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This Fall/Winter 20-21 Trend is the Antithesis of Fast Fashion

Adopting sustainable practices as permanent solutions is the crux of Fashion Snoops’ Fall/Winter 20-21 trend story, “Living Laboratory.”

The trend forecasting firm outlined the key fabrics, textures and overall sense of obligation that’s fueling the theme at its Trend Immersion Day in New York City last week.

“We’ve been killing our planet and now we have to think really fast,” said Fashion Snoops co-founder and president Lilly Berelovich.

This urgency to correct humans’ wrongdoings—coupled with a growing demand to live a better quality of life—is sparking investment and intrigue in space travel, new modes of transportation and sustainable infrastructure for cities. For instance, Fashion Snoops reports that homes with solar energy are selling on average 4.1 percent more than regular houses. And in fashion, the focus is on sustainable fibers, upcycling, sharing models and purchases that enhance lives. “People want experiences over things,” Berelovich. said. “Possessions are no longer markets of success. Priorities are changing.”

In Living Laboratory, Fashion Snoops identifies a future that is “as smart as it is sustainable.” Investment pieces that are both valuable and sharable will become the “anti-trend” to fast fashion consumption. Consumers will favor brands that lift the veil to show who is making their clothes, as well as those that use recycled fibers in fashionable, aesthetically-pleasing ways.

Michael Fisher, Fashion Snoops vice president of men’s wear, said it’s no coincidence that millennial “It” brands Madewell and Everlane both introduced puffer coats made with recycled plastic bottles last year. “If you add value to a product, you’re not going to throw it away,” he said.

Denim plays a key role in Living Laboratory, particularly used as insulation. Madewell’s partnership with Blue Jeans Go Green, the denim recycling initiative that converts unwanted jeans into housing insulation for Habitat for Humanity, according to Fisher, is bringing the conversation to the retail floor. “There’s a lot of talk about what insulation means today,” he said.

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Coated denim lives here, too. In men’s wear, Moylan, Fashion Snoops VP of creative for women’s wear, sees dark denim with copper coatings adding a feeling of Mars exploration to the jeans category.

The core color for Living Laboratory, called Déjà vu, takes cues from the denim world. Described as a purposeful, confident, reliable shade of blue, the shade feels new yet familiar, Berelovich said. The steel blue color with gray undertones is a “handsome color” with a sense of intelligence, wisdom and stabilizes other colors. “Déjà vu offers a protective yet mellow intensity,” she said. “It is a great base or backdrop for heritage pieces, while shine and transparency brings it to a new realm.”

Frosted textures, icy luminesce, the juxtaposition of “raw rocky” colors and cooler neutral tones, plus strange color mixing, like blue with browns and yellows interjects optimism in the apocalyptic theme. The colors come together in marbleized swirls that mimic sedimentary layers and mossy textures that offer an organic-inspired way to do camouflage. For a streetwear bent, the strong fonts found on survival kits offer designers a new way to add typography to fashion. Brushed textures, napping techniques and condensed fibers add warmth and coziness to garments with a survivalist aesthetic.

Apparel trends play with volume and form, Moylan said. For women, look for items like cargo trousers with exaggerated pockets, oversized parkas with material mixing and the puffer trench—a hybrid of two popular items—with storm flaps, front button pockets and wide collars. Insulated tights, sweatshirts with creative pocket placements and anorak dresses, which Moylan described as an active wear twist on the shirt dress, come into play.

This emphasis on exaggerated utility is carried into men’s with glossy puffer coats, insulated jackets with funnel necks and survival vests used as backpacks. The trend is softened for kids, which takes a futuristic slant with high shine metallic on everyday pieces, exposed inner-workings like contrast seams and outerwear/backpack hybrids.

Molten metallic is used across accessories, from second-skin ear cuffs to copper and bronze metal on boots and bags. Thoughtful details like rubberized soles, adaptable bag shapes and drawstring closures on footwear add a low-key element of survivalism.