The drive toward sustainability, accountability in design, and ‘interchangeable’ unisex fashion embraces a global change in attitudes. This change is inspiring not only new models in design and lifestyle, but a new blueprint for the future.
For the first time since 1935, farms in the United States have increased exponentially. Small-scale urban farms are catering to world-class restaurants that are appreciating the benefits and quality that working with smaller farms can provide. Some restaurants are establishing their own farms, which speaks to niche branding, improving sustainability, and quality control. The trend is becoming prevalent internationally, and also helping to educate communities on sustainability. Homeowners are jumping in on the trend with backyard farms, some focusing on vertical gardening, chicken coops, and beehives. Grown edibles are the new status symbol, replacing yards of grass and shrubs.
Consumers are purging their unwanted, unloved items, and only keeping or buying items that are high-quality, that last decades, and that make them happy. High-end consignment websites and community consignment apps are gaining in popularity, as consumers offer their unwanted wares to other consumers. Slow Fashion and The Lean Closet Movement are the new watchwords. The focus shifts from fast and cheaper goods, to quality goods that last longer. Clothing donations are one way consumers can keep old clothes out of the landfill, with direct donations to charity shops and thrift stores. Some manufacturers are offering incentives for consumers who donate their old jeans; the consumer receives a discount, and the old jeans are transformed into insulation or recycled into new jeans.
The trend toward recycling carries over into womenswear in patched and pieced garments, whether in formal or casual silhouettes. Surplus and utilitarian designs still have a planned aesthetic, and the ‘culture of waste’ is getting reworked and reimagined. Excess fabric is saved from the cutting room floor and repurposed in smaller limited-edition accessories. In knitwear, the oversized and boxy with lofty, woolen, and chenille yarns creates a sporty, yet feminine feel, with rugged overtones. Details include a side split, decorative fringing, reverse Fair-Isle design, and hand-stitched embellishments. A-line silhouettes add to the femininity, and lend a loose, easy comfort while retaining structure and dimensionality. A DIY punk edge is once again staging a comeback, and jackets sporting safety pins, jump rings, and eyelets are making the scene. A grunge feel is seen in leather, knits, shearling, and sequins.
Color is tending toward the poetic, and focusing on sensory appeal for the user. Gray is still the newest neutral, infused with pure yellow and plant-like greens. Berry and red shades warm the palette, and coppery accents add depth. Olive as spring neutral is playful when added to white and citrus shades. Meanwhile, bold colors dominate, in saturated and contrasting combinations. Washed tropical shades, such as hibiscus pink and cinnamon sands, are upbeat brights that set off black and white to perfection.
Casual loungewear is still in the picture, where the comfortable, soft fabrics of indoor relaxation can be worn as daywear. Checked separates in loose, brushed cotton in woven or printed form, and simple palettes are in essence pajamas, which can be worn in luxe fabrics, such as silk, and oversized silhouettes for an evening on the town. Fabrics with sheen, patterned or plain; and cotton-based and brushed fabrics exude softness and warmth.
A global street look, in a nod to London youth culture, sees the ubiquitous curved-brim baseball caps, track pants, and bomber jackets taking the streets. Gender neutral is becoming more the norm, in unisex knits featuring collegiate stripes, asymmetric intarsia looks and cable knits in wool and synthetic blend yarns. A holistic sensibility based on inclusiveness, sharing, and interchangeable designs takes unisex even further, and companies are giving customers the opportunity to choose their own colors, making each sweater made to order. Colors are being used as an emotional component, engaging the wearer in a reactive way. Graphics are strong, especially eighties-look geometrics and unusual color combinations.
Interiors are embracing a minimalist aesthetic, inspired by Korean monochrome painting. Salvaged and repurposed materials, and recycled furniture details are focusing on good design and a classic aesthetic. The history and former purpose of upcycled materials are no longer disguised, but celebrated, so the imperfections are displayed.
Inspiration is taken from the art world in furniture and lighting with a playful and offbeat experimentation. Hand-formed materials lend a naiveté to accessories made in clay, paper pulp and glass. The dramatic is replacing the conventional and mass-produced, merging digitally designed products with hand-made details.
The Pantone colors of the year- Rose Quartz and Serenity Blue- are the candy hues setting off dynamic effects in other pairings, such as mismatched colors, and bold statements, such as yellow and red, or cool mint and grey, with an accent of warm metallic. A different mood of the spectrum sees dark hues such as deep blue, green and brown. Darks mixed with candy bright tones make a graphic statement, and channel the 1980s influence. Red is important going forward, and red with pink is a combination to watch for in accessories, upholstery, and home goods. Pop-inspired, and fun, cool mint, bold blue, deep red, and black and white are enlivening the home landscape.
by Cynthia Aaron