Costume Trends for 2010

You won’t have to follow a white rabbit down a hole to turn your store into a retail wonderland this Halloween, although keeping an ample stock of “Alice in Wonderland” costumes would be a good idea.

Why? Because if ever there was a time that costume trends were influenced by movie releases and licensed characters, 2010 is it. From “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” vampire parties held throughout the year to the costume culmination in October, expect to see a variety of popular icons popping up on not only the big screen, but also the selling scene.

What do you predict for 2010?

Triton Klugh, InCharacter Costumes
Out of the box characters that are iconic of pop culture, humorous costumes and topical characters are very strong in the adult male market. Gross and scary with an edge of irreverence or humor are choice among boys. Girls enjoy group costumes that express peer solidarity and play on the lighter side of Halloween, like Bumble Bees and Lady Bugs. Women still want to look sensational and show their best figure assets no matter what expression their Halloween fantasy takes.

Old characters will have new twists, like our Killer Bee and Robin Hoodlum. Fashion’s fascination with ethnic influences drive the popularity of the characters themselves, such as our Indian, Barbarian and Voodoo couples that play on tribal inspired graphics.

Marty Imler, Disguise
With the movie release of Marvel’s “Iron Man 2”, Disney’s “Prince of Persia” and “Toy Story 3” in 2010, we expect to see a representation of those movie characters in the top costume list. In addition, Disney’s Princess line and Marvel’s top superhero, Spider-Man, have maintained their top positions annually.

And with the uncertainty of job security for many people, retro and humorous costumes are a strong theme, allowing adults to escape the daily stresses and remind them of simpler days.

Kevin Johnson, elope Inc.
I feel the biggest trend for 2010 will be “Alice in Wonderland.” At Elope, we saw our classic “Alice in Wonderland” product sell out well before Halloween in 2009. In fact, the Madhatter was one of the most asked for costumes.

This story was takes place during the Victorian era, which is also the age of the latest costuming trend, Steampunk. Steampunk denotes works and fashions set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used — usually the Victorian era — but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy.

Costumes include corsets, gowns, frock coats, aviator caps, bowlers and top hats accompanied by goggles, compasses and DIY accessories.

Lar Hovsepian, Dreamgirl International
With “Clash of the Titans” being remade, more mythical figures, deities and Greek gods and goddesses will be dressed to the nines in 2010. Dreamgirl has added a light-up goddess to the upcoming line-up, which will fuse the unique and eye-catching light up
 functionality that we introduced in 2010 with the up-and-coming themes.

What new collections do you have to introduce to retailers?

Warren Berkowitz, Forum Novelties
My focus has been a continued aggressive approach to the generations, adding on Hip-Hop and Grunge and going back in time to the ’40s and ’20s, while constantly updating the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.

The Quick Change costume (will) allow the consumer to change her costume in public quickly and easily. With the flick of a Velcro snap, she can push down her first costume and reveal her new costume.

Fabulous Flirts, adult Sesame Street and She Weapons are inspired for fashion-savvy women and young adults with fun and playful personalities looking to feel beautiful without being to overly racy. We chose iconic licensed characters from childhood — like Minnie Mouse, Peter Pan or Elmo — and translated them in a grown-up, fun and playful way.

For 2010, we will be rolling out a line of Steampunk costume accessories, particularly goggles and Victorian-era headwear. Steampunk party participants dress either fully in Steampunk attire or a Steampunk mash-up, which is a fun new concept in costuming where two different concepts are combined — traditional Halloween costumes with added Steampunk elements.

How can retailers increase costume sales year round?

Offer a line of costumes and accessories in conjunction with the hottest movie releases for the fans who want the total movie experience in their favorite character.

I visited many local stores year round and found that many retailers had too many of the same costume category. I counted one store with more than 12 different styles of a sexy pirate. Although I believe in variety, I think that much of the profits are left in carryover inventory when you overbuy the same category. I think it is important that the buyers analyze past success before ordering too many of the same category.

Shop owners need to get connected to their community to know what costume events are on the horizon. Our local costume shop usually offers discounts to event attendees and often sells tickets to costume events.

Joseph Stovall, Be Wicked! Costumes
Retailers need to advertise that costumes aren’t for Halloween only. Our costumes can be used for a large variety of parties and get togethers, as well as any stage or theatrical production.

What do you suggest for costume add-on sales?

Accessories that complete the fantasy are key. Hosiery, bags, shoes, petticoats and the like really help build a picture for customers that’s easy to buy into.

Our biggest selling accessory currently is eyewear — it’s a great last minute impulse item that many shoppers don’t hesitate to pick up, especially if the rack is near the cash register. Most of our retailers take a three time mark-up, making our sunglass racks real profit centers for their shops.

Originally posted Tuesday, Mar. 2, 2010