Few ethnic groups have managed to preserve such powerful influence over the fashion world as the Hispanics
Vibrant colors, rich textures and feminine silhouettes are just some qualities that describe the Latin American fashion trend. A couple of years ago, when minimalism was no longer appealing, international designers started looking for inspiration in more exotic places. The fashion revolution started slowly until it reached highpoint a couple of seasons ago. Nowadays, the Hispanic trend is embraced by designers and buyers all over the world.
As Hispanic buyers help fuel the US economy, fashion houses can no longer ignore their needs and sensibilities. According to Hispanic Online Marketing, in the US market, Hispanic millennials (especially Latinas) represent “the now of retail”, having a significant power over the bottom line. Although in Latin American households incomes are lower than in non-Hispanic families, the first group tends to spend more on apparel ($1,998 per year) compared to the second group ($1,659 per year).
As Latin Americans become a stronger consumer group, their purchasing habits tend to influence retailers’ behavior. But this doesn't apply only to high-end brands as the same practice is employed even by fast-fashion retailers like Zara or H&M, who use customer feedback and shopper data to decide the future of upcoming collections. Zara’s receptiveness to customer’s preferences has been studied and emulated by competitors as it transformed a local player into the world’s largest fashion retailer. According to Société Générale analyst Anne Critchlow, Zara is no longer a brand but rather a “very speedy chameleon that adapts instantly to fashion trends”.
Given the purchasing power of this ethnic group and its buying habits, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the glittery fashion world has fallen in love once more with Latin America. Indisputably, there are also other aspects that have brought this change in the fashion world.
Economic prosperity and political stability in the region has radically changed the industry, accelerating the formation of educational institutions who fostered creativity and knowledge. These institutions had talent development at their core, making it a strategic priority to cultivate and promote homegrown talents.
Additionally, a new wave of talented designers have entered relevant markets, taking the saturated fashion world by storm with their freshness and creativity. Their designs and vision captured the spirit of a younger generation who felt ignored or misunderstood by the former established houses and was looking for alternative brands. Millennial celebrities and influencers have unofficially endorsed these new brands, making them household names while intensifying their market appeal.
Undeniably, the Latin style is aesthetically pleasing as it amplifies femininity and elegance, but as pointed above, the fashion world recent love for rich colors, ruffles, South American craftsmanship and flamboyant indigenous embroidery has more to do with sales and spending power than a passion for the Latin heritage.
In the past years, we discovered in the pages of our favorite fashion magazines and on the catwalks: flower embroidery, exaggerated volumes, feminine prints, bold color combinations and the off-the-shoulder trend; all elements being essentials of the Latina aesthetic that appears to be here to stay.
Latin American Post | Adina Achim
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