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Artisanal Craftsmanship Takes Center Stage in This Fall/Winter 20-21 Trend

The benefits of globalization are ceaseless, but in the process of building a more connected world, fashion is losing its local flavor. This desire to reconnect with our roots—be it through at-home DNA testing or handicraft fashion accessories—inspires Fashion Snoops’ Fall/Winter 20-21 trend story, “Human Level.”

The trend forecasting firmed shared how an increase appreciation for artisan and craft culture and products that connect consumers to their heritage is on the way at its Trend Immersion Day in New York City last week.

Efforts to remove distractions in our lives and embrace a slower lifestyle is allowing people to focus on mind and soul, said Fashion Snoops co-founder and president Lilly Berelovich. “We’re exploring what it means to be human in a digital age and think with our hearts,” she said. “Emotional intelligence is what we’re after.”

Handmade products, quirky design that sparks joy and functional luxury, or as Berelovich described “considerate details that add value to minimal aesthetics,” are part of this shift. The renewed spotlight on handmade products is also revealing how the fashion and accessories sectors are losing talent, instigating companies like Fendi and Mulberry to instill apprenticeship programs so artisanal traditions are not extinct.

Human Level ushers in a long-awaited alternative to gray called Mushroom, a brown-casted neutral that Berelovich says “warms up the sense” and resonates with brands chasing clean sophistication or rich decadence in their designs. The color is also connected to the psychedelic and healing powers of mushrooms, the plant. Overall, Berelovich says the F/W 20-21 calls for shades of brown. Paired with gold, she says its, “Earth with a touch of glamor.” Chalky, milky, stripped-down colors like off-white and washed out beige are also important.

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These colors serve as a base to burnt orange, pale mint green, cardinal red, curry yellow and rose pink. The whimsical pops of color bring “lush mystical energy” to the trend story.

The term “heritage” is due for a comeback, too, said Michael Fisher, Fashion Snoops vice president of men’s wear. However, heritage designs must return in contemporary ways with enhanced tech or function. While Human Level designs are minimalistic because very detail serves a purpose, he said there is also a feeling of time-worn character. Raw charm, he called it, brings a sense of ease and comfort.

Folkloric details bring eclecticism and modesty to the story. Patchwork plaids are updated with a cut-and-paste look, tarnished patterns with speckled deterioration are organic alternatives to marbling and florals with a natural look, Fisher said. Mohair, heavy-weight twills and corduroys, winterized cotton with water resistant coatings and the smooth suede surfaces that mimic the feeling of mushrooms are important fabrications.

Norway is a reference point for women’s wear in this trend, said Melissa Moylan, Fashion Snoops VP of creative for women’s wear. Voluminous shapes like high-waist gaucho pants with full or tapered legs, wrap coats made with mixed materials and kimono-style cardigans feel new. Jackets inspired by velvet robes and lounge suits add a luxury feeling.

For men, bomber jackets are updated with tweed fabrications, woolen hoodies are outfitted with thumb holes for comfort and items like tailored pull-on pants and cocoon shaped overcoats add comfort. Head-to-toe knits, an earthy color palette and fisherman-inspired utility details give children’s wear designers plenty of novelties to experiment with.

Craftsmanship really takes shape in accessories. Woolen plaids and knits are reimagined for headwear and are applied to outdoor-inspired items like wooden clogs, hiker boots and backpacks. Footwear also continues to reference cowboy boot shapes. Natural stones like amber and lapis and leather rope are go-to elements for jewelry. Structured bags like oversized totes are embellished with just single tortoise shell buckle or simple side stripes.