Spring/Summer 2024 denim trends have a split personality, according to Denim Dudes founder Amy Leverton and trend forecaster Shannon Reddy.
One side is simpler with quiet designs—a sartorial palate cleanser for consumers feeling burnt out and bummed out about the state of the world. The other is more complex, embellished and colorful—a hedonistic outburst after years of pandemic-related rules and regulations.
No matter which side of the coin brands land on, there is a deep well of inspiration and references designers can scour for their collections. At Kingpins Amsterdam, the duo presented four themes that represent these dualling perspectives. With trends no longer filtered through traditional gatekeepers like editors, celebrities, or department store buyers, Leverton said new fashion bubbling up on the streets and social media is going straight to consumers unedited. Consumers are simultaneously exploring “more proactive solutions” like environmental activism, cultural credibility, authenticity and integrity.
Here’s a look at the four trends to know for Spring/Summer 2024.
Moving away from the noughties, X-S reframes nostalgia for the early internet years for new inclusive generations rather than simply replicating it.
Escapism and the return of nightlife is driving this maximalist trend, Leverton said, noting that Levi’s summed up this look in its recent collaboration with Ambush. Colors are bright, poppy and synthetic, while indigo hues are dark with a green or yellow tint. Rises are low and revealing. Double denim is elevated through unconventional silhouettes. Garments are pierced with charms or airbrushed with loud colors.
“Dressing after times of crisis is heavily reflected on the runway with all of these attention-grabbing looks,” Reddy said.
“You have to be the noise,” Leverton added.
X-S also has a strong gender-free undertone. Though gender-neutral ranges have been around for a while, Leverton said the styles were cliché and tomboy. “It was just women wearing men’s jeans,” she said. “What’s really exciting in the latest shift and iteration of gender neutrality is that men are more comfortable—thanks to people like Harry Styles—to wear feminine garments. The feminine look is, for the first time in history, being heralded which is amazing.”
“Gender-fluid fashion has evolved much beyond simply unisex garments,” Reddy added. “So more than anything, it’s about the freedom to be able to choose and wear whatever you want, and not get stuck in the binary of society standards.”
If X-S is about having fun and living life without worries, Burned Out is for realists. The trend is a dark, rebellious reaction to the current dark mood of the times and ideologies, Reddy said. Or in other words, “a little emo,” she added.
Burned Out’s dark summer palette of inky blues, grays, faded black and overdyed surfaces reflect the psyche of uncertainty and the kind of hopelessness that people are feeling right now, Leverton said.
Column silhouettes, languid layering and corsetry adds subtle sexiness. Remade and upcycled styles are more purposeful and less ragged. Skewed seams take on a more elevated look, while intricate surface designs almost disguise the denim base.
In general, Leverton said the theme calls for “overworked surfaces” that add a smokey, dirty and disheveled look to classic denim.
The Last Tourist
Taking its name from a recent documentary exploring tourism’s effect on the environment and communities, The Last Tourist theme arrives at time when wanderlust is back in full force.
Though it’s a fun and playful aesthetic, the theme is backed by an important message. “After two years of lockdown everyone is very eager to travel, but recent years have forced us to reflect and consider how our travel affects the places and people. Cultural sensitivity and authentic storytelling have led to brands exploring their own heritage,” Reddy said.
“Fashion has always borrowed from other societies, other customs and [designers] reclaim and reframe them through a Western lens,” Leverton added. “So really, this one is talking about celebrating culture and tradition and authenticity from the actual countries where things are being made.”
Warm spicy shades nod to far-flung places as well as the ’70s. Reworked vintage patches, ikat patchwork on paneled workwear and hand-drawn illustrations add a personal vibe to pieces. Stud and crystal embellishments add a touch of resort-friendly glitz.