As varsity motifs, loose fits and skin-revealing cutouts gain momentum in women’s fashion this fall, designers and retailers are already considering their evolution for Fall/Winter 2022. The tell-tale signs already appear, evident in art, pop culture, consumer behavior and other product categories, according to a new Trendalytics report.
Using a proprietary algorithm, the product intelligence company identified five women’s wear themes and trends that are likely to grow over the next year. While the pandemic continues to weigh on creativity and manufacturing, and reinforce demand for practicality and versatility, macrotrends are shifting the winds.
Here’s a closer look at what’s in store for women’s fashion.
The self-expression and brazen attitude coined by designers like Vivienne Westwood in the ’80s are the backbone to this glam-rock revival. Rebellious with an “anything goes aesthetic,” Trendalytics points to Marc Jacob’s Gen Z-oriented brand, Heaven by Marc Jacobs, and to TikTok as key drivers.
“Emo challenges and trends that use music from MySpace-era icons are going viral on TikTok, e-boy and alt fashion aesthetics are becoming favorites among tastemakers, and the edgy wolf cut is gaining mass popularity,” Trendalytics stated.
What that means for fashion is a demand for “indestructible” fabrics like leather and denim, and mesh to elevate the tough looks. Nearly black plum, gold and red represents today’s “anti-aspirational counterculture.”
Low-rise baggy jeans, lug-sole boots and tartan dresses are key items, but designers like Ashley Williams and Valentino have already showed the trend’s breadth. Williams’ quirky sweaters and bow-embellished skirts speak to the trend’s sense of freedom, while Valentino’s sheer dresses are both beautiful and daring.
As the billionaire-funded space race bleeds into tourism and climate-change concerns grow, designers are turning to otherworldly landscapes for inspiration.
The result, Trendalytics describes, is a futuristic take on minimalism that prioritizes utilitarian design, protective materials, and sustainable solutions. Soft and earthy neutrals like cream, terracotta, clay and “earthly greens” like olive combine with fabrics such as cottonized hemp, UPF fabric and metafabric, a textile that can heat or cool the wearer.
Form and function are front and center—a look that former Celine creative director Phoebe Philo is anticipated to reinforce with the launch of her namesake label. Key items include woven bags, oversized blazers and plant-based shoes—a category where brands like Allbirds and Reebok have staked a claim.
Styling, however, calls for layering, draping and garments with a safe, cocoon-like shape. Figi Studios, a Vietnamese unisex fashion brand, sums up this aesthetic with artful gatherings down the leg of utility pants, while Acne Studios’ Fall 2021 collection of wrap sweaters, long-line knits and tall boots shows how a monochromatic color palette unites the ideas with sophistication.
With NFTs, anime and “crypto fashion” entering the zeitgeist, designers are opening themselves up to utopian and dystopian ideas, Trendalytics reported. These worlds reinforce the notion that “anything is possible,” while the hyper-saturated colors, futuristic finishes and bold graphics that come with it are pleasing to the eye.
“Tech-infused creations combine electrifying hues in unexpected ways,” Trendalytics stated. “From piercing violet to bright lime and deep Prussian blue, Techtopia’s color palette offers a virtual escape.”
While interest in material innovation has never been greater, the theme relies on spandex, slinky lame and PVC to create the second-skin silhouettes that drive this trend. Lamé dresses, asymmetrical dresses and leggings with cutouts are among the key items.
Balenciaga’s Spring 2021 collection, presented in a video game format, encapsulated this blurred world where futuristic fashion is intended for real-world living.
Where one part of fashion is desperate for a futuristic world, another is seeking a higher consciousness. The rise in popularity of psychedelics and spirituality is forging an edgier version of cottagecore, Trendalytics reported.
The theme is being influenced by a TikTok community interested in forest treasures and fungi, and the gradual legalization of psychedelics. In November 2020, Oregon became the first U.S. state to legalize psychedelic mushrooms for therapeutic use. Meanwhile, searches for spiritual accessories like evil eye bracelets, moon hair clips and clover earrings continue to gain momentum.
Artisanal knits made with colorful yarns are part of this spiritual journey. Mushroom brown is complemented with mystical purple and renewing tangerine. Designer Gabe Gordon exemplifies this magical forest-inspired look with hand-loomed and dyed knits made with yarns discarded by local mills. His inspiration? The natural decay of worn clothing.
Textural fabrics like printed chiffon add a trippy vibe already favored by Gen Z. Colors, prints and textures are brought to life on body-skimming silhouettes like “kaleidoscope” dresses as seen in the latest designer collection at Target, as well as on patterned tights and knit midi dresses.
Pulling style cues from maximalism and normcore, a polished version of nostalgia is on the horizon. The highly stylized sets and costumes from the upcoming Wes Anderson film “The French Dispatch” coupled with a new focus on traditional fall textiles and accessories like Louis Vuitton’s new collection of briefcase style bags are expected to imbue fashion.
“A renewed appreciation for normalcy is transforming the way we dress as maximalist prints, retro silhouettes, and a quirky color palette emerge,” Trendalytics stated.
Plush fabrics like corduroy, cable knits and brushed wool add depth to colorful shades of mauve, mustard and Kelly green. It’s a color palette that Rowing Blazers weaves together in its range of rugby shirts and blazers.
Key items include sweater vests, pleated midi dresses and vintage dresses, but there is a multitude of ways to explore the trend. Calvin Luo’s use of white tights, Zimmermann’s plaid suits and Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini ribbon-adorned blazers and pleated mini-skirts are helping the trend get off to a strong start.