In 2022, customers farewelled skinny jeans and welcomed 80s nostalgia, while the hottest subcultures ranged from the laid-back Coastal Grandmother to the Y2K-infused Pamcore. Meanwhile, retailers grappled with inflation and the cost of living crisis. What can we expect in 2023?
Retailers around the world turn to EDITED’s Analyst team, who closely monitors retail happenings to understand fashion’s direction in 2023. Read on as they share their exclusive picks for the trends you need to invest in this upcoming year.
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- Global music tours from Blink-182 and Paramore will drive Grunge narratives into the mainstream. There’s already been a 28% increase in womenswear apparel using the descriptor ‘grunge’ YoY, with brands including SHEIN, Cider and boohoo surfacing as early adopters.
- For menswear, think of the Post-Apocalyptic theme as your anti-dopamine trend, spotlighting blacks and beiges within key Grunge, Utility and Bikercore areas. Leather bolsters this storyline, with mentions in products up 14% YoY.
- Gen Alpha wields an instinctive knowledge of the metaverse and significant spending power that can only be unlocked by embracing immersive retail. Use partnerships with gaming hosts like Fortnite or Roblox to engage tweens, reserving hyperphysical in-store experiences for the younger demographic.
- The rising Mermaidcore aesthetic has cemented beachy looks as a must for beauty, with Spring 2023 runway styles citing the release of The Little Mermaid in May as a major influence. Hair wavers, SPF products and summer-inspired scents are must-buys for this theme.
- Product descriptions containing the word ‘abstract’ have climbed 120% YoY across pure play retailers and so we anticipate a surge in demand for homeware products with value in art over purpose.
Aoife Byrne, Womenswear: Grunge
Sparked by the Y2K Indie Sleaze trend, designers turned back the clock to the 90s for newness on the Spring 2023 runway, resulting in a Grunge revival. Notably, Bottega Veneta revived the flannel shirt, while Blumarine and Givenchy placed their bets on worn-in denim. boohoo is already capitalizing on the trend, having paired up with the Kardashian-Barkers on several clothing collaborations and Blink-182 merch. Elsewhere, SHEIN landed an extensive grunge collection in mid-November. Overall, there’s been a 28% increase in apparel using the descriptor ‘grunge’ YoY, signaling mounting interest.
Blink-182, My Chemical Romance and Paramore all kick off world tours in Spring 2023, while Nirvana’s final studio album, In Utero, will celebrate its 30th anniversary on September 21st. These events serve as strong trend accelerators to springboard your collection off – ensure concert night and festival edits are ready to go live in line with these dates. Promote leather outerwear as a timeless, transeasonal buy, while grunge wash jeans should be positioned as a must-have denim update for 2023.
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Karis Munday, Menswear: Post-Apocalyptic
Just as the post-pandemic era instigated the survivalist fashion trend, Balenciaga’s SS23 Mud Show was a reaction to a bleak year of war and politics in 2022. From this, an anti-dopamine sentiment was felt in a harsh tonal black and beige color palette on a backdrop of mud. The overall theme still encapsulates protective clothing but refreshes in 2023 with military and utility influences. Bikercore themes remain relevant alongside grunge and feed into the armored element of heavier-duty materials like leather with added knee and shoulder pads. Leather continues to be an essential investment, seeing a notable presence across the SS23 runway. In the mass market, leather (including faux) mentions on apparel are up 14% YoY, with shirts and trousers seeing the biggest YoY growth.
Be sure to utilize the release of Dune: Part Two and The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes for key product stories. Utility themes should include a softened color palette introducing beiges and earthy shades and highlighting hero pieces like cargos and worker jackets. Pivot this story to have more of a military influence by incorporating key areas like camouflage, bomber jackets and gilets. As Grunge remains prevalent, oversized shapes will be the focus, so build the story with volume lines to drive sales of oversized T-shirts and hoodies, which are already seeing a 48% and 57% YoY growth in arrivals in 2022, respectively. Layer on Bikercore themes for a more directional spin, spotlighting leather as a key material.
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Katherine Bailey, Childrenswear: The Meta-Generation
The emergence of the metaverse this year and its significance to Gen Alpha -the “beta testers of the metaverse” is huge. This tech-literate cohort was already familiar with 3D environments, trading in digital currencies and controlling avatars as a result of games like Roblox and Fortnite. Recognizing the spending power they hold, retailers have taken measures to ensure their young customer is digitally-engaged – Claire’s Accessories recently unveiled ShimmerVille, an immersive town situated in Roblox. Featuring a mall and cafe, and powered by its own currency, customers are able to customize their avatars with Claire’s jewelry and accessories, which they can also buy in real life.
The ‘phygital’ influence will increasingly permeate the lives of young customers, with conversations building around the inclusion of AI education within school syllabuses. Retailers should not dodge the opportunity to get involved. Roblox has become a popular entry point into the metaverse for retailers, as have collaborations with sandbox games like Minecraft, Fortnite and Among Us. Cautious retailers may wish to dip their toe in using merchandised apparel to gauge demand before committing to digital expansion. For the most junior Gen Alphas, an unregulated online community is not suitable, instead integrate hyperphysical in-store strategies that encourage footfall and promote an interactive experience.
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Heather Ibberson, Beauty: Summer Escape
A key narrative for summer, Dopamine Dressing hues have made their way into beauty, with bright lip and eye combos a major trend on the Spring 2023 runways. As travel is back on the cards for the majority of consumers, beachy looks are central to this theme. Rising Mermaidcore themes have pushed long, crimped/wavy hairstyles into the spotlight, along with sun-kissed skin, achievable for customers through all-over bronzer and blush applications. Global influences are also important for this theme. Latinx-inspired brands like Sol de Janeiro offers perfume mists to capture its warm, summer scent in a bottle.
Haircare is an essential component of this theme, particularly for summer. Ensure that your offering is inclusive for all hair types, with key buys including oils, fragrances, masks and serums. The highly anticipated release of The Little Mermaid in May will be key for mermaid-inspired hair and makeup, as well as an essential look for Halloween tutorials later in the year. Don’t forget to honor Hispanic and Latinx Heritage month, starting in September, by promoting Latinx-founded brands and products across your socials and websites.
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Anna Lamb, Homeware: Idiosyncratic Touches
Expect a surge in demand for homeware products with value in art over purpose, which will resonate with a younger demographic. Channeled by the likes of Bella Hadid, the theme runs as an extension of the Weird Girl aesthetic formed of effortlessly clashing colors, patterns and textures. A new wave of self-expression and the up-and-coming chaotic Instagram feed aesthetic influence both. This creative decor follows the latest irregular-shaped mirrors, scalloped edges and abstract ceramics trends featured across retailers’ Instagram feeds in recent months. Product descriptions containing the word ‘abstract’ have climbed 120% YoY across pure play retailers, primarily in home accessories.
When promoting this trend, consider your younger audience, employ social media and invest in matching the app’s aesthetic to gain appeal. World Art Day presents an opportunity to spotlight artists and inspire recipients. Use National Name Yourself Day to advocate self-expression, particularly within safe spaces and homes, and partner with inspiring role models that bravely express themselves against the odds. Look to lifestyle retailer Urban Outfitters, which communicates trend-led homeware to a young audience.
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