OutDoor Industry Award 2012, member of the jury

OutDoor Industry Award 2012, member of the jury

One world, one market, one style?

One world, one market, one style?

Uniformity instead of creativity

For years marketing professionals keep telling us that sooner or later people across the globe will live and consume more or less in the same way. In the digital era diversity is supposed to disappear. The boredom of standardization and omnipresent chains is spreading over the world.

Quantitative and marketing principles seem to play the only role.
Optimizing instead of developing.

Of course there are major global trends and developments which affect people nearly anywhere.

However, at the same time we have been observing an ever rising individualization of modern societies. People like to invent themselves constantly anew and to showcase their individuality. Fashion & clothing are perfect tools to underline individuality and to tell a unique personal story. Touching directly the individual and his or her life.

Ephemeral and volatile, fashion & clothing follow people´s emotions and
living conditions more than pure numbers.

Lots of consumers are increasingly not satisfied with the current collections and/ or the shops. The internet has given them easy access to a boundless variety – available by a simple „click“.

But it´s not only the comfort which seduces people to buy in the internet:
Small brands emerge allover the world in all fields of design. They combine local and regional crafts and cultural heritage with global input to create products with local flavour and a contemporary taste.

These developments are affecting sports, too. Over the last decade the sports apparel industry has been concentrating mainly on developments concerning functionality, protection and technical perfection of fabrics and manufacturing to offer high-performance-wear.

Designing by numbers with more and more copies of the same collections and styles (me-too-strategy) seems to be state of the art. Even the selection of colours has to follow numbers.

Target groups for the athletic and extreme direction of product development are not growing any longer in big numbers. And target groups are splitting up in ever more tribes with their very own focus.

Breaking new grounds in the emerging markets is also not that easy – though the western way of life maybe what people want, priorities and tastes vary. Differences are kept due to specific geographic and cultural framework.

In the classic western industrialized countries sport has become a vital part of the lifestyle. Both recreational and professional sports attract most of the people. But even in these countries the popularity of single sports differ from one country to the other.

Looking at the emerging markets, we see that professional sports and competition events are not yet that much developed – or are even completely different to the ones in the West.

Concerning recreational and leisure sports the situation cannot be compared to the Western countries, too. Of course the increase in income and more leisure time support the demand for sports clothing – but on a different level. It is more about the look and appeal of sportswear and less about functional and technical perfection of high-performance-wear for extreme situations out in natural surroundings.

Design has to reflect people´s desires and their relationship with the product. Good design creates clothing which becomes part of the personal narrative of the individual.

Requirements might resemble allover the globe, but realization has to vary.

Nora Kuehner
fashion   design   consulting

Colour and trend perspectives for sports apparel 2014

Colour and trend perspectives for sports apparel 2014

Lecture at the Performance Days fair in Munich (Germany), May 9, 2012

Participation in the international trend board of Première Vision

Participation in the international trend board of Première Vision

for the season autumn/ winter 2013/14 in Paris

Colour and fabric trends in sports apparel for winter 2013/14

Colour and fabric trends in sports apparel for winter 2013/14

Lecture at the ISPO show in Munich (Germany), January 30, 2012

Cities will be the future of sports

Cities will be the future of sports

SAZ Magazin Nr.1/12, interview with Nora Kuehner about trends and developments in sports

Between mega-city and k2 – what´s next in sports?

… between megacity and k2 …

What´s next in sports?

The world moves faster every day. Social, cultural and economic changes are driven by technological progress. What themes will influence sports and sports apparel collections in the future?

Sport has become an important social and economic factor in modern societies.
Both the demographic change in many countries and the changes in the way of living have significant impacts on sport.

Within the last decade the developments in sports apparel have been mainly marked by two aspects:

  1. Going to extremes (function & protection are everything)
  2. Inner balance (striving for well-being – emotionally and physically)

Concerning “Going to extremes”: In this area innovation comes mainly from fabrics and the appropriate manufacturing. Ever more perfect, ever more protective. But:
Water column will sooner or later reach its peak and the weight of fabrics cannot drop below zero – what now?

50 years ago future used to be glamorous, bright & shiny with easy travels through the endless space. Now as we are living this future, we see that future has grown old and somehow dirty … Causing problems …

Several mega-trends influence our way of life and therefore sport, too. Let´s take a closer look.

Shrinking markets in the developed countries, old populations

Does that really mean “no future”? It is a challenge for design to take a close look at these fastidious consumers – they may be less dynamic, but don´t they live more sustainable, do they? Their lifestyles, emotions and needs require specific products, also in sports. Why don´t create them?

Diversity vs. homogenization

Though globalization has a strong homogenizing impact on modern life, differences are kept due to specific social, cultural, historic and geographic framework. And within the last decade we have seen that people seek ways to express and showcase individuality.

Endless cities
More and more people live in urban spaces with millions of inhabitants – nature is out of reach in daily life, people stay in town.
What we already see as results of this development:
Sports which have been traditionally outdoor sports go indoors and create new varieties due to the new setting. Requests for more indoor spaces increase.

Cities are perfect stages for the individual therefore we also see new sports developing, using the urban playground (parkour).

Sharing and DIY in a globalized world

Sharing and DIY are movements spreading all over the world. From community gardens to social networks, sharing is the keyword of the moment. What does this mean for apparel collections? The consumer wants to act as “co-creator”. Incorporate interaction with the “user” right from the beginning – thus creating clothes which become part of the personal story of the individual.

Climate change – global warming
Global warming is changing significantly landscapes and vegetation thus provoking serious impacts on outdoor sports.

Sustainability and more …
No need to say more: Sustainability is a bare necessity. But think even further: Imitate also the “closed” lifecycles in nature. Create a product which doesn´t end up as waste but feeds new lifecycles. The clothing industry has a particular responsibility in this field as it fuels fast living and consuming societies across the globe.

Looking at these developments, some predictions for the development of sports are arising:

  • Going to extremes will shrink – nearly all parts of the world are mapped, what hasn´t been done up to now? Only few things remain …
  • In the emerging markets the sport attitude cannot be compared to the classic western way.
  • Inner balance sports will increase due to the need of a counterbalance to highly demanding and insecure living conditions.
  • Soft sports gain ground, easily to perform, without practising them for years

Some recommendations for developing apparel collections:

Changes in lifestyles and living conditions offer new creative opportunities – look at these! Combine creative imagination and technical know-how to work on innovative solutions. Dare to be different and think about design which is more than decorating the surface.

Let´s take the chances!


Nora Kuehner
Presentation at Performance Days shows in Munich/ Germany, November 22, 2011
and Annecy/ France, November 24, 2011.

Colour and trend perspectives for sports apparel 2013 and beyond

Colour and trend perspectives for sports apparel 2013 and beyond

Lectures at the Performance Days fair both in Munich (Germany), November 21, 2011
and in Annecy (France), November 24, 2011

Individuality, emotion and lust for extremes – Sport inspires daily lifestyle

Individuality, emotion and lust for extremes – Sport inspires daily lifestyle

Colours and trends spring/ summer 2013 for underwear, swimwear & beachfashion
Lecture at the INTIMATE FABRICS & Accessoires fair, Schloss Haigerloch (Germany),
November 17, 2011

Colour trends spring/ summer 2013 in sports apparel

Colour Trends for Summer 2013

based upon the IDEAS colour forecast spring/summer 2013 “JUMPING”

The headline of the IDEAS colour forecast plays with the idea of performing a jump – a jump into the unknown. Overcoming obstacles and gathering fresh hope.
New beginnings emerge out of this cheerful moment.

IDEAS has defined six different colour stories following the jump from the beginning to the landing:
at the edge, locomotion, go with the flow, transitory heights, touch down and ode to joy.

Please find a short description of each single colour theme below.

at the edge“ is a homage to a lifestyle which we have to modify significantly in order to preserve the planet for the next generations. A close-up of a wonderful man-made world with fading brilliancy.

The colour palette shows both warmth and coolness – highlighted by an edgy fluo green. Intense red and light rose pair with sparkling champagne. Contrasted by bright aqua. Neutral tones and icy white set the background.

Some keywords concerning fabrics and the look:

  • rich & authentic materials
  • aged metallic glimmer
  • peeling colours
  • hand-crafted details

„locomotion“ pairs acceleration and vibrant spontanenity. Action and passion reflect the current urban spirit. Playfully criss-crossing back and forth, up and down.

Retro colour harmonies with fresh and vibrant energy. Bright colours face softerchalky tones of mint green, apricot and taupe. A delicate and intense colour atmosphere.

Some keywords concerning the appeal of fabrics:

  • focus on comfort & well-being
  • synthetics with a matt cotton look
  • a breeze of ´50s enchants active sports
  • intensely coloured curvy patterns

„go with the flow“ – a sense of exploration and adventure. The swift wind of an energy shift. Resolutely forward driven.

An array of colours deeply grounded in nature. Aquatic blues stand out against earthy browns and tomato red. Acid fluo yellow sets strong accents.

Keywords for the fabrics:

  • fabric surfaces reflect the crystalline clarity of water
  • fluidity with a technical spirit
  • graphics inspired by geometric street art

“transitory heights” – every jump encloses the magic feeling of flying.
Temporarily airborne. Blurring lines. A hint of things to come.

Black and radiant white predominate this pure and sober colour palette.
Ephemeral splashes of colour. Shades of red set intense accents. Cooled down by sky blue, petrol and fresh green.

Further keywords:

  • fabrics get close to dematerialization
  • ultra-lights with perfect functionality
  • luminous play of colours, textures & transparencies
  • fluid & sensual

„touch down“ – down to earth again. Reinforcing timelessness. Traditional craftsmanship experiences a renaissance in combination with contemporary technologies. A fascinating and inspiring tension between the old and the new.

A subdued and harmonious colour range. Earthy tones from vanilla to khaki are combined with deep bluish tones. Beautifully balanced yet spiced up with powerful fluo-orange.

Some keywords concerning the look:

  • fabrics with a dry, natural handle
  • wood and vegetals like linen, wheat and sisal inspire textures & finishes
  • fusion of natural and synthetic fibres
  • craftmanship

„ode to joy“ – Successfully overcoming obstacles. Effervescent pride and joy. Delighting in the cheerful emotion of the moment.

Broad daylight characterizes the vitality of the colour range. Intense colours like cheeky pink, brilliant orange and bright green are paired with luminous pastel shades.

Keywords for the mood:

  • the charm of improvisation and fantasy
  • fabrics with subtle washings
  • glazed surfaces
  • large-scale graphics

The complete IDEAS colour forecast summer 2013 (62 pages with graphic inspirations, recommendations for colour combinations) can be purchased exclusively by direct order via e-mail:

Nora Kuehner
fashion   design   consulting

© Nora Kühner