Designing Lapels?

Did you ever wonder who creates the fall fashions, the spring colors, the length of skirts, the width of lapels?
How come the clothing manufacturers all seem to know the direction of fashion and follow suit (pun intended)? Do they talk before the season or, to use a Justice Department Anti-Trust Division word, “collude?”
While consumers don’t really get hurt financially from this “cooperation,” it does affect those who choose to dress au courant. Each year one must buy new clothes to remain in fashion. But this becomes the consumer’s choice. It does not seem a restraint of trade.
Auto manufacturers seem to display similar levels of “competitive cooperation” in car design. Have you noticed those vehicles with a chrome design adornment placed between the front door and the front wheel? Some horizontal, some vertical, they seem not to have any function save decoration.
These chrome strips appear on selected models of Cadillac, Ford Taurus, Infiniti, Jaguar, Kia, Land Rover, Mercedes SL, Nissan SUV and surely some others not yet noticed.
Ornaments like this don’t seem to hurt the consumer except to add to the price of the car. How come all the manufacturers came out with this chrome design in the same place at roughly the same time? Coincidence? Collusion?
Have you noticed how cars look so much alike, particularly from the side? Front and rear have name plates, identification. The side doesn’t.
Back in 1976, Triumph introduced the TR7. They advertised it as “the shape of things to come.” The aerodynamic design made a bold statement. They took a chance. (Factors other than the design of the car led to its demise.)
In today’s automotive industry, too many cars look alike. Several years ago, the Lexus LS400 sedan looked the same as the Mercedes E class sedan from the side. And today, the side of the Audi A7 appears quite similar to the new Jaguar sedan.
Consider the side of the Honda Accord 4-door sedan. So many other sedans too numerous to mention look the same from the side.
Aerodynamic styling has its place. But when cars just adopt the same design and add nothing really new creatively, then the brand loses some of its impact. Sure, we buy cars for the engineering and fuel economy and engine specifications. But design plays a part in the purchase decision. So why then should all these cars look alike?
Generally, a design if not familiar does not sell. So maybe the auto companies need to design cars that are different but familiar. So far none have tried that.
The U.S. economy suffers from too many imports and too few exports, except for jobs. Companies, fashion and automobile, must think they save money by choosing to copy others than to create anew. Creativity and new ideas cost money.
While taking a chance on a new idea involves risk and cost, it could advance a brand into the future. The Chrysler 300, a complete and bold departure in car design, proved a success. Sometimes risk does reward.
Look at the uniquely designed Cadillac, except for the chrome adornment. Sales reputedly are brisk.
This little essay serves as a challenge to manufacturers. Why copy the others? Set a path for yourself. Let’s re-engage the creativity that signifies America. Now is the time to spring forward so you won’t fall behind. Good luck! Keep in touch!