Last year was one of the most polarizing and fragmented years on record – whether you look at politics, current affairs or entertainment.
Where does that leave the fashion industry in 2018?
We’ve dug into our data to plot the direction consumers are moving in. Looking at what worked commercially in 2017, you can be prepared for what’s ahead. And the good news is: it’s going to be another year of extreme contrasts.
In 2018 fashion will run the gamut from the extravagant, over-the-top silhouettes of the ‘80s, offering escapism, to dressing functionally in order to reinforce our desire for comfort within this chaotic world.
Here we’ve whittled down to the 6 big commercial trends of 2018.
Updated ’80s/’90s-style belt bags, especially in leather
When the global political climate is fractious, there’s comfort in a certain kind of nostalgia. The ’80s were a time of economic boom, when fashion and lifestyles were fast and frivolous.
With millennials delaying home purchases and starting families, they have high disposable incomes which revisits some of that 80’s hedonism. Pure escapism from the harsh realities of life.
Here are the biggest fashion trends of 2018. Which will you get behind? tweet
Key pieces next season will include masculine checks on power suits, more asymmetry, metallic fabrics and the return of the super-functional fanny pack/bumbag- now with the much more palatable ‘belt bag’!
On the Spring 2018 runways, these came in both ‘formal’ and casual looks. Casual takes took after the classic 80s sporty fanny pack, in kidney bean shape, with many zips and pockets. Kenzo, Marc Jacobs and Balenciaga sent versions of these out on their runways, worn across the hips or slung cross-body.
More formal and dressy styles came from Gucci, Givenchy and Kate Spade. The use of leather and boxy shapes shifts the style from sporty to polished. Chain embellishment, metal fastenings and brand logos ramp up the luxe factor.
We’re talking clothes that move beyond athleisure, incorporating technical properties into daily dress. Consumers today travel further afield and more frequently, live in increasingly busy cities and have more varied and flexible work lives.
At the same time, our apparel has greatly enhanced technical properties and we’re more informed on health and wellness than ever before. It follows naturally that consumers will demand more from their apparel.
In 2018 we’ll see more brands tackle the pressures of modern lives, incorporating fit and performance properties into apparel beyond activewear. That will result in clothing that responds better to the weather, that travels well and is hyper-versatile. This could also impact convenience services for post-purchase care of apparel.
Sustainability on the up, and an outright ban on fur
Consumers are demanding an ethical outlook from brands and retailers. Having a truly authentic position on environment will differentiate the brands that connect with millennial and Gen Z consumers from those that won’t.
When Gucci – as one of the most influential brands in the world right now – announced in October 2017 that it will be banning fur from Spring 2018, the industry sat up and listened. In a climate where social media campaigns can go viral, brands will be thinking incredibly carefully about the environmental and social impact of the products they create.
We expect many luxury brands to follow Gucci’s lead next year. Consumers will also become more clued up about sustainable down, vegan leather and lab silk.
Breast is best
The ‘dare-to-bare’ areas of flesh are a trend of their own in fashion. In recent seasons we’ve seen cropped shapes place emphasis on abs and then cold-shoulder styles shift focus to exposed shoulders. Next to take the spotlight: the bust.
Fall 2017 saw not only the return of the corset, but also slogan t-shirts which placed motifs like watermelons on the breast area.The focus on this area of the female form will increase as we head into 2018, and Spring 2018’s runways weren’t short of options.
Alexander Wang, Helmut Lang and Fendi all integrated bras into tops and dresses, focusing on structures outside of the garment. Prada, Versace, Louis Vuitton and Dolce & Gabbana showed bralettes worn over tees and dresses or paired with high-waisted skirts.
External seams, corset details and sheers will add to the buzz around the breast! This will be done in an inclusive way – gone are the years of everyone seeking a plumped-up shape, as declines in push-up bras show.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s May 2018 wedding will ramp up conversation on summer occasionwear both sides of the pond. You can expect retailers and the magazine industry to go all-in on content in the lead-up to the event, with much scrutiny on the bride’s and attendees’ outfits after the event.
Big trends from Summer 2018 runways for occasion dresses include asymmetric one-shoulder, high necklines, puffball hems and strapless. Ruffles move from being chaotic and haphazard, to columned tiers. As an alternative to the dress, eveningwear all-in-ones and tailored jumpsuits get VIP treatment.
Bubblegum pink, lavender, sunshine yellow and any shade of metal will be the key colors for wedding season. Bold statement earrings will complete the look. Those looking to mimic a touch of Meghan’s red carpet style will opt for clean lines, with plunging necklines and jewel tones.
Move over millennial pink, because 2018’s color will be a lighter tone of neon yellow. Consumers want clothes to be brighter and more cheerful and retailers need strong color stories for merchandising.
This trend is directly influenced by the impact of street and workwear. Hot brands like Off-White and Gosha Rubchinskiy have used iconography of street signage in their prints and apparel and Kanye West’s Yeezy line and Nike have picked up on the references.
We’ll see a wider range of women’s and men’s apparel picking up the lead on yellow in 2018, as well as shade being referenced in branding and campaigns, just as we saw with millennial pink.
If product isn’t your jam (or even if it is!), you should check out our industry trends for 2018. Five big shifts that will changing the business of retail this year.