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Animal Print and Animal Rights Lead Fall 2019 Women’s Wear Trends

Fashion will experience a revival in fall of 2019.

That’s at least according to Kelly Helfman, president of WWDMAGIC, who credited eye-catching new trends and steps toward sustainability as the reasons for the uptick in consumer interest.

“Consciousness” was a word on Helfman’s tongue often as she explained how brands are moving toward vegan, cruelty-free materials in lieu of leathers and furs. Some of the season’s trends will be more grounded in aesthetics, she admitted. A resurgence of animal prints and military or “utility” styling will also dominate apparel this fall.

“We felt a little decline in the fashion industry last year, and now the excitement is rebuilding,” Helfman said. Here are the fall season’s most prominent trends, as seen from brands exhibiting at the MAGIC trade show in Las Vegas last month.

Vegan furs and skins

Vegan furs, leathers, shearlings and wools will take the top spot in trends this fall season, according to Helfman. The focus on cruelty-free options is helping to “open up the conversation about sustainability in fashion.” Today’s materials are softer and more convincing than ever, she vowed.

Vegan fur and leather options at MAGIC ranged in color, too, as brands favored bright hues not often found in the animal kingdom, like mustards and corals. Patterns and color-blocking were also on display.

“Gen Z and millennials have a vested interest in the brands they’re wearing,” Helfman said. “They really do care about the materials in their clothing. The upside [to vegan] is that it’s a little less expensive, as well.”

Wide-leg trousers

Skinny jeans are out and billowy, wide-leg trousers are in. At MAGIC, cropped and full-length versions of the silhouette ranged in color from neutrals to brights. Pleats or darts added to the look’s ‘70s retro vibe.

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For workwear, fall’s wide-leg trouser will feature sleek, column-like tailoring. Casual versions of the trend will be crafted in small-wale corduroy and denim for more boho appeal.

Animal prints

“It’s not just leopard or snake—it’s everything,” Helfman said. “It’s a trend that doesn’t go away, but now it’s everywhere.”

This fall season’s take on exotic animal prints incorporates bright colors and unexpected textures. Often, multiple prints merge into a single garment for a patchwork effect.

“Instead of just organic browns, we layered those natural colors with spices, burgundies and citrons,” said Alex Birenbaum, account manager for RD Style. Bringing together a “combination of materials” like soft, fuzzy yarns and more silky weaves helped create texture, she explained. “We were looking to enrich the trend with more dimension and depth this season” Birenbaum added.

Military or utility styling

Military-inspired styling, particularly camo, has always had a place at retail. But this fall it’s “continuing forward in a very big way,” said Jordan Tsabag, VP of sales for Velvet Heart.

The fall season’s iteration of the trend will feature oversized denim or canvas jackets and cropped styles, many with large cargo pockets. Cargo pants, jumpsuits and military boots will also be prevalent. “It’s a very casual and chic way to do a uniform,” Tsabag added, insisting that this year’s military trend will be about the head-to-toe look.

Mini bags

“I think people are always trying to free up space in life, and it all starts with the hands and shoulders,” said Sherwin Arastoozad of the fall season’s trend toward ultra-tiny bags.

The designer behind LA-based Cut N’ Paste Bags maintained that the smaller styles are actually “very practical.” Credit card and media pockets help to “organize and maximize spacing,” he added.

With just enough room for the absolute essentials like a phone, keys and lip balm, there’s certainly not an inch of wasted space or added weight.