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Designers Dial Down Cliché Tech-Inspired Fashion for F/W 20-21

A new era of tech-inspired fashion is around the corner.

In a recent webinar with Informa, Michael Fisher, Fashion Snoops’ vice president and creative director for men’s wear, described “Dominion,” a Fall/Winter 20-21 trend story that shows how technology can be added to fashion in a refined way for the office wear of tomorrow.

The trend, Fisher said, “shies away from the neon and plastic coatings that have become cliché” in tech fashion. Instead, he described an aesthetic for a post-modern man that is based on tailoring, luxury and fancy synthetic fabrications.

Dominion introduces a novel look in men’s wear that is rooted in tailored tradition. “It merges all the best parts of men’s fashion,” Fisher said.

While traditional and tailored are used to describe the trend story, the colors are anything but staid. Future blue, violet and peacock green—a key color of the season, Fisher quipped—set a vibrant tone. And metallic copper, gunmetal and silver add “gloss and glam” to garments.

Patterns mimic the energy of technology as wavering lines, all-over mapping and blurred plaids.

Designers dial down tech fashion.
F/W 20-21 Z Zenga Fairchild Archive/Penske

In denim, metallic coated Trucker jackets make a strong statement. The jacket can be achieved in a variety of ways, like as a raw mid-weight jean jacket with a silvery coating, or as an oversized jacket, punctuated by rounded shoulders and shiny gold hardware.

Straight-fit jeans are updated with high-shine coatings, too, Fisher said. Chained accents on belt loops and contrast stitching add an extra pop. Indigo shirt jackets with laminated pockets or other tech-inspired surface details come into play.

There’s also an interest in denim with grid line patterns. Fisher urged brands to consider overdyed relaxed-fit jeans and matching jeans with tonal overlaid grid check. The look, he said, “is the perfect mix of utility and tradition.”

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Other key items include tech-driven suits like a double-breasted blazer made with wool-blend twill and technical fabric blocking. Sporty details like zippered pockets add function, while lightly padded shoulders create a more mature look. Ribbed sweaters pop with experimental color contrasts. And transparent trench coats add a sense of novelty to men’s wear and expose interesting layers.

Transparent fabrics are softening men's wear.
S/S 20 Munn s WWD/Shutterstock

In fact, Fisher said transparent fabrications are making an unexpected appearance in fall/winter collections. Transparent pants made with heavyweight mesh are an update to athleisure track pants. “Keep the colors dark or neutral and consider a matching jacket for a fashion-forward customer,” he said. Nylon T-shirts are also making an appearance, serving as a lightweight layering piece.

The trend calls for hybrid footwear style like derbys with a sporty sole and sneakers with geometric cut-outs. And accessories rely on interesting materials, like nylon cross-body bags and ties made with reflective materials, leather bucket hats and aviator glasses with translucent frames.