Is Global Warming Changing Fashion Trends?


Photo credit: micahe

Wearing white after Labor Day may not be the crime against fashion it used to be. In fact, with the exception of "heavy winter coats and flimsy sundresses," says the Wall Street Journal, climate change may have given seasonal dressing the boot all together.

"There are less extreme differentials between seasons," says Radley Horton, a climatologist at Columbia University's Center for Climate Systems Research. Spring is sneaking upon us earlier by seven to 10 days, while fall is getting delayed by about a week.

Our indoor, sedentary lifestyles also mean less of a need for bulky sweaters and tweedy woolens. So what will become of fashion, a multibillion-dollar industry that thrives on frequent inventory turnover, seasonal switch-ups, and planned obsolescence?Liz Claiborne Inc. invited Horton to an informal discussion with 30 executives, where talk ranged from types of fabrics to how seasonal markdowns and retail deliveries should be timed. Target says it uses "weather-related intelligence"—oh, to be a fly on that wall—in planning its collections. (Starting in January, Target will also be selling swimwear all year round.)

Kohls is also said to be working with a meteorological consultant on scheduling seasonal markdowns, while J.C. Penney is shifting from four to 12 retail deliveries a year, so it can fill its 1,048 stores with fashions that "they need month to month, instead of season to season," says a J.C. Penney spokeswoman.

Expect a growing number of fashion houses and brands to produce lighter-weight, seasonless clothing, where color comes more into play than fabrics. "Modern customers don't need heavy flannels and wools," says Andrew Rosen, CEO and co-founder of Theory. He estimates that only 20 percent of Theory's clothing can be worn only in cold weather.

In a word: Layer. ::Wall Street Journal

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