New York-based style and trend forecaster Melissa Moylan on sustainable fashion, social media and why individuality matters


The workshop was held on the sidelines of the Lotus Make-Up India Fashion Week Autumn Winter ’19.

“This is a shy audience” remarked Melissa Moylan, Vice President and Creative Director–Womenswear at Fashion Snoops — a New York-based forecasting service and consulting agency — as she conducted a workshop on the trends that will dominate the spring-summer of 2020. The workshop was held on the sidelines of the Lotus Make-Up India Fashion Week Autumn Winter ’19, which drew to a close on Sunday. Moylan, an alumna of The Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, with almost two decades of experience in the industry, elaborated on DIY ideas, sustainability and the impact of social media on fashion.

In early 2000s, people wanted to know what was happening in Tokyo and Europe, and what was cool and trending in their stores. Today, it is has evolved to the point where people, of course, want to know what’s on the table, but they want it in a way that they can make it their own. The need of the hour is not just dispensation of information — which agencies such as Fashion Snoops do — but we need to help people to create, not just copy. We need to be storytellers. Trends now don’t directly translate from the ramp to the consumers. There are many steps. Or else we would all be wearing the same things.

On sustainability v/s fast fashion
Sustainability needs to extend beyond fashion, like how we, in principle, should not have plastic cups at a sustainable fashion venture. The conversations in fashion are already highlighting artists and designers that are upcycling, and are consciously using more natural materials. But we need to understand that the market demands it, that’s the nature of the beast — this thirst for something new. But we can do that consciously, and it’s happening. The customers are more educated and aware, they want something new, every day, but they are also aware of their moral responsibilities. Let me give you an example. With each Women’s Day celebration, which speaks of empowerment and women’s rights, a T-shirt being made with the said message, will need to come from a source that is sustainable. People now understand that if that T-shirt comes from a source where there are no safe working conditions, or no minimum wages, they will call it out.

On DIY and social media
When you see an outfit or an accessory on Instagram, or Twitter, then in your mind you have already ticked it off as ‘Oh, it’s already out there, it’s no longer standing out’. We are constantly feeding this desire to be photographed, which in turn gave birth to the street style culture. We call it peacocking. People think if you wear something paired down, you don’t stand out. This has made people braver and more creative. And well, one cannot buy a new outfit every time you have to step out of the house, so you then get creative. Social media has made people make some very interesting sartorial choices and do things they won’t do otherwise, hence the birth of individualism.

On fashion as an investment
Minimalism as a conversation has been doing the rounds — where we take tradition and then we up the style game with some DIY ideas. People are making fashion choices that are an investment, and not just buying a disposable one-season wear. A classic black jacket, or a well-fitting tailored black dress, or look at how classic silhouettes are always in vogue. It’s a generation thing as well, when you are younger, you are like who cares, but of course, as you get wiser, you make smarter choices. Renting, too, has come up in a big way in Europe and the US, especially where occasion wear is concerned. Renting also takes the conversations around sustainability forward.