I am starting to see fashion trends again, actual visible trends in new clothing for the first time in three years. The new clothing styles are decidedly less serious than we’ve seen lately, with colors and stripes designed to be noticed, and simple, functional fabric that won’t price clothing items beyond the reach of the newly thrifty consumer.
On my short visit to the mall early Friday evening, the one store that was busy with customers was H & M, and I think that was not just because of their price cuts, but also because of the streamlined clothing designs they were offering. Other stores selling classic designs were not doing so well — why buy a clothing design that you have already?
The fact that there can be any fashion trend at all is a sign that consumers are coming to a new sense of balance. I know people who a year ago wouldn’t buy a bar of soap, but are now buying small items such as shirts and hats again — not in large quantities, to be sure, but also without much hesitation. It is expected that people who cut their idea of the cost of living drastically will go for a period of time spending almost nothing, but then will start to spend again, at a lower level than before. I see signs that this may be happening, and the presence of a fashion trend is one of those signs.