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Fashion in the post-Covid era: “First party, then introspection”

By Katrien Huysentruyt

Jan 13, 2022


Gucci x The North Face

Trend watcher Hilde Francq tips the most important trends every six months. This time, the Color Trend Webinar looked ahead to the post-Covid era. FashionUnited already noted that Autumn/Winter 22/23 will look green, digital, awoken and healthy.

“Obviously, the eyes are now on what the trends will be in the post-Covid era,” she says. “Some trend watchers are seeing the hedonism and decadence of the roaring twenties return. Revenge dressing and shopping as we are already seeing it in China is an indication of this. On the other hand, there is talk of the 'trembling twenties' - a period characterized by doubt, uncertainty and instability. After all, the pandemic taught us to think about the place of humans in the world.”

Francq predicts a combination of both models: “First there will be a party, then it will be time for introspection. Sustainability will become self-evident, and companies will have to take responsibility for this themselves. Think of Hermès , known for its high-end quality leather, which now focuses on mushroom leather. Adidas introduced the Stan Smith Mylo, sneakers with mycelium sole”.

Hermès Victoria Bag, made of MycoWorks Fine Mycelium

“During the crisis, Generation Z in particular was hit hard mentally”, says Francq. “And that at a crucial moment in their development. Mental health is therefore definitely a topic. In addition, the 'woke movement' is omnipresent”. She cites well-known American figureheads such as Pharrell Williams, with his gender-neutral beauty label, and Amanda Gorman, with her anti-racist inaugural poem. All these shifts were already visible before the crisis, but went into higher gear due to Covid. Francq bundles them into four themes: wild nature, digital life, a better world and mental health.

Amanda Gorman. Beeld: Kevin Dietsch / POOL / AFP

AW22 trend: Back to the wild

“During the pandemic, we have come to appreciate nature again and we realised that contact with it contributes to mental health,” said Francq. “There is also the impact of global warming. Calls are made for 'rewilding', the release of nature - just think of the Belgian 'Don't mow May' campaign in Flanders. A sign of fashion is the collaboration of Gucci and outdoor label The North Face. Alternative materials based on mushrooms or algae will become mainstream thanks to this trend.”

Daniel Shea voor The North Face x Gucci

AW22 Trend: Digital Living

“Our lives took place largely digitally and became a hybrid between an analog and digital existence. The first NFT (non-fungible token) of a work of art was also auctioned. We can now claim ownership of a unique digital file. This opens the way for virtual clothing. For example, Nintendo and Net-a-Porter worked together on a virtual collection of clothing for the avatars in Animal Crossing.

AW22 Trend: Better World

According to Francq, the most important question is: What did you do today to save the world? “Not only is the impact of a product measured, an extra contribution has to be made. Brands no longer go for zero waste but 'negative waste'. Upgrading old textiles or residual materials makes patchwork a trend within this theme - colorful and with a mix of motifs. Brands also pay attention to issues other than the environment with the aim of attracting the 'woke generation'.”

Dolce & Gabanna SS21 #DGSicilianPatchwork © Catwalkpictures.com

AW22 Trend: Mental Health

The last theme may well be the most predominant, says Francq. “Because of Covid, health became even more important. We are eager to be monitored, tracked and advised. Health has become the new luxury. The healthy mind will also be in the spotlight, mental issues become normal. In addition, more attention is being paid to death. Loovt is already a comfort brand that wants to break the taboo around grief and mourning with designs such as the cuddly sweater. The trend also has a strong influence on architecture. Retailers will opt for interiors that evoke a sense of security and a familiar feeling,” she concludes.

Loovt sweater, image by Loovt.