This may surprise you, but the fashion forward aren’t the only people who monitor the trends and styles that designers send down the runway. Economists and realtors like myself also look to cool hunters in the fashion world to forecast consumer consciousness and behaviour. Of course, fashion and real estate don't have a direct cause-and-effect relationship, but what’s in style can be an excellent barometer for feelings about financial security. For instance, just like the June cover of Vogue Africa (see above), the increasing use of heavy metal in 2011 fashion appears to correlate with the drastic rise in the demand, and value, of gold this year. Could there be an economic indicator here?
Wait, there's more! Did you know the lengths of women’s hemlines have been studied to help track dips and rises in the stock market since the late 1920s? The hemline indicator suggests that the higher the hemline the more free-spending consumers are, and the lower the skirt the more modest we are. This fall it's all about calf-length hemlines, indicating we are becoming more conservative and cautious in our spending. But note this doesn't mean compromising the rich shimmery jewel tones that convey wealth as shown in the 2011 Fall Gucci Collection. Interesting eh?
Here's one more. As affluent Chinese buyers are dominating the Vancouver and Toronto real estate markets, Oriental opulence is a blossoming global trend in fashion right now. Simple flowing silks and fluttering kimonos are taking centre stage, providing they're styled with the right degree of subtlety. This superpower is poised to play a growing role influencing the Canadian real estate market. Look at the pic below from Elle Sweden (posted and borrowed from Fashionising.com with thanks) for some of the next emerging fashion, colour and architectural cues that will become increasingly predominant around the world. The time is now to ensure your home respects the Chinese systems of Feng Shui.
After several seasons of excess and artifice, the world of fashion is proclaiming the conspicuous displays of the last decade are gone. From 2011 into the 20-teens, fashion will evolve into a drive for subtle consumption mixed with obvious quality. Consumers will be buying less but spending more. They'll choose items which are less bland but better quality. And they'll purchase fewer indulgences but better statement pieces. Which I believe easily has translated into our world of real estate.
In our 2011 Fall Forecast, Urbaneer.com predicts Torontonians will buy (and move) less frequently but ultimately spend more. They'll eschew ubiquitious Home Depot fixtures for custom and designer fittings. And they'll opt for less space providing it's finished to a higher quality (or custom-tailor it as such without losing money).
Are you curious for more?
Stay tuned for urbaneer.com's In-Depth 2011 Fall Forecast, coming September 6th, 2011.