In the aftermath of the pandemic, and among a slew of other natural
disasters, the world is rapidly waking up to the need to adapt and adjust
in order to continue persevering. Not only that, but a shift can also be
seen in consumer sentiments, in behavioural adaptations that will slowly be
mirrored throughout the fashion industry as a whole. Based on research by
WGSN, and information shared with FashionUnited by a member of the
forecasting agency, there are three defining trends to look out for in the
coming year that lean into this newly formed survivalist mindset and all
the society-driven aspects it links to.
For WGSN, convertible clothing and modular garments were a prominent factor
in its report, features linked to both travel and sports performance, two
lifestyle characteristics definitive of the evolving mindset. One of the
organisation’s primary focuses was the interchangeable sneaker, which it
said would transform the typical trainer into an outdoor-ready item with
accessible versatility. It also emphasised this feature within clothing,
making garments baggage-friendly with multiple-end uses, providing items
that are easier to pack on-the-go. The report suggested pieces like cargo
pants that double as swim shorts or flip-flops that transform into boots.
These multifunctional designs aim to offer shoppers both versatility and
value for money, especially during times when consumers are increasingly
strapped for cash.
The new utility wear
Like the trend prior, WGSN’s take on utility wear is also centred around
performance attributes and modular design. For utility, however, the
concept has been elevated for the luxury market. It combines both the
recovery of post-pandemic travel and the backdrop of global uncertainty and
unpredictability in weather, pushing a survivalist lifestyle that has
brought protective design to the mainstream. The trend is characterised by
technical features that enhance the safety of a garment, such as
quick-release buckles and rip-proof materials. WGSN further noted that this
shift has also impacted small luxury leather goods businesses, which it
said had been experimenting with the theme through items like belt bags.
As the world frantically searches for more eco-friendly production methods,
the use of natural ingredients has naturally begun to surge as they prove
to be valuable in this area. Renewable algae is a material that WGSN
reckons will be increasingly relied upon in the creation of lower-impact
fibres, foams and fabrics. The organism needs light, CO2 and water to
swiftly grow, and comes with features that allow it to replace oil-based
options for products like shoes. For clothing, the organisation said algae
is emerging as “an alternative to resource-intensive synthetics”, like
nylon, with many brands already using the ingredient in pilot programmes.
“Expect algae to bloom in fashion in 2023 and beyond,” WGSN concluded.