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WGSN Unveils Spring/Summer 2020 Men’s Fashion Trends at Project New York

The Spring/Summer 2020 men’s buying season is shaping up to be one inspired by contradictions. Tailoring is slouchy. Streetwear is refined. And the basic white T-shirt is the new investment piece.

WGSN youth fashion editor Marian Park described the key menswear trends for the season at Project New York Sunday, where the brands—from pure denim player label Mavi, athleisure stalwart Champion and traditionalists like Barbour—were as diverse as the trends for the season.

The continued breakdown of silos across menswear, Park said, is helping to create clothing that “straddles smart and casual, making versatility and value of upmost importance to the consumer.” For brands, she added that it is important to demonstrate through products either an element of newness in perennial items, or an extended longevity as an incentive to buy.

Here’s a look at WGSN’s key men’s prints, colors and products for S/S 2020.

Color guard

Color is emotional and triggers purchases. For S/S 2020, Park says the men’s palette evolves beyond millennial pink and fluorescent green. Artificial green, she said, shifts toward a botanical garden green that works well with heritage-inspired looks with a “tropical twist.” This range of lush green is also ideal for garments with a raw or unfinished appearance or organic textures. And as pink is established as a core color for menswear, Park said a richer “heated pink” is coming into prominence for the new season. The color works especially well for cut-and-sew tops as an “easygoing addition for laid back denim looks.”

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Craig Green
Botanical green by Craig Green WWD/Shutterstock

Overall, the palette is light and bright. Park said “optimistic yellow” can be used to “pep up” summer utility jackets. Meanwhile, lilac is emerging as a complementary color to denim blues, yellow and tobacco. For S/S 19, the number of lilac garments sold by luxury retailers increased 30 percent, Park said, indicating that the trend is just warming up. “The color is a useful option instead of light blue or mint for when those feel overused as well,” she added.

Print report

From catwalks to street style, tie-dye is flexing its strength for S/S 19 and the print will remain strong as it continues to “evolve in its execution,” Park said. “All over random prints have an abstract feel, while more placed designs should also be considered.” Tie-dye, she noted, is also a good place for brands to explore sustainable dye ingredients that add a strong selling point.

Dye effects by Kenzo PIXELFORMULA/SIPA/Shutterstock

Painterly prints are an alternative for brands and retailers that have already dived deep into tie-dye. “The importance of this is look is reinforced by our S/S 19 catwalk analytics which show that painterly prints increased by 60 percent year-over-year across all apparel,” Park said.

Checks are mainstay in men’s fashion. However, for S/S 2020 Park says the importance of the print is amplified by the growing prep trend, particularly colorful table cloth checks. And don’t forget about the tropics. Leaf, floral and animal motifs move to a more stylized or painterly execution, Park described.

Key products

While the trend for nostalgic fashion begins to wane, retro relaxed fit jeans show no signs of slowing down. The look, which Park said “echoes the ’80s and ’90s,” is rooted in red cast denim with stonewashed effects. “Ensure a generous cut across the hip and seat,” Park said. “And a slightly tapered leg for comfort and wearability.”

The number of cargo pants in market for S/S 2019 increased 25 percent year-over-year, Park reported. And the item is picking up traction for next spring, mainly as it aligns with several overarching themes influencing men’s fashion. “[The cargo pant] can be appropriated in a minimalistic way with premium structured materials, or as a fashion statement with bold pockets and volume,” according to Park.

Light and practical outerwear is on the upswing. The summer trench keys into the minimalism trend and intrigue into soft tailoring. While checks and pop colors can update the garment, Park said it is important to maintain its signature waterproof properties. The boxy jacket is considered to be a viable alternative to streetwear’s bomber jacket. The simple and practical shape, Park added, is easy to style for casual looks.

Paul Smith
Boxy jacket by Paul Smith PIXELFORMULA/SIPA/Shutterstock

The anorak also continues to have commercial success, as consumers understand it as a practical and stylish investment. The piece can look formal with traditional checks, or festival-ready in semi-sheer fabrication. Here, Park noted, brands have an opportunity to tell a sustainable story through the use of recycled polyester.

David Catalan
Check anorak by
David Catalan

The resort shirt is shaping up to be a must-have top, Park said, for its relaxed silhouette. The shirt takes to patterns well, or looks sharp with color contrasting piping. High shine cellulosic woven elevate the basic T-shirt. Or, Park says to “utilize heavyweight jerseys in neutrals” to keep a more structured silhouette. The volume T-Shirt with boxy sleeves also lives on, thanks in part to its ability to work alongside other “generously cut” items like relaxed jeans. Polos and rugby shirts are also important, Park said, serving as a baseline for the emerging prep trend.

Finally, with tailoring beginning to make a comeback, Park said retailers should expect to see young consumers warm up to the idea of summer occasion wear, especially styles designed for a casual end use. “This is resulting in a relaxed approach to structure with slouchier leg and blazer options,” she explained.