2-years-ahead of the American market. Remember there were no cell phones and fashion communication between countries was non-existent. Nothing! So at that time in 1966 I was an intern for Andre Courreges and living in a room in the student section of Paris, but I was also living in London – in Hampstead then in Chelsea. So I was commuting every week between Paris and London. So… I was living in the midst of the “swinging 60’s”. Right there! For a young woman just starting out in life and interested in fashion, this was a fantasyland. So David and I talked about how we expanded the Retail Report into a Trend Report working 18 months ahead of designers – and more than 2 years ahead of chemical and yarn companies. We would report from London and Paris telling our American clients where fashion was going, what consumers would want – and what they needed to design. Yes, I admit it became a tiny bit of a self-fulfilling prophesy. If we told DuPont or Monsanto (both clients) that shocking pink would be the accent colors to the Art Deco color palettes – then it would go up the line – from chemical companies to textile companies to big volume sportswear manufacturers like Bobby Brooks (also a client) to fine designers like Calvin Klein (a client) to Macy’s and Lord & Taylor (also clients) – so you get the idea. But getting back to Andre he was the first designer to design an entire collection of futuristic, space age looks which included mini dresses and mini-skirts at a time Mary Quant was featuring her mini-skirts. Mary’s were the shortest, barely covering a girls’ undergarments. Americans often say to me that there were mini-skirts too – but not true. The American short skirts were two inches above-the-knee. And not until 1968. So in this episode David and I talk about how we were the company – IM International – who helped bring the “swinging 60’s” to American. Betsey Johnson at Paraphernalia with Paul Jones was also a leader, around the same time of introducing these very, very new looks to this country. By 1966-1967 there were only a few of us aware of what was happening with the new, trendy consumer. America was more involved with a protest anti-war look of hippie. The Hippie look became very important to a segment of the American consumer. But the Mod, Mary Quant look became a long-lasting trend that is still a factor today.