The current climate responsible for firing up social media-driven fashion cores in the name of escapism and simultaneously igniting a return to classic core styles is also shaping Fall/Winter 2023-2024 denim trends, according to Denim Dudes.
Denim Dudes founder Amy Leverton and Shannon Reddy, a designer and trend forecaster, presented their trend forecast on the first day of Kingpins Amsterdam Wednesday, supported by a selection of exhibitor-made examples. Though the four themes represent different pandemic mindsets, they share common interests in comforting silhouettes, loose fits and sustainability woven naturally into design.
Here’s a closer look at Denim Dudes’ F/W 23-24 forecast.
The pandemic encouraged a softer way of living that is filtering into the way garments are being made.
Inspired by small batch companies like Story Mfg and Ulla Johnson, which paved the way for slow fashion, Leverton said Softly focuses on essential pieces, or items that consumers buy only because they need them.
Cocoon-like comfort, oversized silhouettes, duster-length coats and shirts and jeans and jackets with timeless utility details like deep pockets live here. Untreated fabrics—either unbleached or undyed—mean their natural character becomes a focal point. Hand embroidery, natural tints, faded shibori and marbled pastel effects speak to the theme’s slow fashion inspiration.
The spotlight is also shifting to authentic storytelling and brands with manifestos.
“Brands are giving raw materials more consideration,” Reddy said. For example, hemp and linen were previously saved for spring/summer collection but the fibers’ sustainable benefits are making them popular for year-round use.
True indigos and soft neutrals like terracotta, brown and shades of green underscore Softly’s earthiness, while indigo vat dyeing is bound to appeal to denim heads, Leverton said.
The most optimistic of Denim Dudes’ themes, Wonderment taps into mood-enhancing fashion and upbeat escapism. Here, fashion can fill a void left by the pandemic.
With a saturated color palette of blues and bright yellows and pinks, Wonderment breaks traditional fall color stories and promotes joyful color blocking and bold monochromatic styling like Valentino’s recent ode to bright pink.
Jeans and jackets with “pumped up” volume, softened workwear and preppy items like varsity jackets add to the theme’s playfulness. Cartoon-like deconstruction, quirky jacquards, trompe l’oeil laser prints and conversational prints speak to the trend’s overall youthful theme.
Extreme washes, gradient washes with synthetic colors and shiny surfaces add visual interest, while denim fur and velvet add a plush tactile element to jeans.
A lot of niche aesthetics are bubbling up on TikTok including goblincore, a subculture centered on folklore, craft and nature. Goblincore’s off-the-grid style inspires The Outsider, a F/W 23-24 trend story that keys into young crafters’ desire to blend traditional mending techniques with streetwear.
This psychedelic-friendly trend, Leverton said, calls for hippie staples like printed fleece and layered knits. Dad-inspired oversized waterproof jackets coupled with ’90s skate staples like tees with extra-long sleeves and wide jeans make the look feel curated and intentional.
Army surplus, repurposed fabrics and mismatched layers lean into the ’90s festival garb. Butterfly and mushroom motifs and eccentric quilting make it feel fresh.
Sun-bleached washes offer a new take on worn-in denim, while a nature-inspired color story spanning green-cast indigos, practical military colors, pops of yellow and magenta ties it all together.
For young generations, Leverton said the pandemic birthed a moment that feels like both a technology revolution and a dystopian society that lacks trust in social structures and labels optimism as uncool.
In Simulacrum, real life and digital converge to create an aesthetic grounded in giant silhouettes that feel protective with the subversive styling of The Matrix.
Biker jackets and jeans with exoskeletons that double as armor collide with the body-accentuating designs inspired by Mugler. Influences from the late ’90s, like low rises and miniskirts, return in a more elevated way, Leverton said.
Monochromatic muted hues and washed out ’80s indigo are juxtaposed with synthetic “computer screen” colors. Laser and digital prints mimic the look of online designs, and upcycled fashion veers toward post-apocalyptic style.