After canvassing the country and traveling far and wide to a slew of key fashion and industry trade shows, we’re looking forward to Spring/Summer 2011 which promises to be an interesting mix of technology, tradition, youth and pragmatism. Below are some of our observations:

-Strong utilitarian influence: Consumers are spending less and still looking for value and function as the economy decides what it is going to do; this is why the outdoor footwear and apparel categories are strong

-Repurposing is in: Whether apparel, footwear or gear, consumers are looking to see how they can extend the use of what they own

-Classics are still rocking but are being tweaked for younger/different consumers: Look at Keds, Sperry and Hunter, all of whom are changing things up – all while maintaining brand integrity

-Younger consumers are loyal to “right now” and that is about it: Young consumers want what is cool right now; they jump between brands quickly and frequently

-Apparel and footwear manufacturers are working hard to keep up with the changing media world: Look at the latest listing of the top 50 apparel brands as it relates to Facebook and Twitter; young brands, established brands and retailers are embracing this world with great commitment

-Consumer participation in the design process is big: Many brands including Keds, Havaianas and Converse are inviting consumers to suggest designs for their products (NikeID captured this originally; now it is widespread)

-Comfort definitely on consumer radar: While consumers are still concerned with fashion, comfort is a big priority in order to obtain value