I’m going to report on the next six months of fashion in five separate posts instead of one extremely long and overwhelming one. That way the info is easier to digest and we can focus our conversations in the comments section. Let the trendy games begin.

I’ve seen many of the Ready-to-Wear collections for Spring 2020. Every season, a set of cohesive and interesting themes emerge through the chaos and drama that struts down the runway. Some of these themes have staying power for years, and sometimes even decades. Unfortunately, the lack of diversity across the body type and age of the runway models was disappointing, and looks dated. I am forever hopeful that this will change.

Here are seven trends that stood out.

1. Sustainability

Many designers used fabrics, trims, and accessories from past collections to minimize waste and promote the idea of upscaling, recycling, repurposing and repeating. Many designers made a point of using ethically sourced materials and manufacturing plants. Some designers pushed for a plant-based collection that was void of all animal products. These actions form part of an extremely important message about the question of sustainability and style.

Achieving sustainability is extremely complex. There are no easy solutions, and many compromises. But we have to think about sustainability because the problems won’t go away unless action is taken. Every small action counts, even if it’s just to ease your conscience. So these days, you have to think long and hard about what sustainability means for you and your style, and be vigilant about the sustainable actions that you can manage regularly. Sustainability means different things for different people, and some can manage it more easily than others. It’s not a contest, so by all means compare, but do not despair. As long as you’re making a point of being sustainable your way, it’s a good thing.

2. Do Your Own Thing (DYOT)

There is no one way to be stylish. Fashion is a melting pot of sartorial choices, and increasing diversity in fashion with each passing year means that there is something for everyone. Trends are no longer seasonal and fads no longer exist. Trends are becoming harder to define, and at some point they will be irrelevant. That’s why creating a signature style and evolving it over time is one of the most important and relevant trends of them all. Wear the trends, don’t wear them, remix them, repeat them, reinvent them — it’s all good. Do your own thing!

3. Practical Comfort

Our fast-paced world expects us to travel at the drop of a hat, multitask, and work long hours. This modern way of life demands comfort. That’s why it’s trendy to wear fashion or athletic sneakers with anything, and to throw on leggings with a blazer, dressy bag, and glam jewellery. Unstructured clothing, elastic waists, fabrics with stretch, machine-washable workwear, clothing with hidden pockets, dressy flats, trendy puffer coats, and the oh-so-popular juxtaposition of remixing casual with dressy pieces continues to make a strong statement in today’s fashion.

4. Celebrating Classics and Icons

Designers and retailers are making a point of giving modern classics and iconic items their fashionable moment. They are remixing them in new ways to prevent boredom and showcase versatility. Wear a dressy trench coat with joggers and sneakers. Throw on a blazer and Dr. Martens with anything. A baseball cap and Chucks can work with a ball dress, and a pencil skirt can be worn with your varsity sweatshirt. The trend is promoting sustainability because wearing an old item in a new way can be better than buying something new.

5. Happy Tension

The tension between opposing trends is more apparent than ever. Outfit Maximalism shakes hands with minimal looks. Oversized slouch, surrendered waistlines and architectural volume can live happily with busloads of structure, body-con and waist definition. Dressy pieces and uber-casual items are equally on-trend, and by all means remix them into one outfit. Neutrals and earth tones are as popular as brights and jewel tones. Pointy toes are as important as square toes, and stilettos look just as fab as block heels.

This type of happy trend tension creates fashion diversity and reinforces doing your own thing. It gives looks a higher longevity factor, making it harder and harder to call an item “dated”. It supports sustainability, and our need to be as diverse in fashion as we can be.

6. The ‘90s

With respect to silhouettes and outfit combinations, you’ll see a strong flashback to the ‘90s. The early ‘90s were a meaningful nod to the ’80s, and the mid ‘90s had lots of ‘70s appeal, so I see it as more of a flashback to three decades instead of one. This is another nod to sustainability, because it’s hip and fashionable to thrift and wear items that are several decades old instead of passing them on as dated looks.

7. Personal Slogans

Designers and retailers continue to use their influential platforms to make statements that are important to them and their brand. Many of the messages are political, but sometimes they’re light-hearted, funny, and take the mickey out of the ridiculous fashion industry. YLF is not a political blog, so the specifics of the messages are not the point. But the trend is something we can incorporate into our own styles by wearing slogans and outfit combinations that showcase a personal message. It can be subtle or bold, and executed your way.

It’s important to remember that despite what’s happening on the runways or in trend forecasts, retailers will continue to supply the market with items that they sell well at retail. Items will stick around for as long as consumers will buy them. Designers do not have the power to control trends as much as we do collectively as consumers. We are the ones in control.