Customers can’t get enough of hair adornments – but where will the trend go next and how can retailers be at the forefront of demand?
Barrettes and bows, clips and combs, scrunchies and scarves: hair accessories of all kinds are one of this season’s defining trends. On the recent catwalks, bejewelled slides sparkled at Chanel, Simone Rocha and Ashley Williams. Off the runway, street-style stars pinned pearl clips into their hair, while high-profile fans of the craze include the Duchess of Cambridge, who has championed statement headbands and velvet hair ribbons.
Hair adornments can be a quick win for retailers seeking to drive up average spend with an easy add-on sale. And the trend looks set to continue over seasons to come, industry experts suggest. As the craze moves from the youth market in to the mainstream, those seeing to cash in on the demand will need to react quickly to ensure their offer stands out from the crowd.
“The past 12 months have been huge for hair at Accessorize – 2019 will forever be known as the year of the headband,” the high street retailer’s brand director Kathleen Mitchell tells Drapers. “Sales are storming in this category, both online and in store, and we’re expecting to see it continue into 2020. The surge has been driven by street style, selfies and social media, as well as its presence on the runway.”
Charlotte Lloyd, head of design at accessories brand Skinnydip London, agrees: “We can’t get enough of hair accessories at the moment – we’ve had to order more to meet demand. In fact, any accessories with pearls or beads are proving to be bestsellers for us.”
Fashion’s ongoing love affair with decades gone by has also helped popularise the trend, argues Ana Correa, associate editor for footwear and accessories at trend forecaster WGSN.
“The resurgence of hair accessories has been driven by the nostalgia for the 1990s and 2000s currently gripping the youth market. The trend has been very successful, very quickly – in part because it’s had the stamp of approval from fashion powerhouses such as Gucci.”
Easy to wear and often affordable, hair decorations allow customers to update their look with a fashion-forward twist for a lower cost than buying a new piece of clothing.
“Inspired by their childhoods, customers are becoming much more playful with their accessories,” argues Sinead Flood, founder of accessories etailer July Child, which stocks hair clip brands including Valet Studio and Wald. “The addition of a clip can make even a simple outfit interesting and this is a trend that is accessible to everyone – not everyone wants to wear [currently on-trend] cycling shorts, but there are no barriers to adorning your hair.”
Consumers are becoming more comfortable making a big statement with their jewellery and hair accessories
Ana Correa, WGSN
In 2017, Cat Hocking, a former buyer at Avenue 32 and Very Exclusive, founded clothing and accessories etailer Joan, which stocks hair clips from Ashley Williams and Valet Studio.
She says: “In an age of consumer uncertainty, hair accessories are an easy way for shoppers to update their wardrobe without spending a fortune. There’s also a range of different hair trends for customers with different styles to buy into, from a minimalist silk scrunchie to a rhinestone-encrusted hair claw or even a pearl headband.”
At lifestyle retailer Oliver Bonas, structured headbands in an array of vibrant prints have been performing “amazingly well”, says senior buyer for jewellery and hair accessories Rebecca Jones. She advises that taking a proactive approach and building an offer that stands out from the crowd is the key to making the most of the craze.
“Retailers need to ensure they are moving with the trend,” she says. “The styles are constantly evolving, and we are trying to keep on top of the game by injecting new prints, shapes and materials into the range. As the trend develops, we’re looking at turban knots and maxi-bows for headbands, luxe fabrics for bows and ribbons, and multi-slide packs designed to be worn together.”
WGSN’s Correa agrees that experimentation and a bold approach is necessary to be at the forefront of the clip craze: “Consumers are becoming more comfortable making a big statement with their jewellery and hair accessories, so retailers can’t be afraid to play with materials, colours and textures. There’s also an opportunity to combine two trends and offer personalised hair accessories – such as barrettes and bows with customer’s initials or names on.”
Speed to market is also essential if retailers are to tap into the trend, Skinnydip’s Lloyd adds: “Speed is so important with this category. You’ve got to work with factories to get stock really quickly and react almost instantly to street-style trends. We’re backing the trend for the rest of this year and into the beginning of next. Crystals will be big, as will blingy headbands.”
Hair grips and clips will also be given a cold-weather update to breathe fresh life into the trend once the temperature drops later this year.
“Shells and beautiful velvet hair bands will be big over the summer, but this is an evolving trend,” says July Child’s Flood. “When the temperature dips, I’ll be looking to introduce fake fur clips to give the trend a winter take.”
The hair accessories craze still has fashion firmly in its grip. Depending on their target customer, womenswear retailers should complement their clothing offers with simple scrunchies, or go maximalist with pearl-encrusted headbands and punchy statement slides. A keen eye on street style trends and a bold approach is the secret to keeping customers adding to their clip collections.
Brands to know:
Covetable and Instagram-able, Berlin-based Wald is one to watch. Founded by Joyce Binneboese and Dana Roski – a former model and stylist respectively – the label’s hair accessories collection includes headbands with pearl detailing, as well as oversized hair grips with statement shells. Current stockists include Net-a-Porter, Harvey Nichols and Fenwick.
Wholesale prices range from £19 for shell clips to £70 for a shell-encrusted velvet headband.
Launched in 2017 after founder Julie Svendal was inspired by a trip to the Korean capital, Seoul Import specialises in quirky resin clips. Candy colours, sea creatures and delicate blooms feature throughout the range, which is designed in Denmark and produced in Korea. Famous fans of the brand include influencer of the moment Laura Jackson.
Wholesale prices for clips range from £8 to £15.
Named after the Italian word for daisy, Margherita was founded by sisters Masha and Nastja Nastic in 2018. Its spring 19 collection has been inspired by the seaside and includes hair clips in marine-inspired shapes, such as shells and starfish.
Wholesale prices range from £3.30 for pearl slides to £11 for embellished hair clips.