A new sourcing season has begun, and versatility, home comforts and work/life balance remain key drivers in fabric design and innovation.
“They’re still looking at very tactile and soothing materials,” Helen Palmer, WGSN head of materials, knits and textiles, said of consumers entering their third year of living in a global pandemic. “We’re also looking at this idea that garments need to benefit [the wearer] whether they’re staying at home to going outdoors.”
Indeed, designers and brands are charged with the task to not only provide everyday comfort in the fabrics and garments they make, but also provide added value—be it weather protection, antimicrobial properties, sustainability, or durability. In other cases, a fabric that provides a sense of comforting familiarity and nostalgia is enough.
In an Informa Markets Fashion webinar, Palmer described how these factors are influencing Fall/Winter 22-23 and Spring/Summer 2023 apparel sourcing trends and how they fit into three “big ideas” for the season.
Linked to the outdoors and protection, Cabincore underscores the need for fabrics that keep the wearer both warm and cool, as well as modular designs that promote a zero-waste approach.
“This is where performance and technical fabrics need to lean towards natural fibers,” Palmer said.
GRS-certified recycled wools, alpaca wool and mohair, tweeds, boucles and recycled polyamide and nylon live here. Fleece, brushed double-jersey, flannel and bonded and stitched quilting are key fabrics, while patterns cull inspiration from the camping and hiking world.
Traditional patterns like checks, plaids and blanket stripes echo the theme’s cozy factor, but classic herringbone, houndstooth and geometric jacquards elevate it.
In New Prep, Palmer said collegiate styling takes on a more of a joyful tone. “This is where sort of we’re seeing fun and creativity coming in,” she said.
Bolder colors and scales of print are juxtaposed with conventional motifs like collegiate slogans and lettering. Layering keeps the theme fresh and unique to the wearer.
Key fibers include GOTS-certified and BCI cotton, Tencel, cashmere blends, GRS certified recycled cotton and wool. Fabrics like twill and herringbone, houndstooth and puppy tooth and tweed add a scholarly vibe, while flannels, felts and lambswool deliver comfort and softness.
The varsity trend invites opportunities for pattern clashing, and there’s plenty to choose from. Prints span traditional plaids and tartans, Prince of Wales check, rugby stripes, argyle diamonds, pop graphics, insignia, logos and florals.
Pastel brights and playful textures are reshaping how consumers define party wear. Consumers want to wear something “ostentatious and special” to an event but then they want to take it down a notch and wear it casually, Palmer noted.
“We’re going to break occasion wear codes with [garments that have] a more loungy feel,” she said.
Crepe-back satins, pleated chiffon, mohair knits and weaves, taffeta, matte/shine jacquard and dobby weaves are key materials. Designers should look to sustainable fiber alternatives to achieve these materials, like recycled polyester and metallic lurex, FSC certified viscose cellulosics and Tencel.
This emphasis on wearable partywear, however, does not cancel indulgent prints and trims. Damask-style florals, multicolored lace, embroideries, scarf prints and statement trims like colorful feathers are a must.
Colors to know
To help an already strained supply chain and to promote seasonless designs as a sustainable product strategy, Palmer said WGSN created an annual color palette to serve as a foundation to key seasonal colors.
Red Glow, Italian Clay, Honeycomb and Butterscotch provide warmth, while Moss, Jade, Oat Milk and Dark Oak nod to nature. Already washing over men’s Fall/Winter 22-23 collection, Verdigris, a jewel tone green, and Lazuli Blue, a saturated cobalt blue, are optimistic and rich. Zinc brings a futuristic quality.
Fall/Winter 22-23 colors are grounding but luxurious. Key colors span Sweet Coral, Faded Citrus, Satin Brass, Dark Cedar, Pewter and more. With colors like Wild Rose, Fuchsia, Yellow Freesia and Turquoise Sea, Spring/Summer 2023 provides balance and hope.