FIT Talks: David Wolfe interview

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FIT Talks: David Wolfe interview


SUMMARY: Phyllis Dillon interviews David Wolfe, trend forecaster and Creative Director of the Doneger Group for 27 years.
BIOGRAPHY: David Wolfe has worked in fashion industry for over 50 years, and is one of the industry’s most influential trend forecasters. Born in 1941 in Ohio, he took a strong interest in fashion illustration as a young boy. In his first job at Carlisle’s Department Stores, a small family-owned chain in Ohio, Wolfe was given free reign to take on multiple roles, including visual merchandise director, and teen fashion coordinator. He also wrote advertising copy and created fashion illustrations for the advertising department, and worked on their bridle fashion shows. Wolfe there met and married his wife Sheila, who helped foster his career as a fashion illustrator. During a visit to London in the late 1960s, Wolfe landed an illustration job at the prestigious fashion store, Fortnum & Mason. He then worked steadily as a freelance fashion illustrator for the next 20 years, for publications including the London Sunday Times, Womenswear Daily, and Galeries Lafayette. He also began working with Lee Rudd's I.M. International fashion forecasting business, which provided reports for department stores, textile companies, color companies, and designers. After a couple of years working with the forecasting company, IM International, in 1981, Wolfe started his own company, The Fashion Service, which created and sold trend information to designers, and advised merchandisers on what they should buy. In 1990, he joined the New York-based Doneger Group, from which he retired from his position as Creative Director in 2018.
DISCUSSED: In this interview, Wolfe discusses pivotal aspects of his career, the significance of fashion trend forecasting, and his impressions of current fashion trends. He talks about the differences between American and European fashion cultures in the 1960s and 1970s, and discusses the significance of the prominence of pop culture in the current era, and how high fashion serves as art in place of functional design. "Fashion as art is more creative, more liberated, more outrageous, more beautiful [than it's ever been]. But it isn’t rippling down into the real world....there are, like, two separate industries going on." Wolfe also talks about how trend forecasting used to "introduce ideas, or pull together concepts and influences," where today, trend forecasting is "analyzing what's going to sell."


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