For the consumer mindset, the rollercoaster ride that is 2020 may provide enough glass-shattering highs and the steepest of lows for several years to come. As a result, experts forecast that purchases will be considered and driven by emotional factors such as color that has the ability to uplift and provide a comforting sense of warmth and protection.
Soothing yet conservative evergreen colors make up global trend forecasting agency WGSN’s forecast for Fall/Winter 22-23. The five-color forecast, created in partnership with universal color system Coloro, provide a foundation for fashion, design, beauty and lifestyle industries as they re-evaluate and pivot in new ways to meet customers’ changing needs—particularly the demand for greater sustainability and peace of mind.
In the long term, fashion may be one of the industries most impacted by these new priorities. The pandemic flashed a spotlight on the industry’s waste problem and the rapid pace at which it introduces and expunges new trends and collections. “Fashion industry experts in particular are debating the rationale behind showing seasonally, and this is accelerating a move to a season-less approach,” said Jenny Clark, WGSN head of color.
In the forecast, WGSN and Coloro tout color as a key ingredient in sustainable design. Using timeless colors is an easy way that designers can build longevity into their garments and collections and promote sustainable purchases. “As we focus more on design for longevity, we have chosen colors that will be cherished for the long term, and not just a season,” said Joanne Thomas, Coloro head of content.
The crisis led consumers to re-evaluate their own closets and how they contribute to mounting textile waste. It also instigated a renewed interest in neutrals, or colors that have the ability to bring a sense of calm to consumers’ at-home wardrobes. The last six months has seen a sharp rise in sales for neutral color basics, despite the bold and colorful stories told on the S/S ’21 runway.
“Consumers will be seeking joy and reassurance in challenging times, and this will impact the colors they buy and how long they are attached to them for,” WGSN stated.
The F/W 22-23 color forecast bridges the demand for sustainable and feel-good fashion by centering on colors with timeless appeal.
The key green for the season is Jade, a mid-tone showing that steps away from the artificial minty hues that will filter in for F/W 21-22. “It’s a very grounding color,” Clark said, adding that WGSN anticipates consumers will be looking for soft and nourishing colors. “We’re really aware that mental wellness is going to be a big topic in the future, so this color is [tapping into that calming relaxed mood.]”
Jade is flanked by the yellow-tinted Olive Oil and Dark Cedar with a bluish undertone.
Lazuli Blue, a saturated cobalt blue, signals a shift away from the cyan shades on deck for F/W 21-22. The rich color, Clark said, “connects the past and the future.” The concept was derived from Lapis Lazuli and how the metamorphic rock was once used as a pigment, as well as how the color is being used in futuristic digital spaces and in immersive experiences, she added.
Honeycomb, a rich, warm yellow, introduces a summery glow to the palette. “We like this because it feels kind of very counter seasonal [and is] very relevant for our Southern hemisphere clients,” Clark said.
Though yellow will be less relevant in F/W 21-22, the color will be robust for F/W 22-23 as it becomes desaturated and more golden. Honeycomb also pairs nicely with overtones and browns, including Dark Oak, the season’s key shade of brown.
Described as rich with a grounding quality, Clark described Dark Oak as an alternative to black. “We feel that in the current climate and going through into [F/W 22-23], these [type] of richer, darker [and] more reassuring tones are going to be very important,” Clark said. “It’s a great color that can be used in the home and it can be worn.”
Dark Oak is accompanied by the neutral Wild Mushroom and more copper- and gold-tinted shades of browns.
WGSN’s color of the year for 2022, Orchid Flower, rounds out the forecast. Pink, in general, will continue to be a key color group. Beetroot speaks to the demand for foundational colors, while Sweet Coral indicates the return of warm mid-tone pinks. Orchid Flower, however, is energetic, vibrant, positive and optimistic—qualities that Clark said will be important in 2022.