If there is one thing this coronavirus pandemic has shown us, it is that when the supply chain broke from people being forced to spend their time inside, the retail industry suffered direly. With no events to go to and no one to impress, people were forced to embrace comfort clothes, mostly dressing in loungewear consisting of baggy T-shirts, sweatshirts, leggings and joggers, in lieu of a plethora of blouses, slacks, jeans and the like. Spring and summer fashion reflected that – biker shorts, cropped tops, bralettes, joggers, basketball shorts – they were all geared toward home life.
And although brands and designers are trying their utmost to restore a sense of normalcy to an industry almost upended by a viral pandemic by way of virtual fashion shows, fashion month content on social media and other creative campaigns, there is a shift happening in the way the industry operates and collections are created.
A good change we are seeing this season is more awareness around sustainability. From using sustainably sourced materials and recycled fabrics to more transparency in companies' social and environmental performances, the industry is undergoing a transformation.
Live fashion shows, the pride and joy of the fashion world and the biggest events of the year, are now also scarce in numbers and have been scaled down drastically. Jason Wu was the latest designer to hold a show in-person, albeit before a tiny audience of 36 guests to adhere to social distancing measures. The heavy-hitters of fashion week, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren also won't be showing up this year at NYFW, which will last only three days, from Sunday evening to Wednesday. Even Tom Ford will be streaming his collection virtually on closing night.
Seeing as it is fall haul week on every social platform out there and brands are rolling out collection after collection to set the tone for the season ahead, perhaps it’s time we take a look at some of the trends that will dominate this fall.
STYLES / AESTHETICS
'90s prep school chic
From schoolgirl-inspired pleated skirts and cropped argyle cardigans to bright or muted checks, this season is harnessing inspiration from the era of "Clueless."
Miu Miu, Victoria Beckham and Dior showcased collegiate ensembles, complete with retro-inspired riding or knee-high boots.
Stripes and navy also found a new lease on life in tailored pieces, while sweater vests and preppy cardigans in modernized shapes complemented the preppy look.
If you only want to buy a single item this season, go with a buttoned cardigan or an argyle sweater vest to make a bold statement.
'80s grunge revival
Flannel shirts have made a full comeback, with oversize styles favored over fitted and more earthy or pastel colors weeding their way into wardrobes. Instead of cotton, we have been seeing a lot of woolen flannel jackets or shirts in stiffer fabrics that could also be worn as outerwear.
Torn jeans and distressing is also a trend, as well as battered or worn-in-looking leather boots. Such looks are completed with punk-inspired button-up shirts, a la Kurt Cobain, or tied around the waist.
This season is all about power dressing, and dressing in safe colors such as black, brown and navy are taking a partial backseat to neons and colors of fall in the first half of the season.
From high-end designers to fast-fashion retailers such as Mango and Zara, almost every brand out there has revealed new menswear-inspired suits. Whether it's a classic blazer and pantsuit or pencil skirts and longline blazer or even sweater suits for a casual take on home-office looks, it's safe to say this season is all about suits.
Silhouettes are also changing. On one hand, the oversize boyfriend fit in blazers, which has been dominating designs the past few seasons is getting rebooted into roomier dad-style blazers that favor more relaxed widths, and on the other, we are seeing the cropped blazer trend slowly taking over our social feeds.
Menswear has also been echoing this trend, with the super-slim suit being "pushed completely out of fashion," according to Patrick Pendiuk, fashion editor at men's GQ magazine.
Spring and summer's shorts and blazer combos are leaving room for skirt and blazer pairings to flourish this season.
Reminiscent of the days of aerobics, skintight, almost sprayed-on looking leggings seem to be making their way into shops. Easily tuckable into boots, comfy and perfect with longer-line cardigans, designers have brought back the '90s staple, complete with equestrian-style stirrups. Jacquemus and Yves Saint Laurent are leading the way with this trend.
We are still seeing remnants of last season’s nod to the '80s’ exaggerated shoulders, with padded shoulders and strong, masculine shoulders in blouses and T-shirts. However, the volume on the shoulders is also traveling slightly lower down the arm, with designers introducing pieces with the puff-sleeve silhouette for a feminine touch. So instead of an upside-down triangle, strong shoulders and masculine shape we have seen in tops, we are seeing triangles at the ends of arms.
With pieces created in delicate paisley prints and styles reminiscent of lady of the manor, this trend could be the perfect transition from summer into fall for those that want to exude feminine energy.
Fringe and tassels
From Marina Rinaldi and Madewell to Zara and Beymen, we are seeing fringe details in places normally void of such pops of texture. Fringe-trimmed hemlines on skirt and trousers are adding movement to looks, while the arms of jackets and fronts of sweaters are being decorated with layers or rows of fringe for volume and fun.
Longline coats and ponchos
Tailored jackets with structure and double-breasted styles with metallic button details on the arms have been the highlights of this year’s outerwear collections. We are seeing maxi, almost ankle-grazing lengths in coats, in contrast to last year's midi hems.
Color-wise, camel is still the safest and most preferred, but Prada is leading the way in introducing a warm golden yellow to outerwear.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, capes and ponchos are also set to appear on racks in shops this fall. The oversized, relaxed fit of the capes was decorated with buttons at Oscar de la Renta, while Isabel Marant chose to cinch them in with a belt.
Seeing as the coronavirus is going nowhere, more and more designers have started to incorporate face masks into their runway shows, either choosing dark colors for a mysterious flare or matching fabrics and prints for a head-to-toe cohesive look.
There is an abundance of luxurious materials on the fashion scene at the moment. From cashmere and silk to alpaca or mohair, natural, expensive and high-quality fabrics are indispensable in designer collections. The high street is also using this same fabric in its more premium collections.
Leather, and especially faux leather pieces, have gained widespread approval for this season. Instead of being limited to outerwear, brands are updating coordinated looks in this material, creating blazers and pantsuits or shirts and midi pencil skirts in various shades of leather. Black, brown, white and lavender are the primary colors we’ve observed in early fall creations.
Instead of the denim-on-denim Canadian tuxedo, we are seeing brands do head-to-toe leather looks as a modern take on power dressing.
If you follow any fashion influencers on Instagram or TikTok, you will have noticed that the shade brown, specifically rich mid-tone browns or darker chocolate browns, is making a big comeback. For the past few seasons, we’ve seen plenty of beiges, creams and camels as well as grays and blacks, but this fall brown is the "it" color. From cardigans, coats and shirts to skirts, boots and bags, brown will be the dominant base color of many outfits.
Interestingly, this fall we are also seeing pops of color. Come fall, jewel tones start to rear their heads to signal summer coming to a close, and this year citrines, emeralds, sapphires and rubies are eye-catching. Prada, for example, has reintroduced green, the color increasingly dominating Instagram over the last two years, with emerald hues in its designs and a regal yellow to brighten up otherwise neutral looks. Last year's storm of lilac also continues to reign supreme.
As for accessories, the lime green trend that saw its rise with Gucci and Staud has taken on a new look with Bottega Veneta, who has opted to go for an acid green in its accessories.
Metallics, in the form of a silk slip dress or soft bags, are also widely available in stores. Valentino and Rochas presented beautiful gowns at fashşşion week, but if you'd like something more wearable try a drapey gold or silver skirt with a chunky knit sweater or a metallic blouse with some classic trousers, or a sequin top under a blazer for a party-ready look.
Classic patterns such as herringbone, houndstooth and glen plaid are the popular patterns of the season. While pinstripes are also coming to the fore to reflect the current male tailoring trend, dark autumn florals are providing a feminine contrast to masculine cuts.
Tartan once again dominates the fall fashion scene: from coats and shirts to skirts, it is popping up everywhere.
Animal print is also still holding on strong but instead of last season’s cheetah and snake print, many designs are sporting more subtle zebra prints.
BEFORE YOU SHOP
A love of fashion doesn't necessarily equate to being a crazed shopaholic and victim to trends. A true love of fashion, art and design means that the wearer will appreciate the clothing, the design process and the philosophy behind the brand. So, if you'd like to practice this mentality, here are some tips on how to be more sustainable with your choices.