google says throw out your mom jeans and keep your tulle skirt
Molly Goddard fall/winter 15. Photography by Philip Trengrove.
You may have thought no one was watching when you stayed up late Googling "ballet skirt sex and the city" that one night, but you were wrong. Google has released its first-ever fashion trend report — an in-depth analysis of six billion fashion-related searches carried out by Google users between 2012 and 2015, which forecasts the advent of the tulle skirt and jogging pant and the death of normcore and the string bikini.
The report identifies both rising and declining trends in the U.S. According to Google's data scientists, over the past three years, we have increasingly been feeling: waist trainers, palazzo pants, jogging pants and ballerina skirts ("Carrie Bradshaw" is one of the most frequently used terms that accompanies this search). Meanwhile, some amateur analysis of the trends in the seasonal growth category — high-waisted bikinis, white lace dresses and rompers — seems to reveal the influence of Taylor Swift.
On their way out are normcore, 90s jeans and peplum dresses. And also scarf vests and zoo jeans — a finding which raises more questions than it answers: namely, what are scarf vests and zoo jeans?
Fascinatingly, Google's data also makes it possible to track the geographical spread of trends. It is possible, for example, to see that something happened in October 2013 that made the people of Utah start Googling tulle skirts en masse, and that Jackson, Mississippi was ground zero for the rising popularity of palazzo pants in August 2013. While the report does not go as far as to suggest reasons for these regional phenomena, the precision of its findings promises exciting things both for retailers (the report's target audience) and just about anyone interested in how we consume fashion.
A corollary finding: the report may have finally laid to rest the controversy of #thedress. Nationwide searches for "white and gold dress" rose by 51,493% between 2013 and 2015, searches for "black and blue dress" by 215,408%.
Text Alice Newell-Hanson
Photography Philip Trangrove