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Nostalgia Dominates Fashion Trends at WWD MAGIC in Las Vegas

A bustling hub for the industry’s latest fast-fashion trends, the WWD MAGIC apparel trade show in Las Vegas this week brought out boutique brands, department store staples and hopefuls looking for new accounts.

The Spring 2020 season will blend influences from different eras, like the ‘70s and ‘80s, replacing the ‘90s and early aughts as the cultural reference points du jour. Flashy, tailored separates are a counterpoint to the season’s reigning retro champ: tie-die. On shirts, sweaters and even matching sets, the trend is one that refused to die with the Grateful Dead.

Sourcing Journal spotted a handful of trends that are sure to take the market by force next spring and summer season.


“People are always looking for a different way to wear something basic,” said Alex Birenbaum, key account manager at casual contemporary brand RD Style.

Tie-dye offers that point of difference, and it does so with undeniable boldness. Still, Birenbaum said, the trend’s swirling motifs and organic, flowing shapes lend themselves perfectly to casual styling. “Whether it’s on your favorite tee or a pull-over sweatshirt, it’s something you can throw on for a weekend getaway.”

Birenbaum explained that the trend’s renaissance began with streetwear. “You take your biker shirt and pair it with an oversized tie-dye tee,” she explained. But tie-dye’s roots are undeniably old-school, and in Birenbaum’s view, due for a resurgence. “Vintage band tees came back into play seasons back, and this is the next push,” she said.

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Lightweight neutrals

Gauzy, lightweight white and cream fabrics will bring an ethereal glow to spring’s style roster, making their mark on dresses, tunics and matching sets.

“These neutrals are really important with soft dressing—the cottons and silks are big in that market,” said Kelly Helfman, president of WWD MAGIC, referencing the relaxed, flowing tailoring of the season’s hottest looks. “They represent the start of spring,” she added, and will be popular resort wear during spring break and summer vacation.

Wide-leg denim

High-waisted, wide-leg denim trousers will be a must-have throughout 2020, insisted Michelle Lao, head designer for Hidden Denim.

“The ‘70s is coming back and everyone’s getting inspired by that look,” she added, explaining that the style’s form-fitting high waist is “flattering on every body.” The look will manifest in both worn-in, distressed designs and more cleanly tailored options suitable for the casual workplace or a weekend night out.

“You could wear the jeans with a body suit to dress them up, a casual t-shirt, or a dressier button-down blouse for the office. There’s so many ways to style them,” said Lao.

 ‘80s glamour

“The 80’s is on steroids right now,” said Helfman of the spring season’s most dominant and pervasive trend.

Bright jewel tones, bold metallics and exaggerated embellishments punctuated looks across the showroom floor, bringing a decadent, urban aesthetic to garments ranging from denim jackets to boucle skirt suits.

“There’s so many ways it’s coming through—the boxy blazer, the dropped shoulder, silk dresses, sequins, puffy sleeves…” Helfman listed.

And she believes the nostalgic trend has staying power. “It’s going nowhere anytime soon,” she said.

Pleated pants

From loungewear to weekend-ready, the flowy, pleated pant will claim its place on store shelves next spring. A relaxed, mid or high-rise fit and wide legs with vertical pleats characterize the look, which was shown paired with everything from silk button-downs to tunics and cropped knits.