Presenting at Texworld New York City’s virtual winter conference, Kai Chow, creative director at the fashion forecasting and strategies firm, divided the season into four key “stories,” timelessness, vernacular, maximal minimalism and islander.
Sustainable and natural with performance and protection fabrics, fashions within Chow’s first narrative replace trend with timelessness, he said. On the warm and soft side, highlighted items included simple dresses, waffle weave sweaters and polos and lightweight cardigans. But most important of all, Chow said, “is all this casual, sensual knit,” including French terry and terry cloth, as well as modal, Tencel and lyocell. Key colors include vaporous grey, toasted almond, hemp, clay and russet.
On the cooler side, the fabric is technical and functional with colors like lunar rock, cement, stone, glass and steel. Key materials include high performance nylon, recycled polyester and ripstop. Ultra-lightweight parachute cloth, “amazing for head-to-toes layering for all the protection pieces,” will make a return, he predicted. Prints and patterns will center around very simple grids and graphs, “great for spring suiting, as well as sportswear,” he added.
The second story for the Spring/Summer ’22 season, vernacular, returns to village living and traditions and is inspired by authenticity and innocence, Chow said.
On the softer side, key colors include sky blue, soft pistachio, powder pink and peach cobbler. Chow brought attention to country lace—think peasant blouses and lace apron dresses—and relief jacquard dresses. “Very girly yet innocent, pretty and relaxed is the new attitude,” he said.
At the other end of the vernacular story’s spectrum, colors like dark citron, faded teal, red violet and ginger orange feature heavily. Design highlights include oversized shirt collars and big puff sleeves, grandma-knit skirts and hand-painted floral designs.
Full of clean lines and vibrant colors, Chow’s maximal minimalism story is “about using minimal design to create maximum effect,” he said. In the coming season, the fashion world can expect more modern basic with vivid colors on compact knit, French terry and canvas, he advised. Chromatic harmony, illustration art and typographic messaging also popped up in his Spring/Summer ’22 preview.
Chow also underscored the role of new materials like wet-look vinyl, PVC gloss and nylon organza, and innovations such as 3D printing. “New materials in a very, very basic warm-up suit or simply an oversized tee look very modern,” he said. Bright colors, combined with print mixing, color blocking and fabric mixing “create a whole space-age new look for active,” he added.
Islander, Chow’s last story for the upcoming season, encompasses ocean-and-sand-colored seaside looks, as well as saturated prints. Fabric materials include coarse canvas, rustic weave and linen tweed, as well as tonal plaid, handkerchief check and madras. Chow suggested styles such as blue-and-white cabana stripes matched with denim; handloom plaids on an oversized tunic shirt; and tropical Pacific prints.