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'Smart is the new cool' and three other trends for Spring/Summer 2023

By Katrien Huysentruyt

Dec 10, 2021


Image: Dior Men Summer22 ©Brett Lloyd

Antwerp - From constructive positivism to cold realism: these lifestyle trends were noted by FashionUnited during Hilde Francq's Color Trend Seminar for summer 2023.

In her trend report, Hilde Francq places four lifestyle trends within their social context. Each trend is accompanied by specific colour palettes, materials and textures. Of course, these predictions take into account the excesses of the pandemic. Are we wary of being surprised by bad news again? Or do we look to the future in a positive light? And how is this polarisation reflected in lifestyle trends and thus in the fashion of summer 2023?

The four trends Francq touches on follow our need to do everything differently from now on: "More and more people are opting for a positive attitude, one that is diametrically opposed to the hard realism of another large group (and trend). They refuse to see the world in a rosier light and opt for the worst case scenario: from now on, it can only go downhill in this world. In between these two poles is a grey zone with two trends in which our hands are central. These form a counter-movement to the far-reaching digitalization of our society, which was accelerated by the corona crisis. First of all, people are looking for extra knowledge with which they can help the world move forward. In addition, we remain folded back on ourselves, with attention to our own needs. We are looking for satisfying, tactile experiences that take our lives to a higher level," says the trend watcher.

Image: Iris Apfel x H&M, credit H&M

Positive attitude

The first trend Francq detects is characterised by positivism: "We cast a hopeful eye on the future, even if it may not be as beautiful and colourful as we would like. Supporters believe that we don't solve pressing problems with sawing and complaining. They create a fairy-tale world in which anything goes but real problems are not hushed up. There is also room for humour. People want to spend the time they have left on this globe as pleasantly as possible. Their world is optimistic, colourful, open-minded and inclusive. It is certainly not a utopian, unrealistic vision but their world does look better". An example of this trend is the colourful collection of the centenarian Iris Apfel for H&M in 2022 . Dior also plays with this theme for SS22 and lets its male models loose in a fairytale world in outfits with the same dreamy vibe. The film that Balenciaga made with the Simpsons, on the other hand, indicates that luxury labels know very well that self-deprecation and humour work.

Video: Sweat yourself shop from Freitag

Thorough knowledge

With "Smart is the new cool anno 2023," Francq predicts a second trend. "We couldn't travel, instead we started learning new things. Training videos boomed during the pandemic and as yet are not on their way out. The better we understand production processes, the smarter we can intervene and arrive at sustainable solutions. Showing the creative process has been trending for several seasons now. It is not about DIY but the appreciation of craftsmanship. There is an intellectual side to it. This trend is a counter-reaction to the technological innovations that make everything easier and faster but also make us dumber. People who can speak about their craft with great knowledge are becoming the new celebrities". The textile prints with climate statistics by the Dutch design studio Raw Colour are an application of this trend in fashion. Freitag's "Sweat yourself shop" also plays on it: by putting together your own bag from tarpaulins, you get a more emotional and lasting connection with it. Functionality is key. In addition, workwear and the uniform style become even more important, buckles and belts get a leading role. New materials such as Bananatex also fit into this trend.

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Video: SRM Dinner Party, an example of the videos shared on TikTok regarding ASMR

Hard Reality

Within this fourth and final trend, people are looking at reality, with all its badness, straight in the eye so that we are never overwhelmed by bad news again. "We look at the world coldly and distantly, both feet on the ground, this in contrast to the overly beautiful images on social media," Francq says. The style is basic and futuristic, like Rick Owens' dystopian designs. Within this trend, mirrors are often used: they create an icy atmosphere and reflect reality. For example, in mid-November Burberry opened "The Imagined Landscape Experience" in Korea - a giant palace of mirrors. In terms of materials and textures, metallics, aluminium and iridescent effects are often chosen. Dark, not very Instagrammable shades are also making a comeback. The fact that Bottega Veneta withdrew from social media this spring - in response to the homogeneous fashion image created there - is entirely in keeping with the anti-Instagram attitude of this harsh realism.

Credit: Rick Owens SS22 © Catwalkpictures.com H&M
Image: Burberry

These four trends will affect the choice of materials and textures, colour palettes and combinations for the spring and summer collections of 2023.

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.NL, translated and edited to English by Kelly Press.

Hilde Francq