You Think This Has Nothing to Do with You

Any excuse for some Meryl, right?

For those of you interested in the cycle of fashion, I decided to write this post and shed a little light on exactly how the design process works and why everyone’s wearing yellow this year.

First, a little background information. Fashion is basically separated into two distinct categories: high fashion and fast fashion. High fashion, as the name suggests, is clothing that comes with an astronomical price tag. The premium that comes with this price tag is that designers are expected to come up with their own inspirations and designs.

Fast fashion, on the other hand, is based on distilling the “best” (read: marketable) aspects of high fashion and commercializing it. Either that or pulling a Zara and flat out copying looks. Fast fashion companies often rely on third party marketing companies to come up with “trends” or “colors” of the season and then quickly mass produce clothes.

Both Nike and adidas follow this blueprint and use trend consultants to figure out what colors to use for the next season. And since there’s a lag time between conceptualization and production, planning for this season has to start one year in advance. So for this Australian Open collection, inspiration was drawn from the Spring 2012 season.

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As you can see, the overwhelming trends appear to be yellow and purple (Nike’s mens collection does vary from this and has a little more variety with blue).

New York Fashion Week (NYFW) is where most of the trends are identified. This is because 1) it’s first and 2) in my opinion, New York (along with London) have less restricting aesthetics because the fashion houses are, on average, much younger.

(Click on the pictures to see the entire collection)

Helmut Lang

Helmut Lang

When a brand as cool and iconic as Helmut Lang uses yellow as the only color in an otherwise monochromatic palate, you know it’s going to be big.



Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta





Trends collide! That middle dress looks basically like the inverse of the dress Serena’s wearing now.

J. Mendel

J. Mendel

Vera Wang

Vera Wang

Anna Sui

Haider Ackermann

Haider Ackermann


Prabal Gurung

This entire collection was purple.

Aaaand, here’s the Pantone Spring 2012 Fashion Color Report:


To be fair, these colors are essentially the same as the 2013 color report.  But if you read the designer quotes attached to the report, certain colors are emphasized:

Bright and Sun Bleached Yellow paired with Dusty Oceanic Blue, and Rich Purple that pops against Warm Terracotta and Citrus Orange: Cairo Yellow, Crescent Moon, Mountain Stream, Prism Lilac, Terra Cotta and Harem Orange — Elie Tahari

Looking forward to spring 2012, it all comes full circle again, as Yellow is to be one of the key colors of the season. And there is sure to be a floral print or two among the collections that we’ll be seeing on the runways!— Colleen Sherin

Once you’ve created a “trend,” it’s easy to go into the rest of fashion week looking for evidence of this trend to validate your claims:

London - Jonathan Saunders

London – Jonathan Saunders

Milan - Missoni

Milan – Missoni


Paris – Yohji Yamamoto

Usually fast fashion companies won’t bank on the same color for the same season, but every so often they just happen to pick the same one and we end up with all yellow.

On another note, reading the press release for Nike’s Maria Sharapova collection, they’re trying to push the idea that Sharapova was the one who gave them the idea of using yellow. The notion that Sharapova “influenced” her collection by drawing a picture of a sun and giving it to the creative director at Nike is simply ludicrous. Designing is a painstaking process with a lot of research and development invested just to create one piece because DUH it has to sell.

This was what happened the last time Sharapova actually “”””designed”””” for Nike:


Hideous drapery that looks like it came from Sears’ dumpster. Cheap looking fabric. Vomit-inspiring color schemes. Oh, and she lost first round.

Nike has obviously learned their lesson. If Sharapova has any hand in the design process, it’s probably picking from a number of colors Nike has already chosen and giving her input on how the fabric breathes, feels, etc. Just because you’re “into fashion” doesn’t mean you have what it takes to be a designer because can’t all be as gifted as Serena:

I’m an unbelievable designer. I don’t know how I know and just do these things. I just start sketching and then I just know the colors and I always know the forecast. I know green and purple are going to be hot. I was born to be a designer. I worked hard to be a tennis player, I don’t work hard to be a designer.

My goal in a couple of years is to try to build a successful fashion house like Armani or Versace. I want that more than anything.

I can see it now – Serena designing sportswear for the House of Deréon.

Hilariously, it’s Venus who has actually been the most serious and successful about fashion, going to design school, launching eleVen, forgoing any form of “research” or “development” to produce unique creations, and then somehow persuading girls on tour to wear it. Get that money, girl…

cain smile

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One comment

  1. Finally someone acknowledging what Venus has done. Do you recall when she wore that lace over bare dress at the FO? Well lo and behold my son’s ex-girlfriend went to Canada and bought 2 dresses that basically had the same theme. People laughed but Venus is a designer. She is also an artist and a visionary. Not for nothing has she had her own interior decorating business for the longest time and not for nothing has she been doing what she has been doing for so long without any big backers.

    2 players on Tour are wearing her line. She goes to their matches and she provides support to additional players. I remember when Petrova did not have a clothing sponsor, it was Venus who gave her clothes to wear on Tour. Venus Williams is the epitomy of class, professionalism and a true visionary of women’s tennis and she is not a bad tennis player either.

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