Trends are much less influential than they used to be, but the fashion industry is still incredibly creative and inspiring. It seems that almost anything goes, which is both frustrating and empowering. Frustrating, because we no longer have benchmarks clearly telling us what’s “in” and what’s “out.” Empowering, because every silhouette and proportional mix can look stylish when worn with conviction, confidence, a happy heart, and a good fit.
Amidst all this chaos, here are seven big themes I see coming through this season.
1. Sustainability and Ethics
More and more designers and retailers are prioritizing sustainable and ethical manufacturing methods, making it easier for us to make sustainable and ethical style choices. They are pursuing goals of minimizing waste, upscaling, recycling, repurposing, making plant-based collections, slowing down, reducing carbon footprints, and using ethically sourced materials and manufacturing plants.
Sustainability means different things to different people, and some people are in a position to do more about it than others. There are few easy solutions, and many compromises. But we can all make a positive difference by being sustainable and ethical in our own way.
2. Do Your Own Thing (DYOT)
Style is a celebration of individuality. Full Stop. MILK IT.
As trends become less important, creating a signature style and evolving it over time becomes more important. Wear the trends, don’t wear them, remix them, repeat them, reinvent them, or stick to classics — it’s all good. Do your own thing.
3. Practical Comfort
Our modern way of life demands comfort as we multitask and work long hours. That’s why it’s trendy to wear fashion or athletic sneakers with anything, and to throw on leggings with a blazer, a sweatshirt with a pencil skirt, or a tee with a pair of dressy pants. Unstructured clothing, elasticated waists, technical fabrics, machine-washable workwear, clothing with hidden pockets, dressy flats and the oh-so-popular juxtaposition of remixing casual with dressy pieces continues to make a strong statement in today’s fashion.
4. Classics and Icons
Every classic and iconic item is having its fashionable moment as designers show us how to remix them in fresh ways to showcase versatility and prevent outfit boredom. This encourages us to hang on to these items instead of passing them on, because wearing an old item in a new way can be better than buying something new.
5. Happy Tension
There are many opposing trends that work in perfect harmony. Tailoring that is loose instead of structured. Maximalism is friends with minimalism. So-called clashing colours that complement one another. All sorts of casual remixed with all sorts of dressy. Cool tones that look great with warm tones. Pastels that are friends with brights. Slouch that can live with body-con, and sneakers with suits. All of this happy tension creates fashion diversity, increases longevity factors, and reinforces doing your own thing.
6. ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s
Today’s fashion is strongly influenced by three connected decades. The early ‘90s were a meaningful nod to the ’80s, and the mid ‘90s had lots of ‘70s appeal. This is another nod to sustainability, because it’s hip and fashionable to thrift and wear items that are several decades old.
Think flares, bootcuts, wide crops, tapered legs, scrunchies, high and mid rises, low rises, relaxed straights, the Matrix, vintage denim, faux fur and shearling, bohemian vibes, midis, Punk plaids, puffy sleeves, faux leather, geometric patterns, sharp shoulders, short A-line skirts, paperbag waists, oversized jackets and coats, fitted jackets, long blazers, short blazers, disco collars, big shirts, waistcoats, balloon-leg pants, body-con tops, oversized tops, waist belting, Dr. Martens, velvet, corduroy, pointy toes, square toes, power suits, tube skirts, aviator jackets, full-length straights with scrunch, cropped tops, dungarees, baggy jeans, cigarette pants, high-rise skinnies, slip dresses, corduroy, fringe, resin earrings, tiered skirts and dresses, and gothic black.
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 fashion industry. YLF is not about politics, so the specifics of the messages are not the point here. But the trend is something we can incorporate into our own styles by wearing bold or subtle slogans and outfit combinations that showcase our personal convictions.