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Many Changes Projected for Department Stores of Future

May 31, 1985|MARY ROURKE

Perhaps clothing styles aren't changing much. But clothing stores are.

"For one thing, they'll sell only clothes in department stores in the future," predicts Harry Bernard of Colton Bernard, a consulting firm for the fashion business. No more TVs, tape recorders and the like.

Following a research effort his company completed for the sake of glimpsing the department stores of the future, Bernard also predicts that entertainment will play more of a part in shopping. Fashion videos, live performers and teaching demonstrations will get better play than before.

As for which fashion designers will still be styling clothes at the end of the decade, Bernard says the list is shorter than you might think.

"Designers who create a life style and present a strong image of a particular sort of person are the retail visionaries," he says, pointing out that Liz Claiborne and Esprit are two companies that epitomize the trend.

"We're changing the way we shop, and we're changing the way we earn and spend money," Bernard adds. In fashion, as in every other consumer field, he says, "conspicuous consumption is out; quality versus quantity buying is in."

And how will all of this affect the way people dress?

"People are buying less and are willing to pay more for what they do buy," Barnard says. "And comfort is the key to fashion. Loose-fitting--as opposed to skintight or constricting--clothes will be in even greater demand in the future."

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