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Forecasting 2022 Fashion Trends

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The new year is upon us, and with that the unyielding monolith that is the fashion industry continues to transmute and adapt to the zeitgeist that governs it. Coronavirus has had a massive impact on fashion at large, and aside from the supply chain issues that continue to plague the industry, the global pandemic has changed things in more ways than imaginable. Quarantine led to a year of comfort and loungewear, and although the pandemic is far from over, 2022’s latest offerings shine with a youthful exuberance that reflects society's craving for excitement once again.

Similar to the roaring 20s in the postwar west, the 20s of the 21st century are providing kindred glitz and glamor. Y2k fashion saw a return in 2021, massively bolstered by TikTok and other social media platforms, as much of Gen Z recalls nostalgic references to early childhood. With a solid portion of the fall-winter shows wrapping up in Milan (still excited for Paris next week), we can now confidently point to some of the major trends for this year.

Color

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Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli/WireImage via Getty Images

This may come as no surprise to some, but vibrant color has made a return in a big way. The vintage and military trends of the past few years resulted in largely muted palettes, possibly in response to the bright neons and rampant logomania of the late 2010s. While there were still plenty of neutrals to be seen on the runway, bright and unexpected color combinations reigned supreme in nearly every collection. 

Showing Skin

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Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

There has been a tremendous upheaval in gender norms in the past several years, and because of this we are now seeing much more androgyny from fashion brands. One of the manifestations of said gender neutrality is the presence of bare skin in menswear collections. Cutouts, crops, and creative geometry all made themselves known on the runway this year, and you can believe that the more confident and adventurous among menswear enjoyers will be following suit.

Nu-prep

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Louis Vuitton SS22 / Kristy Sparow/Getty Images

While nothing really new, the nu-prep look is reaching a fever pitch that can no longer be ignored. Brands like Virgil Abloh's Louis Vuitton and Aimé Leon Dore have led the charge, blurring the line between formalwear and streetwear. With the ALD’s recent minority acquisition by LVMH, it is clear that the masses have taken note and are looking to capitalize. High fashion is no stranger to this either at the moment, as brands mix track suits and varsities with loafers and derbies.

Dressing Big

Things have been big this year. Long gone are the days of skinny jeans, skinny shirts, and skinny suits. The combination of the early 2000s inspirations and comfort-forward trends has led to larger, draping silhouettes for much of the shirts and outerwear. Pants were mostly straight legged, and designers weren’t afraid to let them stack nicely on top of the shoes of the new year. The 5-inch short’s reign seems to be drawing to a close, with many opting for longer, billowier shorts. Even prints are big this year, with at least a few garments in nearly every collection littered with an all over print of some kind. As a nice contrast, we saw quite a few tighter long sleeves and t-shirts this season, complementing the rest of each look.

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Prada FW22 / Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images

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Bianca Saunders FW22 / Peter White/Getty Images

A Little Bit of Shine

Glossy leather, satin, and silk made their presence known this year as many of the shows highlighted textural contrasts alongside their bright colors. Again, brands are tapping into the restless energy of the people and conveying it through brightness and sheen. From Prada’s shiny leather and reflective synthetic fabrics dominating their show to J.W. Anderson’s sequined tops and shorts, high visibility clothing very clearly made noise this year. 

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Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

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Peter White/Getty Images

Obviously, we can't exactly predict the future, but odds are that several of the themes and motifs present in the runway collections of high fashion brands eventually trickle down into the mainstream throughout the year. What's exciting is seeing which of these will really stick.

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