Where does a trend come from? While many people just follow them, others wonder why all of the sudden everyone is wearing leg warmers. Aside from the hunch that everyone just happened to watch old episodes of Square Peg on the same day, it seems to come out of nowhere. But this is so not true, and to dive more into the world of fashion trend casting, I thought I would talk trendcaster extraordinaire Jason Campbell, founder and head writer of JC Report.
I met Jason at Emilio's Ballato- YUM- on Houston and Mott to indulge in some amazing Italian food and fashion secrets. We talked a bit about city living, world travel (more him than me) and the weather. I find him so fun and interesting and could have talked with him for hours about simple things like the beauty of waking up early in the morning, and getting a good night sleep. After our introductory chit chat, I got right into it and asked him to tell me all there is to know about international fashion trends:
Kate: So Jason, when was the JC Report started and why?
Jason: JC Report started in 2002 and came out of a column I did for Magic online ( for those who may not know, MAGIC is a the fashion industries leading trade show). Trend Cast was my column and it was targeted to vendors at the show to guide them and give them cues for their upcoming seasons. Magic changed and I wanted to continue my voice so I decided to start JC Report. There was a need for this type of trend casting and I found that global information was the way of the future and the internet was going to be a very useful tool for this type of reporting. With the internetyou are connecting cultures and there are no boundaries any longer. So I wanted to let people know what was going on in international regions such as Australia, Brazil, Berlin and so on and the internet has been a wonderful tool for this.
Kate: You must see so much talent and design all over the world! Is it ok if I live vicariously through you?
Jason: Haha, sure! Yes so much! There’s talent abroad that is so amazing and fresh but people aren’t reaching for it; so not many people get exposed to such things.
Kate: That's a shame; some of the best talent is totally under the radar. In the newsletter and on the site, you report on the trends all over the globe which made me wonder, are you doing all of this traveling or are their JC Report informants?
Jason: It was really important for me to go at first and get that initial information. I was able to go to those cities that I felt were emerging markets and I needed to go detect it myself. As the business grows it’s important to have a network worldwide to help. With all of my traveling, I developed this network by identifying people who can seek out that information and feed it back.
Kate: In your extensive travels and research, can you pinpoint where some trends start?
Jason: Trends are not scientific. You know, war can spawn particular trends in terms of how people want to dress. And the internet, that is like a behemoth of a thing that is going to spawn some trends. Then there are more organic trends that are coming from the streets, and in that you have those individual trendsetters that really change things up and those kinds of people move trends forward. So, I say that trends really percolate from a variety of sources. Part of my work is that I try to detect very early on and forecast very early on when you see something what that may spawn. There are some formulas that you can use to detect, but also things just come out of nowhere.
One trend that Jason said completely blindsided him was the legging trend. For him (and me. My God move on with this trend!) It spawned from the skinny jeans but he just didn’t see it coming to surface the way it has. I’m relieved that he’s just as bothered by this trend as I am, because it just seems so unflattering, weird and frankly I wish it would just go away. However, Lohan launched her own legging line, so this one might be here for a bit. As far as I’m concerned, leggings belong under ski pants.
Kate: Can you indulge me with some of your favorite designers and collections?
Jason: I have many favorites and there are many brands around the globe that I continue to champion. One of them is the designer of this scarf I am wearing (I had scarf envy the minute he walked in) called Material By-Product ( dress on left...)which is a design team out of Melbourne who are all professors at a University. I have been trumpeting their work locally in Australia, speaking with editors and trying to bring attention to their work. There is also there is another line out of Australia called BAsek who makes amazing tee shirts that are really well done, very cool and extremely approachable. And I’m like why aren’t these people blowing up all over the world? And Isabella Capetto, who I really love and it’s a brand like that is not exposed expect for in Brazil. Same with Francesca Giobbi who makes the most AMAZING shoes (she used to work at Prada) but can’t seem to break out worldwide and we ask ourselves “why are these designers not getting the exposure they definitely deserve?”
Kate: I am so glad you brought this up because I wonder why it’s so hard for such talented smaller designers to break through the barrier. Why do you think it’s so hard for new designs to get recognition in the US? Jason: Fashion is a club. The gates are only opened to those very sanctioned people and they have criteria for that. A lot also has to do with relationships and less on talent. As well, I find that a lot of editors don’t want to work so hard and go off script to find new stories and they don’t want to dig. And they don’t have to, they stay with the usually suspects and can do that.
Kate: Right, because things are placed in front of them like fashion weeks and showrooms, it’s much easier to work with what’s in front of them then to reach out and explore. That’s not to say this is the way it is with every editor, but for the ones who seem to have influence…
Kate: Can we expect a JC Report magazine?
Jason: I would love to do this, but not a monthly and I think it would be more special issues and curate issues for other entities. You know, JC Report is such a trusted voice that we are in a position to market anything to curate different things for other properties and that really interests me. We can customize different content for different channels.
To subscribe to the newsletter, or to follow the trend casting, go to www.jcreport.com.