Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
In advance of some very uncertain times, we asked trend forecasters to look into their crystal balls to see what the future holds for retail. These are people whose job it is to know what’s coming next — even though people in the forecasting business aren’t doing so hot — but it’s all heavily influenced by what’s happened in the very recent past.
For the upcoming year, trend forecasters believe that designers and trends will be incredibly reactive to the massive surprises we’ve seen in politics — namely, the election of Trump and Brexit. If they’re correct, this will manifest itself in all sorts of different ways, including clothing and accessories that are loud and colorful, or that have a heavy focus on being eco-friendly. See those and the rest of their predictions below.
A Return to Artisan Craftsmanship
Trend forecasting is far from an exact science, but Fashion Snoops’s creative director of menswear Michael Fisher believes the election “will put a new interest on lost trades and how to reinvent them again with the complement of modern technology.”
What does that mean for things you should buy? Fisher points to the artist Ben Venom, who makes quilts with punky colorful slogans, as one example. You probably can’t buy those unless you have Art Collector Money, but there are similar things out there with bold graphics that’ll allow you to recreate the look. Something along the lines of Forever 21’s Patched Satin Baseball Jacket ($34.90) if you’re on a budget, or Dries Van Noten’s Reversible Shell And Printed Satin Bomber Jacket ($1,310) if you’re not.
WGSN’s senior menswear editor Jian DeLeon echoes that sentiment and predicts pieces that “balance quality construction with a reverence for tradition,” inspired and influenced by Asian, Middle Eastern, and African textiles and designs, are going to be popular as well.
This means souvenir jackets embellished with intricate embroidery, like this one from ASOS ($50), is a trend that’ll remain strong. Meanwhile “collarless noragi cardigans” similar to this Brain Dead Noragi Chore Coat ($120) are on the rise thanks to this focus on traditional Asian clothing.
An Outpouring of Optimism
Fisher envisions “a wave of optimism on the horizon, a direct reaction to the fear mongering and alienation expressed over the last year.” This manifests itself in a section Fisher describes as “a bizarre exploration in psychedelic surf and grandpa grunge” — which is just a great phrase — and speaks to rainbows of pretty happy colors applied to things like knit sweaters.
Fisher expects that we’ll continue to embrace this maximalism trend with a ton of brightness and funky neon colors. Look to get in on the trend by snapping up Saint Laurent’s new trendy Jacquard Wool Sweater ($990) or really anything with this technicolor shark on it — like a Canvas Backpack ($1,150) or Leather Pouch ($695). Or maybe try this Forever 21 Satin Souvenir Bomber Jacket ($33) and these Vans in Neon Pink ($37.99).
Wearing Clothes That Don’t Murder the Planet
Expect a push to organic, sustainably-made clothing, or pieces designed with experimental fabrics. Fisher sees a big trend in “using organic surfaces, recycled and repurposed fabrics, and a renewed focus on actually making things in the USA.”
Everybody is making the first T-shirt out of 100 percent recycled cotton and calling it the Classic Trash Tee ($25). Adidas’s Parley collection uses plastic recovered from the ocean to make sportswear, including these Ultraboost Uncaged “Crystal White” Sneakers ($180). New Balance is in a particularly sticky spot, because if politics are going to heavily influence what we wear, that might not shake out well for the pro-Trump company. However, this might be an excellent time for its “Made in the USA” shoes, like these New Balance for J.Crew 1400 Sneakers ($170).
A Different Sort of Suit
Moving away from politics, DeLeon says “there's a ‘return-to-roots’ movement happening as notions of classic menswear are re-examined and filtered through a lens of inclusivity and comfort.” He believes suiting is about to get much more relaxed so that tailored clothing can have a place among our new, more casual and athletic wardrobes.
Both Fisher and DeLeon point out chunky, or “wide wale” (referring to the cords or ridges), corduroy pants, like these Brooks Brothers Clark Fit Wide Wale Corduroys ($81). This Incotex Brown Unstructured Houndstooth Blazer ($975) would be another welcome addition to your wardrobe.
Adidas Will Continue to Ascend
If we’re just talking about individual brands, DeLeon advises that you don’t take your eyes off Adidas. “Its recent XBYO line shows the company's penchant for mixing sportswear with a certain fashion sensibility and accessible price point,” he says.