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Hot🔥 Summer Trends: Interview with Trend Forecaster Ciara Bell

Updated: May 26


Ciara Bell, Trend Forecaster
Photo by Isaiah Thomas

Hi y'all~ today I am so EXCITED to introduce to you my very best friend and talented trend forecaster, CIARA BELL!!


Ciara and I met up to chat about trend predictions for summer '24. We talked silhouettes, colors, and how to navigate fashion trends inspired by other cultures. We shared a thoughtful, fun conversation that I hope you all enjoy. Keep reading to get the full scoop!


MEET TREND FORECASTER CIARA BELL...


[Courtney] So go ahead and tell us a little bit about yourself. 


[Ciara] Okay. Hello Courtney. My name is Ciara Bell, I'm from Victorville, California. I have always loved fashion ever since I was little. I ended up going to Cal Poly Pomona to get a degree in Apparel Merchandising and Management. From there, I went on to start my career at WSS, where I started out as a buyer assistant in women's & men's footwear. Then, I went over to allocation in men's apparel. Now I'm an assortment planner for the company. 


[Courtney] I love that. 


[Ciara] But, my overall passion has been trend forecasting for the last decade. I love looking at trends, predicting trends, going out in the culture, seeing and reading what's going on. I love the juxtaposition of culture being translated into fashion... that really makes me happy. I love how culture influences fashion and how fashion influences culture. It's an endless cycle. In my spare time, I love to read, write, paint, and make Legos. 


[Courtney] My friend is so beautiful and smart. I'm tearing up. Okay, <laugh>, I love seeing you like this. You're so in your element. We all know that your passion is trend forecasting. When did you first get into it? When did you realize that you were aware of the trends going on? 


[Ciara] I didn't realize that trend forecasting was a career until my senior year of high school. For all that time I wanted to be a fashion designer. But then I realized I really can't draw. I can't draw fashion and, you know, oh well. The main inspiration for trends and fashion in general is just my mom. She's my main fashion icon. She had the best fashion sense to me and she inspires me to this day in my dressing, my trends, and just overall myself. So that's when I got into trends and fashion in general. 


[Courtney] That's so lovely. Okay. Summer is notoriously a difficult season to dress for, especially where we live. It's very hot. What are your go-to staples in the summer? 


[Ciara] My go-to staples in the summer, I love a good tank top. That is my basic, I, you can dress that up, you can dress that down, you can add pops to it—whether that be color or texture. And then, you know, love a good short: a nice form fitting short, a loose fitting short. I really like lighter wash types of denim. That's what I've been really into right now. Either light wash or like a faded black. So a good tank, a good short, and then you're ready to go. 


WHAT ARE THE TRENDS FOR SUMMER '24?


[Courtney] I love that. So you prepared for us four beautiful trends you predicted for summer. Can you tell us a little bit about each one? 


Dopamine Dressing for Summer 2024 Trends

[Ciara] So the first one is my all-time favorite. I don't mean to be biased, but I'm biased about this one. It's called Dopamine dressing. And I got inspired by this from a number of sources. So this has been actually legitimized by WGSN as well as Foot Locker, the parent company in which I work. So dopamine dressing, it's here to stay. Not only for summer, but also going into 2025. So dopamine dressing is really people expressing themselves via color. 


And I think that is kind of like a way of resistance to what's going on in the world. All this darkness, all this turmoil, and all the things that's going on. People don't wanna be somber, people don't wanna dress all in black, people don't wanna hide in the shadows. They wanna be known, they want to express themselves and they're gonna do that via color and they're gonna do that by being bold and bright and having all that vibrancy. 


But what I also love about it, is that it provides that sleekness & elegance in the form of minimalist silhouettes. So you may see a white shirt, but that person's gonna pair it with like a pink pant, you know what I mean? Or they're gonna have like, a monochromatic black outfit, but they'll have like some like blue shoes. They'll all have that pop. They want you to notice them! And it may not be super bright in your face, but it's a thing that'll make you do a double take. So that's one of 'em. 


Crochet Looks for Summer 2024 Trends

[Ciara] Another one we're gonna see a lot of crochet. I think that is perfect for summer because it allows you to stay cool while staying fashionable. So you kind of have that fashion paired with like that handcrafted, artisanal vibe. And you're gonna see that not just in clothes either, but also in like shoes and the form of like espadrilles, ballet flats (that's coming back up) as well as hats.


Dark Cherry, the Predicted Color Trend of Summer 2024

[Ciara] So crochet is coming. Color, which you know, is kind of a plot twist <laugh>. The color is dark cherry, like merlot, or people are calling it like oxblood, a very dark red. And it's a plot twist because you know, you know, know that dark red is associated with like fall in winter. That cozy, like cozy, cool down time tone. So we're turning it on its head, we're doing it for the summer. It goes back to that dopamine dressing with that pop of color. But we're just making it more moody and more sultry. So people are using that as a monochromatic look, or as a pop of color in their accessories. They are definitely going to be doing that in the summer.


Not So Short Shorts - A Trend for Summer '24

[Ciara] And then the last one, another one that I love, because it's so playful is long shorts—or "Not-So-Short Shorts." So you know, think of culottes, think of gauchos, think of bermuda shorts. Think of like literally just pants cut like four inches <laugh>. You know, that's what people are doing. They're cutting it off like right at their knees, or right below their knees. I love it because people are playing so much with proportions. 


Whether you're tall, short, or in-between, people are pairing these with a crop top or an oversight oversized t-shirt. They're elongating their legs with a heel, or they're pairing it with some socks and loafers and going for that more casual look. I love it. Pairing it with the cardigan, pairing it with a tank. And I really love that. I hope that kind of bleeds more into fall...maybe pairing it with like a trench, or something that again, plays with proportions. 


And yeah, I think that's what's gonna be happening in the summertime. 


BREAKING DOWN EACH TREND


[Courtney] I love all those. Thank you so much. That's super exciting. I'll make a little comment in each one. Dopamine dressing—I love that. As soon as you said that, it really stood out to me as an act of resistance against the depth of what's happening in the world. And I feel like it really did start on TikTok during covid of like, let me wear a dress over pants. Like, who's gonna stop me if it makes me feel something <laugh>? And then crochet....I think people want to look like they're wearing something that's more of a slow fashion, something artisanal, like you said. Crochet, infamously cannot be done by a machine. It can only be done by hand. So really interesting that that's, I love that for summer very festival. 


I'm obsessed with the dark cherry. I love breaking the rules. Talk about groundbreaking! Oxblood brings me right back to fall/winter 2014. I distinctly remember that being a trend that year. Then the shorts, I love the Bermuda shorts. I need to find a way to style them properly. 'cause I kind of have, I haven't figured out how to do it on my proportions, but I'm so excited for that.


ON NAVIGATING CULTURE-BASED TRENDS...


[Courtney] I thought of another question for you, which is, when we have these trends that are inspired by culture, let's say like an ethnic culture, you know, these gaucho shorts. How can white people or people not belonging to that culture be mindful of these trends & their origins? 


[Ciara] Mm, that's a really good question. I would first like to say, to not pretend that they invented that, and to not take ownership of that trend. Pay homage to the people that originated it. I think that's the number one thing. Please don't, take something that's not yours. And the second thing is, just be mindful. 


If it's a trend that's belonging to an ethnic culture, like pants for for example: use your own style to amplify that, with a top or a shoe or something. And with HAIR(!!) and nails...don't like use another cultures for that. I'm gonna give an example, let's say for example, and I'm making this up... these not so short shorts, were really popular amongst, you know, black people, right? 


So we see another culture, you know, they wanna adopt this trend. That's fine. But then on the other hand, you pair [the trend] with box braids, acrylic nails, and like hoop earrings and you're not part of that culture. Don't pair it with something else that's not part of your culture. Wear your natural hair, wear your regular nails and stuff like that. Don't be a caricature of that other group. 


[Courtney] Don't be a culture copycat. 


[Ciara] Exactly. 


Final Thoughts...


[Courtney] Do you have any last words about trends for this summer or just in general? 


[Ciara] Yes, these are trends, and this is probably what's going to be happening in the summer. It may even bleed into fall, but just wear your own thing. Don't be afraid. You don't have to follow these trends at all. I'm just here to report it. You don't have to follow it. I'm very neutral; I do have my favorites, but whether or not you adopt them is up to you.


Wear what you want, everything's fake anyway. Just be your own individual self, and that's the main way to be happy. 


[Courtney] You are too fucking good. Thank you so much Ciara, for that interview. <clapping> Bye bye recording. 


[Ciara]

Bye bye!


 

What an interview y'all? Are you as stunned of this beautiful human being as much as I am??


If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below or email me at stylist@courtneydavila.com. Huge thank you to Ciara for her time and energy on this trend forecasting report.


That's all for now.

xoxo, Court 💘


 

You can find Ciara on LinkedIn here.

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