What Will We Be Wearing in 2018?

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Clueless, 1995(Film still)

With the help of trend forecasting powerhouse WGSN, we chart the moods and digital cues influencing how we’ll feel and what we’ll wear in the year ahead

Well, we know what kind of a year 2017 was. But draining moments aside, we found exuberance in all the places as we could – big or small, serious or frivolous. We found it in speaking up, in saying “sorry” only when needed, slip-on mules, aperitivo, bare shoulders, caring for ourselves, the colour pink, serums, poetry, and, yes, still lifes of fruit.

As 2018 begins, we’re looking ahead to what will inform our mood this year. How will colours, nostalgic moods, politics and the Instagram accounts we follow affect the clothes we’ll wear and the decisions we’ll make over the next 12 months? Combining our gut instinct with the wisdom of Sara Maggioni, director of retail and buying at WGSN, we predict quite a year ahead.

1. Gen Z Yellow

“Phenomena such as Millennial Pink don’t happen every season,” says Sara Maggioni. She’s right: the reign of this blushed shade has been long and strong. In fact the wave has been rolling since 2012 – and now that drenching any surface in pink has become a lazy marketing tool much-loved by restaurants and social media managers, we’re naturally looking for something new. “Gen Z Yellow has already been touted, alongside lilac, as the most likely contender for the zeitgeist colour of the moment,” says Maggioni. This is a bright, unabashed yellow; while Millennial Pink was about subverting existing gender stereotypes, this yellow is for wearing your heart on your sleeve and picking earnestness over embarrassment. Think: Beyonce’s Hold Up dress, sunshiney 1970s kitchens, the optimism of a full yolk at breakfast. If optimism was a colour, this would surely be it.

2. Modern Tailoring

Where the return of the covetable classic trouser suit is concerned, we’re only just getting started. The tailoring of Martine Rose, classic Helmut Lang and Calvin Klein remain firm references for the year ahead. “A more formal aesthetic is starting to take hold,” says Maggioni. “Blazers and tailored trousers are key contenders to take over from bombers and tracksuit pants.” Thankfully we can expect a sharper offering of suits on the high street in 2018, and skirt suits too – like those shown at Prada – will be important. This mood represents a hunger for power dressing, but it’s also a happy move away from the dressed-down attitude of casualwear. A uniform of sorts, the suit replicates the ease of dressing casually (or quickly) though it’s weighted with firm intention. A suit, a manifesto, a call to arms, an all-in-one outfit – chances are you’ll soon have three on rotation.

3. New Noughties

According to Maggioni, in 2018 we’ll see a sartorial shift towards the “relatively untapped early noughties”. Think Season 4 of Sex and The City (with thanks to the ever-fabulous @everyoutfitonsatc for keeping Patricia Field’s styling in the cultural zeitgeist), Man Repeller layering, the return of velvet, velour and voluminous trousers. It’s whatever you wore the summer of 2002, when JXL’s Elvis remix A Little Less Conversation was topping the charts. This noughties nod is “spurred on by high profile collaborations such as Juicy Couture X Vetements, a string of exciting new brands like Leo by Leo and Manèmanè, and an increasing presence across editorials”.

4. Integrity

“Sustainability isn’t a trend, so I don’t want to put it into the ‘fleeting trends bucket’, but it is an overriding movement that’s becoming increasingly important,” says Maggioni. Younger customers increasingly have expectations that fashion and beauty brands are transparent about what they’re doing to make their businesses environmentally sustainable. Consider the appealing integrity of eco-friendly underwear from ELLISS, or organic beauty brand Kjaer Weis. Or that Gucci have announced they’ll be fur-free by 2018. “Gen Z is often described as the activist generation, caring a lot more and pushing for a more ethical and sustainable future, so it’s paramount for brands to future proof their brands and take note of it,” Maggioni says. She also notes that we’re already seeing a steep increase in fabrics made from pulped wood, like Lyocell and Tencel.

5. Taiwanese Beauty Brands

“It’s been all about Korean beauty brands so far,” says Maggioni, “but Taiwan is the new kid on the block when it comes to innovative beauty products.” So in 2018 it’s likely you’ll swap your Korean sheet masks for a Taiwanese version. Why? They’re generally high quality, made from a thin silk material that clings to the skin pleasingly, rather than Korean products which are often made from cupro cotton and are more prone to sliding around. They’re also kinder on the pocket, costing less than their Korean counterparts.

With thanks to WGSN.