What Will We Wear?

DFW 2020

Fashion is the future.

To open a closet door is to explore a selection of patterns, forms and ideas spanning decades, even centuries, of inspiration.  Each piece represents someone, somewhere predicting what we’ll want to wear next.

From a sketch to the runway to magazines and stores, every step in the fashion design process refines the creative spark.  And here in the Metroplex, fashion must pass through yet another filter – the individuality of North Texans themselves.  Looking ten years into our fashion future, with this fierce independence in mind, requires a trained eye, indeed. 

To that end, we’ve polled a group of area experts, from a luxury retail specialist and an accomplished fashion stylist to a pair of young independent designers.  Read on for their vision of who we’ll be watching, where we’ll be shopping and what we’ll be wearing in the year 2020.

For over a century, the name Neiman Marcus has represented high Texas style.  As the renowned retailer’s Senior Vice President and Fashion Director, perhaps no one can pinpoint our style personality with the precision of Ken Downing

“[Dallas] is a city full of people who love to be dressed,” Downing observes. “They love to be out and about, at parties and events, and when you travel the country, people always comment, ‘Oh, you’re from Texas, you’re from Dallas.  Women there love to be dressed!’  It’s so true.  There’s always that level of looking terrific that really speaks…to a woman from Texas.”

When it comes to who we’ll rely on to keep us looking terrific in the years to come, Downing has his eye on two designers in particular:  Jason Wu and Erdem Moralioglu.

Citing Wu’s “true talent” and craftsmanship, Downing believes this young designer who recently entered the national spotlight as a favorite of First Lady Michelle Obama, will continue to turn heads for many years to come.  As for the latter, Downing describes London-based Moralioglu’s aesthetic as “lovely” and “effervescent”, featuring feminine prints and textures.

In the industry as a whole, Downing predicts that we’ll see more and more ideas that reflect an environmentally responsible mentality – without sacrificing one bit of the luxury or artistry of fashion.  He explains, “Beyond just organically grown cottons and natural fiber dyes as we know them today, there will be new technology…that will help propel the idea of green living forward and transmit it in a very luxurious way into the fashion industry.”

But luxury is only one piece of the puzzle.

Also local to Dallas, though miles from Neiman’s in both distance and focus, Doug Voisin and Andrew Bayer of the House of Dang! are two young talents we’ve got an eye on ourselves.  The designing duo, ages 28 and 27 respectively, turn out “fun silhouettes” for young women in their mid-teens and up.
Vintage-inspired, with a modern edge, House of Dang! designs are feminine, playful and optimistic.  Their latest looks for Spring 2010 are no exception, as illustrated by the bow-tied navy number above.
Looking to the future, Voisin and Bayer recently relocated their studio to a space in Oak Cliff more in keeping with their unique style.  It’s a trend among area artists we’re thinking will continue.

“You can just come here and do your own thing,” Bayer boasts of the designers’ new ‘hood.  “It’s more laid-back than most places in Dallas.”  Voisin seconds the idea that the once-forgotten enclave of Oak Cliff will continue the renaissance recently jump-started by the Bishop Arts District.  “I see a lot of people settling here and turning it into more of a community,” he says.

It’s a fair bet that, as we move into the next decade, many more independent designers like House of Dang! will be setting up shop in the OC.  It could very well become an epicenter for independent design in North Texas.

And speaking of setting up shop, it wouldn’t be North Texas without a little shopping.

When it came time to look at big-picture predictions for the future of retail in the Metroplex, we knew Holly Quartaro, Fashion Stylist for Galleria Dallas, would have the key to what’s next.  An expert in the realm of fashion trends, Quartaro sees stores like Forever 21 and Zara leading a growing sector devoted to instant wardrobe gratification.

“In the next ten years, I think customers are going to expect fashion to be in-store even quicker than ever before,” Quartaro predicts.  “I think that when something appears on the runway or appears in a fashion magazine, the public wants to have that in-store as quickly as possible.  Retailers are already starting on that trend, but I think even more will pick up on it in the next 5-10 years.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, when polled on their future retail wish lists, the guys from House of Dang! had hopes for more independent, locally-driven shops.  Says Doug Voisin, “I don’t want the store that I go to in New York or L.A. to be in Dallas, because I like going there and bringing it back.  People who can come to Dallas and then go back home and have something completely different - I think that’s what’s important.”  He points to McKinney Avenue’s Forty Five Ten and V.O.D. in Victory Park as examples of what he has in mind.

Perhaps, as the future unfolds, we’ll see malls and shopping centers leaning more toward trendy retailers as free-standing local shops feature unique specialties.  The way we see it, there’s room for both in 2020.

And last, but certainly not least, a look in the crystal ball.

Ever-changing, looking forward while looking back, fashion is always reimagining history.  With each resurgence of a bygone era in style, fashion updates, improves and refines.  Perhaps it should then come as no surprise then, that when questioned on what they would like to see as North Texas dresses for the next ten years, our four very different experts provided answers with a common theme: the past.

“I love all-out glamour and really dressing like a woman,” Holly Quartaro explained. “That’s actually something we’re seeing right now, so I guess I would say that I hope it continues.  To be pretty, to be glamorous and to look great all the time.”
“For a while there, we got really messy in our clothing,” she recalled, hoping out loud that the 90’s “grunge movement” wouldn’t rear it’s ugly head again.

When the question was posed to the House of Dang! designers, they too expressed excitement at the current 50’s-inspired trend toward more formal, thoughtful dressing for both day and evening.  Tailored suits for men and ladylike silhouettes for women are details they hope will continue to gain momentum.

Finally, Ken Downing believes that keeping “the dream and the fantasy of the runway alive” is the key to captivating fashion enthusiasts in Texas and around the world for years to come.  Along with the continued reinvention of iconic labels (as with Chanel in recent years), he believes that upholding the tradition of exciting, theatrical runway exhibitions is imperative as we move into the future.  “Without that dream…our industry will not propel itself forward,” Downing explains. “It’s that dream that continues to keep us excited and looking for what’s next.”

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