3 Themes That Will Influence Spring/Summer 2023 Design
Joyous color, aquatic notions and natural ingredients are among the themes percolating for Spring/Summer 2023 fashion, home and beauty, according to Fashion Snoops.
The global trend forecasting firm hosted its seasonal Trend Immersion on Tuesday, outlining the cultural sentiments bound to influence design. While the impact of the pandemic will be evident through designs that promote travel, celebration, and sustainability, the mood is also notably shifting from one of uncertainty and survivalism to adaptability and creativity.
Here, the Fashion Snoops team describes the key colors, textures and prints of the season, and how they came to be.
Consumers are likely aware of what brand of clothing they’re wearing and where they purchase it. The new currency, however, is knowing the ingredients that went into make it and honoring the people who brought it to life.
“We have walked far away from all of the natural or actual ingredients of everything we consume,” said Lilly Berelovich, Fashion Snoops president. “We don’t know the raw form of many things.”
The rise of slow fashion and education about sourcing and producing more responsibility are changing that mindset, as well as pandemic hobbies like baking and gardening that reintroduced consumers to caring about raw ingredients. What the farm-to-table movement did for the organic food business, “seed-to-shelf,” which entails everything from the fiber, dye and sewing thread selected for a garment to how it is sold, opens wide opportunities for brands to home in on new stories and merchandising concepts.
“Consumers are being more considerate about the things they bring into their homes,” said Nivara Xaykao, Fashion Snoops culture director. “We can’t go back to the mentality of production for production’s sake.”
How that translates into products is Raw, a theme that calls for the strong return to natural and ancestral designs. Pure colors, modest surfaces and simple shapes speak volumes in a world filled with chaos, said Michael Fisher, Fashion Snoops VP, creative, menswear. By stripping away the clutter, creatives can get to the root of design. “The origins of design are the most essential building blocks of design,” he said. “We want to inspire and teach consumers to have an intimate relationship with the ingredients in their products.”
“Seasonal sameness,” he added is prized in Raw, as well as soft yet crisp and dry textures that evoke the feeling of rural terrain topography and earthy vegetables. Dryness is reflected in the color palette, which “whispers the tried-and-true lessons of the universe.” Colors include vital shades of green and blue and rosy hues like clay pot and blossom that Fisher likens to “buds of sweetness.”
Husk, a crisp off-white and the theme’s core sentiment color, represents the movement toward undyed colors that celebrate the quiet simplicity of organic materials, said Hallie Spradlin, Fashion Snoops director of accessories. The color, she added, is a great way to highlight a product’s sustainability story without the need for added finishes or additional processes. The color also elevates fabrics with natural imperfections like hemp, jute and cotton left in its natural state.
Undyed garments, products that leverage natural waste resources and brands that honor stewardship and seed sovereignty are key to Raw. “Movements to preserve ancient seed varieties and construct local seed libraries [are] gaining momentum,” Spradlin said, adding that brands can “attempt to honor the product origins by connecting the finished goods to the initial seeds they actually came from.”
Materials like undyed wovens, bio-based dyes, plant-based leather, reclaimed metals and natural stones convey the theme, while organic-inspired prints like speckled scrub, which Rachael Gentner, Fashion Snoops pattern and graphics editor, described as an update to traditional polka dot and animal print, adds a splash of boldness. Floral prints return as dried and pressed blossoms, enhanced with vintage sepia tones.
Meanwhile, painterly dye effects take inspiration from chalky terrains. The deep and mysterious hues are mixed alongside jewel tones, she said.
“We’re looking forward to reuniting and celebrating with others and we’re also looking to rediscover that spark of optimism that’s been missing from our lives for the last couple of years,” Xaykao said.
Celebration is one way to heal after a traumatic time. Breaking molds is another. “The only constraints that exist are in our mind,” Berelovich said, adding that now is the time to invest in creativity and tap into a new energy flow.
The theme also urges companies to question if they promote gatekeeping and how their offerings can be more accessible to all consumers. “We’re realizing that these boundaries that we put on ourselves and on society don’t need to actually be there anymore,” Xaykao said. “As we go out into the world again, we’re hopefully interacting with the world and with other people from a more enlightened place.”
In Release, the focus is on items that lift spirits, spark joy and invite all to the party. Or as Fisher put it, Release is an “amusement park for the senses.” Though many people are anticipating a new version of the Roaring 20s, Fisher said that is much too simplistic to describe what is coming.
“Release is so much more multifaceted than that,” he said, adding that this level of “disruptive” joy and “unapologetic moments of happiness” is bound to add a “skip to our step” and strip away the gatekeepers. “This is not exactly a design aesthetic for a wallflower,” he said.
Spritz, a refreshing juicy orange, is the new hot pink. A must-have color for knitwear, summer shirting, sandals, nail polish and more, the key color works on its own and as an accent, Spradlin said. The color is part of a palette whose main job is to ignite happiness and smiles, including punchy purple, cactus green, gulf blue and electric shock yellow.
Quirky versions of primary shapes for accessories make up the new “ugly chic” trend, while sequins and beading add a playful yet glam vibe. Here, consumers are encouraged to mix high and low and wear what feels right in the moment. “Why not wear your sequins and ball gown to the bodega,” she said.
This rebellious approach to fashion is evident in a new wave of varsity-inspired aesthetics and collegiate emblems that reflect hobbies and values rather than alma maters. The idea was inspired by a Gen Z desire to reclaim the look of historically elitist colleges and sports that require participants to belong to a club and making it more accessible and enjoyable.
For materials, Fashion Snoops director of materials Nia Silva said it’s all about surface textures and constructions that collide into a fun party. Multi-color, layered dye effects, gauzy transparent fabrics, high-stretch materials and soft structures are key.
Y2K flower prints that are loopy, illustrated and playful smack of ’90s nostalgia, but Gentner said they are modernized with blurred edges. The season’s take on graffiti takes a similar fuzzy approach with digitized elements and freehand strokes of color.
Colorful stripes take on a painterly look with wavy and straight lines. “The way these colors bend and swerve really gives a sense of movement and artistic release throughout their printed style, which is a great way to introduce stripes with refreshed and recharged energy,” she said.
Nature was a refuge to many during the quarantine; the crisis also presented an opportunity for many to slow down, reassess and question who they are. “Not only are we fascinated and watching nature grow, but we’re committed to our own personal growth,” Berelovich said.
The theme Grow sits at that intersection of nature and wellness. “We want to continue becoming better people, and in turn, become better organizations. We all want to improve our relationships with others. We also want to be kinder to ourselves and kinder to the earth,” Xaykao said. The theme is also connected to food and water, particularity how fragile these systems are. Harnessing the environment’s benefits while prioritizing sustainability and equity will be a key focus going forward.
From a product perspective, Fisher said Grow is a preview of where the luxury category is heading. A chromatic collision of botanicals and flower blooms and delicate structures are reminders that fragility is not a sign of weakness. “It’s actually a sign of allure and artistry,” he said.
“Things are going to grow, but they’re going to grow at their own pace. And that’s what we really have to understand from this aesthetic,” Fisher added.
A bouquet of lush, organic hues that represent “sweet vitality” lives here, including glade, waterfall, and watermark green. “They are all a nod to this perennial cycle of life while more zesty colors inject a citrus fizz into an otherwise tranquil cocktail of hues,” he said. Graceful pinks and peaches mimic the color of soft flower petals, while Serandite serves as a colorful neutral that is ideal for light fabrics like silk chiffon and crepes.
Trims inspired by ocean treasures like freshwater pearls and sequins made from recycled algae added enhance the theme’s ethereal aesthetic. Oversized blossoms that serve as ruffles and petals that double as earrings add to the romance. Picnic core, the next evolution of cottagecore, calls for wholesome patterns like delicate flowers against soft, milky backgrounds.
Whereas bold patterns add to the wow-factor of Release, patterns for Grow are all about promoting tranquility.
Sprouted camo, inspired by organically occurring patterns, marks a move away from the “outdated associations of combat and war and instead bring it back to its original printed purpose of living amongst nature,” Gentner said. Silky fabrics and sheen elevate the prints and makes it more approachable.
Pearlescent dye effects, like metallic-coated ombre, have a similar effect. “We love how there seems to be a sense of motion through light refraction patterns, and these wave churning swirls and marbles,” she said. “It’s really driving forward that ocean-soaked energy that we crave this season and every season.”