Runway shows, red carpets, street style, festivals, trade shows—all the traditional signals of what’s next in fashion are back and in full force. But if 2022 is indicative of how fashion has shifted during the pandemic, it’s that all eyes should be on social media tracking the next viral trend, aesthetic, core—whichever term best describes what’s hot.
At the same time, consumers are calling for brands and retailers to have higher standards for their sourcing, manufacturing and marketing strategies. They’re splitting their spending between new and pre-owned apparel to create decidedly individual looks, while favoring pieces with longevity and durability on their side.
Combined, it should make for an interesting and exciting year in fashion. Here’s our list of the 23 trends to know for 2023.
Used by labels like Eileen Fisher, Rag & Bone, Naked & Famous and Chloé, linen’s footprint in denim fabrics is growing. As mills add variety to their fiber lists, many are turning toward the bast fiber for its breathability, easy care, light weight, durability and comfort benefits. Foison, Evlox and Artistic Milliners offer linen blends in their Spring/Summer 2024 collections. Meanwhile, ADM is filling the gap for coastal grandmother fashion by introducing a line of 100 percent linen shirting fabrics.
In November, Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Fran Horowitz said the company is seeing women embrace non-denim bottoms—and there’s good reason. New trends that center on tailored looks coupled with interest in ’90s and Y2K styles including flare trousers, split hems and cargo pants give consumers wiggle room to experiment.
Mills are expanding their use of biodegradable elastane and recycled polyester to give stretch denim a more environmentally responsible name. Others are introducing new weaving techniques that give 100 percent cotton fabrics natural stretch qualities. Jeans legs may be widening but stretch remains an all-important factor for comfort.
Levi’s 501 jean has been the blueprint to every jean style made since its inception in 1873. It’s neither trendy nor outdated and it will be celebrated in 2023. The 501’s 150th anniversary in May will thrust this classic wardrobe staple into the limelight and remind consumers of denim’s enduring appeal.
Digital Lavender, the color WGSN and Coloro forecasted for 2023 in 2020, is on track to reach mass appeal this year. WGSN’s data shows that the pastel purple linked to wellness and sensorial experiences has been on a growth streak. The gender-neutral color was featured in 61.6 percent of Spring/Summer 2023 collections, and it remains the dominant tone of purple. Look for purple-tinted indigos, bold overdyes and lavender PFDs to capture the denim market.
The Canadian tuxedo has peaked. From Prada’s minimal men’s denim shirts and jeans shorts to Self-Portrait and Schiaparelli stylized coordinates for women’s, there’s a double-denim look for everyone in 2023.
Artisans and independent designers are often the hidden talent behind the showstopping denim pieces seen on luxury brands’ runways. Instagram and TikTok, however, are providing these denim specialists with platforms to show off their work and launch businesses of their own. Expect to see more indie makers get the recognition they deserve in 2023.
Quality arguably never goes out of style, but more companies are emphasizing the steps they’re taking to ensure better products overall. Amplified by Levi’s popular “Buy Better, Wear Longer” campaign and continued interest in vintage, consumers are savvier about quality versus quantity. With more consumers paying closer attention to how products are made, expect to see brands deliver bolder messages about the quality and durability of their jeans by highlighting fibers, fabric weights and manufacturing practices.
Fashion isn’t souring on pink any time soon. The ‘It’ color of 2022—spurred on by viral Barbiecore looks and a barrage of celebrities wearing Valentino’s PP Pink collection—is evolving, however. Expect to see deeper, jewel tone shades of pink that are more soothing on the eyes as confirmed by Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2023, Viva Magenta. Described as powerful, empowering, electrifying, audacious, witty and inclusive, the crimson hue encourages experimentation, strength and self-expression without restraint. Pantone says it’s assertive but not aggressive and is capable of driving design to create a more positive future. Just what the industry needs.
From leather to racing stripes, elements of motorsports cycle in and out of fashion. In 2023, look for color-blocked pants made with coated denim or leather (like the Rick Owens styles Kim Kardashian has worn in her post-Balenciaga era) and quilted and padded denim jackets and jeans in both men’s and women’s categories.
The content that makes up a pair of jeans has become a mosaic of cellulosic, regenerated and synthetic fibers in recent years, with ingredients serving up stretch, recovery, durability and more. But with demand for circular products growing, and consumers increasingly aware of the issues that come with recycling blended fabrics, denim mills are ramping up their promotion of fabrics made with a singular traceable and recyclable fiber.
Step hems, split hems, undone hems…designers are beginning to make their jeans from the bottom up again. Though finished hems have held court for the past few years, these novelty version offer brands the opportunity to update their bestselling jeans and add newness to the sales floor.
Glossy coatings, crystal embellishments and metallic foils have been on the radar of designers and consumers alike thanks to the Y2K revival, but these fancy tricks-of-the-trade are being put to more regal and opulent use in 2023. Driven by ongoing Regencycore trends and tales of royal families back in the pop culture spotlight, denim’s glow-up includes colorful gemstone embellishments, velvet details, Lurex threads and tapestry-like jacquards. Meanwhile, Pinterest reports an uptick in searches for ruffles, tulle and lace.
Like the jumpsuit before it, the humble overall is the latest garment to benefit from fashion’s obsession with effortless dressing. Designers are putting their own spin on the workwear piece in 2023. R13 is leaning into its painterly roots with high-contrast washes, paint splatter and loose silhouettes. Brandon Maxwell adds a touch of glam by styling sequin bodysuits with wide-leg overalls with deep cuffs.
Weaving patterns into denim fabrics will be one of the ways that brands build uniqueness into their collections in 2023. Jacquard denim with floral, toile and damask-inspired patterns key into the trend for opulent jeans, but it also offers brands a chance to make custom fabrics. More mills are touting customizable jacquard denim, allowing brands to weave their logos and signature icons directly into the fabric.
The yellow-tinted denim that trended in the early 2000s is back. Blumarine applied the dirty-looking wash to cross-shaped tops. KNWLS used the moto-meets-apocalyptic color for its denim miniskirts, duster coats, chopped jackets and body-hugging jeans with split hems. Yellow tints gave Vaquera’s collection of cropped jackets, distressed skirts and low-rise jeans a patina effect.
Brands have fully embraced collaborations as a marketing tool to tap into new audiences. With the amount of buzz that came from unexpected brand-on-brand collaborations in 2023 like Denim Tears x Dior, Dickies x Gucci, and Wrangler teaming with everyone from Gant and Billabong to The Brooklyn Circus and Pendleton, hypebeasts can expect to see more crossovers in 2023.
Sustainable and natural dyes
With colorful fashion in high demand, its prime time for brands to try one of the numerous sustainable dye solutions offered by the denim supply chain. Stony Creek Colors is scaling its natural indigo production with the help of Levi’s, while other companies are exploring circular solutions. Officina39’s Recycrom, a process that upcycles textile waste into new dyestuff, and Tonello’s Wake technology, which only uses 100 percent organic and compostable raw materials, can achieve the same dusty and mindful pastels with a smaller environmental footprint.
Jorts are back. With labels like Prada, Louis Vuitton and Amiri giving jean shorts the seal of approval, look for this ’90s skater staple to get a premium makeover in 2023.
If you’re not mixing a curated range of pre-owned and vintage products in with your new merchandise, you are missing a big retail opportunity. Statista reports that the global market value of secondhand and resale apparel will reach $218 billion by 2026. Denim brands and retailers including Lee, Primark, Levi’s, Diesel and Madewell are leading the way in this new mode of retail. Expect to see more brands and retailers introduce a thrifted component to their store floors in 2023.
The mainstreaming of goth fashion didn’t end with the 2022 wedding of Kravis, aka Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker. The popularity of shows like Netflix’s “Wednesday” and the growing interest in dark tourism—a.k.a. travel to creepy and spooky places—is keeping this moody trend alive. Black and gray denim is making an unusually strong appearance in spring collections this year. Voluminous shapes, pierced details, studs, grommets and leather-like coating add a punk-meets-raver edge.
Minimalism and preppy fashion are driving interest in classic items like refined denim, button-down shirts, basic knits and relaxed suiting. While looser proportions and bold uses of color make the timeless aesthetic feel fresh, it also leans into bigger industry shifts like genderless fashion, seasonless shopping and pieces that work for hybrid work schedules.
There’s more to denim than the five-pocket jean. From Good American’s denim-printed swimwear and DL1961’s denim skiwear collection with Perfect Moment to the denim wedding dress Moschino designer Jeremy Scott made for friend and actress Bria Vinaite, denim entered new territory in 2022. With denim suiting, footwear and home décor on the rise, denim is on the path to become the fabric of our lives.