The annual Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York draws to a close today and while I have no real reason to pay close attention, it’s always fun to see how the styles change; get a first look at what trends I can expect to see more of in the upcoming seasons; and of course ogle all the beautiful and shiny things that I will never own.
When I see stills or clips from the shows, mostly I vacillate between thoughts of “How did they come up with that?!” and “Who thought that was a good idea?!”
This year I was reminded of an Ad Age article by Rupal Parekh on December 9, 2011 that quoted Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour telling CBS News, “I don’t really follow market research and in the end I do respond to my own instincts.”
I think most people would agree that haute couture and the looks featured on the runway and in Vogue typically aren’t meant for everyday wear but surely marketing research has its place even in artful industries, no?
For those who are expected to set the trends – not follow them – how are decisions made? On the whims of designers and chief innovation officers and their teams of yes-men? Or are they guided by research? What kinds of research and people-watching are best-suited for ahead-of-the-curve decisions? Without research, do decision makers run the risk of alienating the general public or missing the mark entirely? Are those missteps more easily forgiven and forgotten in “creative” fields?
Clearly Anna Wintour has some good instincts, as proven by Vogue’s success in her 24 years at the helm, but not everyone is as lucky. Have you ever ignored the research and followed your instincts? Were the results favorable or disastrous? How do you know when is the right time to go with your gut?