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Trend forecasting expert Lidewij Edelkoort: "Brown is the new black"

By Caitlyn Terra


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Amsterdam - “Black is always in style.” That’s what people often think when they aren't sure what to wear. According to Dutch trend forecaster, Lidewij Edelkoort, that will soon no longer be the case. She predicts we will see black’s go-to reputation disappear in order to make way for brown.

During a trend seminar hosted in Amsterdam last week a small shock wave moved through the room upon hearing this fashion prognosis, as there were plenty of black clothing items evident among those present.

"Brown's 'it status' has been gaining momentum for some time now, and it has reached a point that someone needs to make the announcement," Edelkoort states at the Trendseminar A/W/ 2020/2021 hosted in the Dutch capital. The next thirty years will be all about brown, that’s the main message her seminar aims to communicate. Quite appropriately, the seminar, organised by Appletizer, is titled 'The Brown Age’.

Those with an observing eye will already have noticed plenty of shades of brown in a range of fashion on offer over the past seasons including Celine, Fendi, naturally Burberry, but also Dunhill and Prada.

The main reason for the rise of this colour is due to the growing inspiration from retro trends such as the nineteen seventies vibe. The increasing demand for sustainable and more natural fashion also leaving an opening for brown's neutral tone to return to the shops.

The first thing buyers might think: but black goes with everything and brown will be harder to pair with. Edelkoort makes her point pretty clear: “Brown is in perfect harmony with any other colour, it even results in colours becoming more vibrant, because the neutral tone supports them. Black, on the other hand, overpowers other colours paired with it.”

For those still in shock about Edelkoort’s announcement, the trend forecaster reassures everyone that black won’t be disappearing overnight.

“Fashion will continue to have black accents, black isn’t going to instantly disappear. Brown will be introduced slowly but surely.” A trend which Edelkoort has seen gaining in popularity for several seasons, so she felt that it's finally time to give brown some credit.

Images courtesy of Fendi Men’s AW 2019-20, Celine AW 2019-20, Dries van Noten Men’s AW 2019-20 via Catwalkpictures.

Trend Seminar Lidewij Edelkoort Autumn Winter 2020-21: Brown will be replacing black

The trend forecaster goes on to clarify there’s a great deal of variation within the ‘brown’ concept giving examples of using ecrus, brick and bronze as example shades within this theme. This colour will truly have something for everyone.

Shades of fashion are not the only thing that will be changing according to Edelkoort. Silhouettes will no longer going to be ‘slick and sharp’, heavily associated with black. Instead shapes will focus on giving a ‘warm and cosy’ vibe often associated with neutral shades.

Edelkoort provides some solace to those particularly attached to their black and cooler dark shades, presenting a trend she refers to as ‘sepia’. The seminar touched on a multitude of trends which feature ‘sepia’. “Perfect for anyone finding it hard to move away from black, as sepia is a colder tone of brown."

The disappearance of black will open the way for an adjustment to popular prints, like a floral or a diamond, for example, taking on a completely different look. Whereas a black diamond will often evoke a punk vibe, a diamond in a brown shade will be more associated to a “college” style, which gives off more of a preppy impression.

Colours can change the world of fashion

“There were times when literally no one had a single item of black in their wardrobe, like the nineteen seventies,” the forecaster points out, reassuring the audience that this is not a radical change as it may seem.

The reintroduction of brown has also resulted in the need for fashion to look at fabrics differently. “Brown demands different fabrics - thicker and stronger. Corduroy will become incredibly important, according to Edelkoort. Corduroy has already been making appearances in various different collections during the past seasons.

“Brown is beginning to translate into all manner of different fabrics: proving itself just as versatile as black.”

Edelkoort had no trouble convincing her audience that brown will be the new black. Brown being the ‘on-trend’ color today could be due to seventies inspiration, an increase in workwear, or even a tip to the nineteen thirties trend of brown capes, gloves and hats. Either way: “Brown is waking up from a sabbatical with a vengeance.”

This article was originally published on Fashionunited.NL, translated and edited.

Main photo: Prada AW 2017-18, Burberry AW 2019-20, Pringle of Scotland AW 2019-20 via Catwalkpictures

Lidewij Edelkoort
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