It's quite possible that Nina Stotler has the best job in the world. As youth market editor for Stylesight, a professional trend-spotting agency, the 30-year-old resident of perennially trendy Williamsburg flies all over the world, scouring cultural events, fashion shows, trade shows, and designer showrooms in search of the Next Big Thing. Stotler joined Stylesight in 2007, having previously worked as a consultant at French trend-forecasting company Peclers Paris, and as the women's market editor at Anthem magazine. The former Cut Tastemaker even has her own jewelry line, Von Kottwitz. Jealous much?
Fortunately this Fashion Week, Stotler is giving Cut readers the chance to see the world through her all-seeing eyes. She's attending loads of shows, with an emphasis on up-and-comers (Cushnie et Ochs, Frank Tell, Ohne Titel, Suno, Preen, Elise Øverland, etc.), and reporting back on her findings. In the meantime, click ahead to learn more about Stotler, including her all-time favorite places to scope trends and which trend she saw coming from a mile away.
Why trend forecasting: "An interest in editorial work grew from my love for writing, and as an extension of that, I've always had a insatiable curiosity for information, whatever the subject. I enjoy keeping up on the latest developments in culture, art, music, film and fashion. Trend reporting is a way to connect the dots by looking for patterns and shifts in fashion; similar to crafting an academic thesis, but one pertinent to business."
The best scenes for style hunting: "My favorite events of the year include Rosemount Australian Fashion Week in Sydney and the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas. Sydney's vibrant, inclusive, creative, and enthusiastic fashion scene makes my yearly trip down under indispensable. I've discovered some amazingly accomplished and innovative designers in Australia, as well as local stores with a cult following and cutting-edge seasonal buys. It's interesting to see what people so far away from Europe and America are responding to in fashion, as well as how they are expanding upon existing trends. Back home, South by Southwest provides a great insider view of the music scene, as thousands of bands from around the globe descend on Texas. This year I was able to speak with a number of young artists about their style inspirations, all of which were an indication of upcoming trends."
The hardest part of her job: "I'd have to say the most challenging part of my job is also the most rewarding: The frequent travel can be taxing, but has allowed me to meet a wide range of people all around the world, friends and contacts whose insight and talent I consider my most valuable resource."
Favorite designers: "At the moment I love what designers such as Phoebe Philo, Haider Ackerman, and Nicolas Ghesquière are doing with leather by developing both more pliable, minimal shapes as well as soft draping and constructed pleating. In general, I think the latest versions of minimalism are a refreshing change after so many seasons of either eighties- or nineties-inspired looks. Although I do appreciate the value in the broader interest for heritage fashion over the past two years, I feel it often leads to derivative looks rather than the type of innovation I appreciate."
Favorite trends: "I really like the move toward well-made, generic pieces: the perfect trench, an aged but sturdy white T-shirt, slim dark denim, school satchel bags. This plain, often monochrome look appeals to a returning interest in value and craft, instead of fast fashion and disposable knockoffs."
The trend she spotted from a mile away: "One look we've tracked from its beginning in 2008/2009 is the 'quirky coquette,' which is currently embodied by young stars like Alexa Chung. It's gone from the fashionable fringes and designers like Luella Bartley and Charles Anastase to every music festival this summer, as well as the Urban Outfitters catalogue. I think I have been surprised by the lasting and broad nature of this trend — it still shows no signs of flaming out."