Even though technology is attracting consumers to a “web room” approach, meaning they are shopping online or on mobile for the best deals before going to a physical store, a “see and feel” attitude is permeating each experience. Millennials and boomers both are demanding convenience and value, with the latter wanting on-the-go spending opportunities, since they are traveling more.
Sustainable Fashion & Food
The socially conscious shopper is gaining momentum, looking for products tied to a charity or to a cause. This has led to more companies expanding their online and in-person giving programs, for example, recycling unwanted clothes in exchange for a discount on new merchandise.
Consumers are recognizing the benefits of a plant-based diet, not only for its health attributes but for ecological reasons, and some start-ups and established businesses are offering a bigger choice in the non-meat realm. The number of hipster farmers is on the rise, as more young people are starting their own specialized farms based on organic, sustainable practices, and tying in a retail and experiential component, such as farm dinner events hosted by the growers. This new vision in farming opens up opportunities for the future of food. Farming on other planets is in the foreseeable future, but if a paradigm shift happens away from genetically modified and heavily fertilized crops, perhaps we can sustain life on this planet in a healthy, holistic way. However, this remains to be seen.
Tailoring is on the scene in suits and shirts for both genders. Pant suits are seen in traditional materials—wool, gabardine—but also in relaxed fit fabrics such as Ponte and jersey. The topcoat becomes an accessory, and reminds us of vintage inspirations from forties menswear.
Techno modern textiles with an “athleisure” concept merge the casual and the athletic into new ways of being leisurely. Technology makes us warmer or cooler with nanotechnology ever advancing. It also makes us more conveniently ‘in the know’ with cellular and Internet devises built into garments or accessories.
Fashion and footwear designs become a playful pastiche of color, texture, and embellishments, and fur (real and faux) is seen for both. Olive is a spring neutral that sets off white and citrus shades. The colors of the old masters, such as deep reds, smoked rosin, dark espresso, coral orange, and gold moss dominates fall 2016. Nature is a strong motif, as seen in mossy, cracked, rusted, and weathered finishes.
Knitwear has become like soft sculpture using processes that create organic, tactile forms in loose and flowing silhouettes, with materials resembling coral, sea shells, and ocean detritus.
Also inspired by the sea are nautical designs (see photo at top) with a twist; traditional navy and white stripes in tops and over-sized pants.
Geared toward space travel, the ultimate uncharted expedition, functional coatings and weatherproofing treatments abound for men and women. Heavier fabrics are taking precedence as protection from the elements here on earth. Designs are puffed up like sleeping bags, and literally inflated, creating a safe sense of a cocoon or tent. There is a high-pile glacial feeling in colors of frosty white and gray, and various arrays of real and faux fur. On the more mysterious end are hues of black, forest green, and deep blue. Nano-weight textiles and mid-weight garments worn in layers appeal to active and street wear markets. Material finishes are either smooth, snowy, and ethereal or gritty, speckled, and distressed for a raw, eroded feeling.
Sixties mod styling and eighties mannish tailoring lives alongside off-kilter and purposely out of proportion silhouettes, lending a playful mood. Pattern mixes, such as checks with polka dots or plaids with diagonal stripes, further enhance the play. Sailor and yachting looks in white horizontal stripes, and weekend clothes of rolled-up trousers and layers of shirts with heavy gauge sweaters, have a 1920s Gatsby feel. Denim is worn in layers; jeans with chambray shirts or T- shirts, denim jackets or contrasting trench coats on top. A colorful bandana or sixties-inspired vest lends even more roguish dash.
As in men’s and women’s fashions, stripes are infiltrating furnishings. Painterly and saturated striped bright hues are popping up from soft furnishings, ceramics, and tableware to wallpaper and upholstery. Paint splatters, tie-dye, and abstract shapes also in bright and cheerful tones give contrast to hand-drawn designs, text designs (e.g.: inspirational messages on pillows and ceramics), gold accents, and textured whites.
Colors are either very pale (ocher, ivory) or very dark (red, sienna). Moody dark tones can be accentuated with bright highlights for originality. Graphic design is proving a strong influence, in bold and original patterns and color ways for residential and commercial settings. Easy-assembly furniture is fun, low-key, and makes it possible for the average person to put together tables, chairs, and other furniture with visible joints reminiscent of some of the master furniture makers from the past, but with a modern twist.
New uses for traditional crafts and materials are developing; for example using luffa (the gourd used for sponges) for medical splints, packaging, and acoustic wall tiles, which can be dyed using the wastewater from the denim-dying industry. Another stylish yet environmentally friendly idea uses PET (plastic) bottles for lamp shades.