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Consumer Trends: What Shoppers Want for Fall ‘16

Technology has played into all things consumers do, blurring the lines between virtual and reality, between stores and e-commerce and ultimately leaving many seeking calm after all the connectedness.

At Premiere Vision New York last week, Trendstop’s Jaana Jatyri presented consumer trends and a color, print and material forecast for the Fall 2016.

Tomorrow’s consumer has tapped into three major trends: gender blur, virtual presence and slow life.

The line distinguishing garb for girls and guys has been going fuzzy for some time, but according to Jatyri, the gender blur concept, “Feels like it’s continuing and we’re seeing more and more people take on this trend.”

Selfridges recently tested Agender, a pop-up culled from the store’s existing asexual fashion, accessories and beauty items and plopped center stage with unisex dressing rooms.

In describing the concept space, Selfridges says it’s “an environment in which you are given the freedom to transcend notions of ‘his’ and ‘hers,’ as you simply find your most desired item by color, fit and style.”

And as Jatyri noted, “It was a huge success.”

At Men’s Fashion Week this month, male models strutted in blouses and even Mary Janes. “We’re really seeing that feminine touch,” Jatyri said. Gucci is also going genderless, casting men and women in masculine and feminine rolls, and DKNY featured female model Cara Delevingne in a menswear campaign early this year.

Virtual Presence is another consumer trend the forecasters have picked up on—and brands are finding ways to be omnipresent to suit.

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Ikea Wedding, for example, attempts to create the virtual version of the perfect wedding, while tech company Frolic’s literal Omni Present lets a user place a gift in a box, which once opened, dials the sender’s cell phone so they can share the experience of opening it with the receiver. Catstacam, a campaign concept by cat food brand Whiskas, even lets felines sport a collar-camera that shoots auto photos and posts them to Instagram.

But all that tech is making consumers take a step back, a trend Jatyri calls Slow Life.

“We’re making the decision to have a slower pace of life,” she said. “We’re getting away from our digital devices and really taking time for ourselves.”

The Quiet Place Project online prompts users to silence their devices and computers for a few minutes of undisturbed peace while it sends out therapeutic messages. After the Apple Watch debut, the UK’s Dezeen Watch Store ran a “Buy a normal watch” campaign making claims like: “Never needs recharging. Buy a normal watch.” And “Your mum can’t call you on it. Buy a normal watch.”

In Japan, a Turtle Taxi promises to drive passengers who aren’t in a hurry to their destinations as slowly as possible, and Deep by Owen LL Harris is a meditative and psychoactive virtual reality game that’s played based on the user’s breath patterns.

The hues that color these trends are about new utility, like deep olive, khaki brown, ever green, autumn sage, artichoke and deep forest green—all with dark, almost stormy aspects.

Deep olive has been rampant on the catwalks, according to Jatyri, and it’s being applied in a much more sensual, luxurious way than seasons past. The color is teaming up with off white and paired with charcoal greys and ink blues—as “Ink is the new blue,” Jatyri said. “It’s got an extra depth.”

Apricots and tonal beiges are also sprinkling the scene and black contrasts the sandy tones.

Midnight aubergine, a rich almost maroon is being worn alongside the inks as well as black onyx. “All have a molten lava feel, a very juicy kind of liquid appearance to the tone.”

Also, using bright colors in outerwear is “a really big trend that’s coming through for the winter,” Jatyri said. “It’s that fashion piece, that thing that’s going to highlight their wardrobe.

Prints for the season have started to imitate fabrics.

“Here we’re looking at urban minerals, cracked walls, that eroded quality coming from prints,” Jatyri said. A brick wall feel brings out the look of textured fabrics, and cracked imperfections will also be present.

Patterns will look cut up, but wild prints like chaotic paisleys will be paneled within solid color constraints for a sort of organized chaos.

In menswear you’ll see speckled and dotted looks that are more organized and ombre effects on knitwear rather than wovens. Rock formations and marble will be present as will organic color blocking, body contouring following the feminine figure and looks that are more organic and breathable, less geometric.

Materials will air on the side of plush and comfort.

“Prints are starting to be influenced by upholstery patterns, more dense,” Jatyri said. “There’s a lot of velvet coming through and a lot of that tactile luxury.”

In interiors, luxuriousness is taken on in small areas while the rest of the room is left more contemporary.

Suedette—which from far could look like a marled fabric—will also make an appearance, adding a new sensuality to what a basic fabric should be.

Quiet comfort, according to Jatyri is the idea of something you really want to get wrapped up in, and it’s something shoppers will want.

“It’s that very ethereal kind of lightweight feeling and it’s coming through in knitwear,” Jatyri said.

Knits will be more open, mohair’s will be more rustic and wiry, and layers will be more apparent as will sweater-like pants that tap into the increasingly trendy lounge-look.