Color is a high priority for designers and product developers, so much so that Fashion Snoops owner Lilly Berelovich said clients are requesting information on next season’s colors earlier each season. “Color, for us, is an overarching strategy,” she said. “So many layers need to be spoken to and taken care of—so many pieces need to fit into the puzzle.”
The trend forecasting firm’s Spring/Summer 2024 “color shifts” factor in a myriad of influences spanning material innovation and ingredients to moments in pop culture. The shifts also reflect prior color trends and where brands can take them next.
“We wanted to offer a shift that allows us to be as bold and expressive as we can be, to actually be felt when we enter the room, to push emotions with lush bold shades and be brave and confident in how we show up in life,” Berelovich said.
Described as an awakening after a dormant period, the colors featured in Heat Wave “make us feel alive” with “intensity and an explosion of energy” while nodding to nature without being obvious, she said. “One of the things we considered is that we know that extreme weather patterns are coming our way; things we’ve never seen or experienced before. Some of it will be quite brutal and some of it will probably be incredible,” Berelovich said.
The five colors in Heat Wave center on how these weather patterns may affect the shades of a sunrise or sunset. Their vibrancy is made even more impactful by deep saturation. “Heat wave represents a movement towards deeply intense, nature-driven brights that could almost be classified as amped-up jewel tones,” said Hallie Spradlin, Fashion Snoops director of accessories.
Sumo Citrus is inspired by the juiciness of the orange fruit and by a summer sunset. Searing, a pink-tinted red, veers toward neon. Pulp is a “super saturated yellow” that shies away from traditional sunny yellows, “but it’s no less impactful,” Hallie said. Beetroot, a berry shade that sprang up in S/S ’23, alludes to an overall shift from pink to purple. Though pinks are taking a step back in intensity, Pulse pink provides an eye-catching alternative to the neon versions that brands like Valentino are betting on for 2022. Pressure, a cobalt blue, has a hint of purple.
With nature serving as a strong source of inspiration, Jenna Guarascio, Fashion Snoops content strategy VP, pointed out that the colors are a natural pairing for sustainable materials like micro algae for biodegradable packaging, or plant waste for faux leathers. They also lend themselves to performance materials like vivid biobased shells and supersaturated canvas.
The colors also speak to the vacation aesthetic bubbling up across product categories. Guarascio said the aesthetic serves as a “vehicle of emotional support as consumers crave a reprieve from their day-to-day hardships.” As a result, Heat Wave emerges as uplifting escapism injecting vitality into high summer assortments and travel products.
“We encourage looking to pattern and graphics [and] really considering those intense dye effects and dreamy photo reel and hyper energized florals,” she added.
“We believe in indigo,” Berelovich said. “We believe in the return of denim stronger than ever before.” Spradlin added that the cultural zeitgeist has reaffirmed artisanal practices like indigo dyeing.
Natural Process speaks to the importance of neutral blues and nurturing browns, Guarascio said. As green takes a step back in Spring/Summer 2024, a wave of blue begins to wash over products. The blue colors Stillwater and Undercurrent are slightly muted without losing their saturated impact. Indigo offers an organic, sophisticated richness for a broad range of product categories and markets. Deeply saturated neutrals round out the color shift, including Maple Rock, a warm-tinted brown, purple-ish Shiso and Mussel, a soft update to black.
Deeper than traditional spring/summer colors, the shades in Natural Process are tried and true and can be worn again every season. Berelovich added that they have “romance and confidence in simplicity” and tell a poetic story despite being core.
The colors also lend themselves to craft work, which Guarascio said is becoming an outlet for both control and creativity. Denim is key, but she urged designers to look at new offerings like hemp yarn blends and raw organic slubs. Natural dyes extracted from various plants and roots can also live here.
“We definitely see the continuation of the importance of craft and the maker, and this came through in the story by making soulful objects that matter—ones that will last and become heirlooms forever,” Berelovich said.
What’s more comforting that fresh buttery bread? Emotional support neutrals.
“When we did our color pitch meetings, many team members brought visuals of bread, croissants and baguettes, and I have to say that every time a picture of one of those showed up on the screen it was some version of an exhale, energetically for me and I know many others,” Berelovich said.
The color shift with Baked Goods taps into this sense of familiarity by providing comforting and wholesome qualities that feel like home. It is also decidedly warm without a single shade of heavy brown, which has emerged as a key color for Gen Z in recent seasons. Instead, Spradlin said the range of tonal neutrals includes “sun-filtered” cream and taupe that “elevate forward.”
Dough, a warm ivory, has a supple hand. Grain is a rich, buttery, yellow-tinted neutral. The colors Toast and Croissant are two literal hues inspired by bread that Spradlin said have a sensorial appeal because they can evoke memories and scents. French Vanilla, a pale yellow, adds softness. Praline, a pink-tinted mauve update, rounds out the shift toward “dynamic and nourishing” neutrals.
Though the colors are not handpicked to form a palette, Guarascio said Baked Goods is a unique shift because they combine to act as a kind of warm hug. Soft and buttery materials are key to invite touch, as well as supple leathers, cotton-y knits and linen weaves.