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The four FW22 trends according to Dutch forecaster Christine Boland

By Huw Hughes

Jul 15, 2021


Image: (from left to right) Chloe FW21, Boss FW21, Christian Wijnants FW21

Dutch trend analyst Christine Boland hosted a webinar at the end of June to offer attendees a glimpse at what the fall-winter 2022 season will have to offer. The talk touched on the influences affecting the upcoming season - with the uncertainty of the pandemic playing a key role - as well as the trends and colours that will dominate future wardrobes.

FashionUnited attended the talk and in this article shares a summary of some of the key takeaways.

Surviving the Anthropocene

The first of the four key trends is influenced by the growing consumer awareness that the effect we have on the world is immensely damaging. “We are asking too much of mother earth with our overconsumption, with our extraction of resources, with pollution, deforestation, and loss of biodiversity,” said Boland.

This tension feels like it is approaching a tipping point. In response, this fashion trend tries to bridge the gap between humans and nature, drawing inspiration from indigenous designs and nomadic life where people live in symbiosis with nature.

This trend is all about protection, utility, and survivalism and features a lot of natural patterns, utilitarian designs, padded or soft and fluffy fabrics, indigenous symbolism and reused materials and fabrics.

The colour mood is based on nature and outdoors combined with vintage, secondhand and “waste tones” - ecru grey, as well as light blues and greens, are important.

Image: (from left to right) Chloe FW21, Boss FW21, Diesel FW21
Image: Burberry pre-fall 21

An increasingly phigital world

The second trend is all about the way our digital and physical worlds are progressively melting into one another, creating a reality where it’s often hard to distinguish where one finishes and the other begins.

This is perhaps most clearly exemplified through the fast growth of the digital fashion scene, where virtual fashion and even influencers appear so real you almost forget they don’t truly exist in the physical world.

This also affects physical fashion, which in this trend is inspired by surrealism and otherworldly dream spaces and features designs that look almost impossible, such as huge but weightless or liquid shapes that often appear as if they’re melting.

The trend is also characterised by high tech and sheer materials, and the colour palette is a mix of cold, futuristic and rendered “screen colours” but with a new twist: “We saw with spring-summer 22 that all these screen colours are very important,” Boland said. “But now we see screen colours that have the impression they are vintage and retro - that’s the next level.”

Image: Balmain FW21
Image: Auroboros' digital collection

Unleashing female force

The third trend is influenced by the continued blurring of genders in fashion and the redefinition of what is typically male or female as these stereotypes are challenged.

In particular, the trend is influenced by female empowerment. “We see very girly and feminine fashion items but there is this hidden force and dark romanticism,” Boland said. The trend sees a blurring of reality and mysticism as the traditional damsel in distress from fairytales is reimagined as fierce and powerful.

Fabrics are refined and ornamental but also a bit strange, with lace playing a key role. Boland also referred to the Victorian era - which is of “great importance” to the trend - a time where we saw one of the early uprisings of women.

The colour palette is a bit dramatic with mystic undertones. It includes feminine colours like light blue and blush colours, which are disrupted by bold reds and strong pinks, as well as teal.

Image: Alexander McQueen pre-fall 21
Image: Kristina Fidelskaya FW21

Seeking sanctuary

The fourth trend taps into our desire to seek sanctuary in such an uncertain time frame where growing political and social polarization and the pandemic have made us yearn for healing and self-meditation.

“In design, we see that we are seeking a balance between human intelligence, natural intelligence, and artificial intelligence,” Boland said. “So the future is all about an equal weighting of these three types of intelligence.”

It results in designs and patterns that are soothing, soulful and healing - ones that almost act as “visual yoga”. The mood of the trend is balanced, introverted and silent, and the fabrics have a very high tactility. Shapes are dramatic and oversized but with soft rounded corners, so no hard edges. Or “blanket-inspired designs”, as Boland puts it.

The colour palette is soft and delicate, with evening sky pastels, oranges, and soft pinks and blues.

Image: (from left to right) Chloe FW21, Boss FW21, Christian Wijnants FW21
Image: Malìparmi Odissea FW21