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Technology and Creativity Clash in This Fall/Winter 20-21 Trend

With the world’s first digital haute couture recently selling for $10,000 at auction and in-game clothes becoming a status symbol among young gamers, it’s safe to say fashion is entering a new realm of digitization.

The relationship between humans and technology was examined at Fashion Snoops’ Fall/Winter 20-21 Trend Immersion Day in New York City Friday. In a macro trend story called “Threshold,” the forecasting agency explored how humans and technology co-exist in a way that benefits designers.

Technology, said Fashion Snoops co-founder and president Lilly Berelovich, serves as catalyst to an explosion of creativity. “Humans are funny creatures. We build these machines, but now we’re upset its taking our jobs away,” she said. “But instead its allowing us to leave behind the tedious jobs so we can focus on what we love.”

Threshold touches on this feeling of weariness. The trend simultaneously acknowledges the need to integrate artificial intelligence into our environments in order to make positive changes, and represents a rebellion against technology directing the ways we live our lives, said Michael Fisher, Fashion Snoops vice president of men’s wear.

And the safety net he described as “millennial blanding” (i.e. pink, sans serif fonts) is over. “This trend adopts a hacker attitude toward design,” he said. “It’s time to reset the system.”

While the palette calls for a fresh dose of creative and tech-y colors like yellow, fuchsia, silver, flat gray and “industrial darks,” the core color is a synthetic green called Circuit. The powerful color encapsulates how “nature is teaching technology and technology is moving nature forward,” Berelovich said, adding that it’s a great pop color for classic neutrals. Circuit also looks lively with metallic finishes, as light effects are important in the overall trend story.

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Metallic surfaces add luster to Threshold’s “sleek, retro super-futuristic aesthetic,” which Fisher also described as having a high level of sci-fi sophistication. Other looks have a grittier, rebellious feel with “downtown decadence” and a subversive twist from underground culture.

For prints, sharp pixilation and “optic breakdowns” are a nod to color blocking, while photo printed designs add a sense of surrealism. Industrial knits add support and compression, and augmented synthetics with a translucent or opaque finish add an ethereal look.

Threshold’s women’s wear trends are defined by strong shapes, unexpected necklines and dramatic cutouts.

“There’s a futuristic sensibility by incorporating color and volume together,” said Melissa Moylan, Fashion Snoops VP of creative for women’s wear. Women’s tailored suiting features wrap and tie details. Dresses are fluid with high shine. Wet looks are key in men’s active wear and outerwear. Coated windbreakers, jackets with weather-resistant properties and holographic puffer coats push the category forward. In men’s tailored fashion, utility is emphasized with angular overcoats with notch lapels and strong shoulders.

High-shine is a must in accessories, be it satins or performance nylons. Metal is used for items beyond jewelry like eyewear and handbags, and darkened metals intensify. Strong lines achieved through contrast seams and panels are used on boots and mules, and toes begin to sharply square off.

Threshold carries into home through environments that mimic the multi-sensory experiences that have been prominent in museums and retail spaces. Otherworldly shapes, pearlized finishes and a mix of shiny and frosted surfaces add a sense of sci-fi luxury.