The Impact of Socio-Cultural Changes on Fashion 2020-2021

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Philip Fimmano, Partner and Director at TREND UNION, a leader in compiling trends from around the world since 1986, spoke to our crowd from the Underfashion Club at the Harvard Club of New York about “The Impact of Socio-Cultural Changes on Fashion 2020-2021.” Socio-cultural trends have had an impact on all aspects of fashion, from sustainability to color trends, fabrics/materials and accessories.

The overarching theme of this educational event was the idea of brown as a color and a metaphor for society getting closer to the earth and the diversity of people. Philip linked the color to the way we will be living in the future. Brown is more in-tune with the current period after 30 years of black, transforming any item into something luxurious, modern, and less aggressive. The consumer wants to be different, focused on ecology, and casual.  Browns and neutrals soften the edges on the body when worn.

A key factor to consider regarding the future of fashion is the increasingly conscious consumer. Their awareness of brands and consideration of ecology when choosing materials directly influences the way businesses should source and market their products. The modern consumer is more focused and specific about what they buy, steering clear of disposable fashion. Dying is being done in sustainable ways, with natural pigments from organic materials, moving away from synthetic processes.

There’s been a revival of basics in fashion that have become elevated by designers that are keen on sophisticated details. Basics are for casual people, particularly younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z. Normcore is based on the idea of blending in in an almost “boring” fashion. In contrast, there is also boldness, which gravitates towards larger volumes.

Philip Fimmano shared upcoming trends for fashion in 2020-2021. Winter 2020 fashion will include lots of frilly materials and transparency in new neutrals. It will be a comforting season with a combination of natural fibers and synthetics with brighter pastels expressing new neutrals, providing coziness and a new pleasure in dressing up. Summer 2021 fashion will be focused on green-mindedness and trends will include florals, pastels, and all kinds of greens and foliage. Pastels will have a more milky quality to them and shades of green express an uplifting energy.

Natural fibers and high-tech materials are a key trend. There will be a return to satin finishes, neoprene, and metallic shine as well as interesting new pastel tones. Knitwear and bigger volumes including softer finishes will be seen, especially in intimates. Sleeve details will help the consumer find the fun in dressing up.

Natural and organic, non-polluted places in the countryside are gaining popularity due to affordability and quality of life. There’s no need to be in big cities since the internet allows us to be everywhere at all times. The separation from politics and outside distractions is coined in softwear, which focuses on the cozy lifestyle. Cuddles are channeled through comforting, teddybear-like materials in sophisticated shades of brown. Faux furs in outrageous colors and modified animal prints show a connectedness to nature while emphasizing that the garments aren’t made of real animals. Blankets have become a key fashion accessory for the home and for picnics, and are even seen on runways. Fluidity and ruffle effects will be observed in clothing such as dresses, lingerie, and even expressed as a singular tuck in satin-like materials.

Vintage linen and lighter colors like whites and creams are part of the cozy look. Bohemian, baroque, vintage satin sheens and neutrals will be seen. The idea of vintage is more than a color story. It is melancholic. Rough and expressive ancient-looking textiles and archaic design language will trend. It’ll be wilder, with fringes and hairier textures. Colors are warmer with spice accents, such as cinnamon. Earthy motifs that look like petals and twigs will be seen in wovens.

Constructivism is more graphic, including color blocking and brighter colors. Neutrals can be brought to life with fuscia or red colors, a key color in the winter season. Khaki and olive will be trending in menswear, with more optimistic and graphic ways of combining things. 2020 implements motifs from the 1920s, inspired by escapism and a yearning for some glamour.

See photos from the event in the Facebook album!