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Major Trends of 2018: The year of revamped classics, easy silhouettes and flamboyant fabrics

by Shubhi Srivastava

08-January-2019  |  11 mins read

The runway trends this year saw a strong influence of the travel lifestyle being imbibed in the wardrobes of consumers. The ensembles were casual and had an easy fit to balance comfort with design sensibility. Bolder prints, decadence, a strong slam of brilliant tones set against darker backdrops were a few highlights when it came to graphics while the fabrics were selected in order to keep utility at the maximum level.

Glossy materials, revamped classics, travel inspired prints and an unconventional pairing up of contrasting silhouettes such as bicycle shorts set against bold-shoulder blazers are in as per trends showcased in 2018. Accessories market also enjoyed profits, as heavily accessorised ensembles will be popular next season with streetwear consolidating its reach across all tiers of the market. The popularity of fanny packs, belt bags and chunky dad shoes were emblematic of the resurgence of Ugly Fashion in the industry.

Overall, the trends called out for bolder, impactful and opulent aesthetics keeping the materials, silhouettes and fabrics minimal and easy.

Yellow Not So Mellow

Colours this year started off with minimal dark hues and earthy tones and were eventually jazzed up with a surge of popping brilliants near the end of 2018. Yellow appeared on Pantone’s Spring 2018 forecast and to validate the same, each collection had at least one all-yellow outfit in its collections offered for the Ready-to-Wear fashion across all the fashion weeks.

Call it mustard, marigold, honey or lemon, the myriad of hues of yellow offer a cheery respite from the moodier tones set by the social unrest dictated by protests, politics and turmoil. With the focus increasingly shifting to the Middle Eastern market, the diversion was a massive sell-out as yellow compliments the brown and wheatish skin tones perfectly.

Coined first as ‘Gen Z Yellow’ by Haley Nahman of Man Repeller, yellow is not a colour that is always easy on the eye, it is action-oriented and can feel sickening if overdone but is also extremely gender non-conforming. This made it perfect for the industry as fashion inched towards becoming all-inclusive and accessible.

Several adaptations of lime and bright yellow stood out over a versatile range of fabrics like leather, PU, cotton, tulle and nylon. Most commonly, the colour shone through unicolour layered outfits with accessories like belts and hats in the same shade, or through art in fashion prints over white outfits going on to gathered asymmetric dresses and athleisure coordinated sets.

Suiting Breaking Norms

Bridging the work and play gap for clothing, strong tailored statements were a repeated sight on the runways for this year. The classic wardrobe assortment was offered in several revisited prints, styles, and unconventional colours, but what stood out the most were the modified pattern details.

Deconstructed and reimagined silhouettes were a part of the tailored offerings with altered design details such as hip cut-outs, jackets with wrap waist extensions, hybrids of the skirt-suit and pantsuit, asymmetrical fronts and the best of the Spring/Summer season – the short suits that paired formal shorts and bikini tops with power-suits and straight-cut blazers.

With dramatic waistlines using cinched silhouettes accentuated with sheers, many designers went for the curved feminine look while others played with several pale and poppy colours and floral prints to keep this trend up for Autumn/Winter. Vintage Victorian-era long mermaid silhouette skirts were paired with button-downs in gem hues. Progressive fashion had its share too as overcoat belted dresses and open front shirts with pants and fringe details were very common. The revamped suiting edit had it all.

Fanny Packs For Utility

The old school fanny pack went for a complete revival this year, making a strong statement for the resurgence of Ugly Fashion this year. This utility-led versatile bag was rebranded as a bum bag, or belt bag, or waist bag and retailed by major retailers and brands ranging from sporty names such as Nike to luxury players such as Burberry and Dior.

The sudden surge of refined designs and versions tap onto the consumers of today – the millennials and Gen Z, signalling a lift in new arrivals at 120 per cent and a growth in sell-outs to 359 per cent in Q2 of this year, as compared to that in Q2 of 2017. New trends suggest that the sell-out amongst genders is equal, with the latest trend suggesting a new way to wear it – slung across the body/chest and over the shoulder, rather than the traditional way of belting it at the waist. According to data reported by NPD, from September 2016 to September 2017, sales of fanny packs or belt bags grew more than 10 per cent and hit US $ 100 million.

The rise of streetwear might be partly responsible for the huge success being enjoyed by this accessory right now. Consumers were attracted to the casual fashion statement that celebrates the confluence of all the three parameters of comfort, practicality and convenience.

That’s So Gloss

Sparkling sequins, glittering crystals and dazzling metallic have been on the forefront of fashion for the past few seasons. For this year, glossy fabrics were an easy go-to on the runways with several variations in fabrics serving desk to dining and occasion-wear looks.

Sequins, big and small, were flashed in overflowing silhouettes and pattern details such as exaggerated knots, capes and a myriad of fabric manipulations such as ruffles, ruched fabrics and gatherings. The most common colour for the sequins was iridescent which PVC fabrics adopted as well, with S/S 2018’s high trending plastic, water-repelling materials dipped in popping bright surface as a huge hit for the approaching season.

Glossy vinyl was also a lustrous fabric designers turned to as several celebrities and fashion influencers adorned their version of latex and rubber dresses while runways witnessed the fabric being used extensively over a range of outerwear jackets and boxy dresses, going away from the usual body accentuating silhouettes. Metallic fabrics in bright shades such as ruby reds and silvers were utilised for coordinated sets and pantsuits as well.

Shorts For All

Image Courtesy: fashionweek.se

As the affinity towards shorter lengths was established across the globe, shorts were a hot hit this year. Presented in an expansive assortment of different lengths, fits and fabrics, shorts were adorned by men or women, tall, short, in light fabrics, or heavy draped finishes, or accessorised with chunky belts and corsets.

Varying from extremely meagre lengths to Bermuda versions, shorts were coordinated with almost every ensemble – whether as an easy-breezy Spring/Summer look with crocheted kaftans and silk cover-ups or as a contrasting Fall ensemble with chunky outerwear paired with short inside garments. Crotch hugging silhouette was a popular trend when it came to these small length bottomwear keeping in line with the androgynous trend that almost every fashion week seemed to be following.

Grading up from extremely short shorts to bicycle shorts, the sudden influx of the knee-length fitted shorts was not just limited to casual attires and athleisure as per convention as it was seen in occasion, outdoor, even formal attires this season. A more elevated approach taken for the trend were crisp tailored shorts coordinated with jacket in plaids, tweeds, and rexine and cargo materials with utility pockets. Coordinated sets in prints or solids were also present in significant numbers.

Tropicals x Florals

Tropical prints flooded the market this year in conjugation with the growing laid-back yet vibrant, luxurious vacation mode of lifestyle of the consumers. AOP motifs such as lush palm leaves, bright coral reefs and exotic birds and animals were not only slammed on garments but also saw a reach in the home décor and soft furnishing market.

The year saw a beautiful amalgamation of tropical prints and florals that went from extreme bright hues to conform to moodier orientations. In darker shades like black, maroon and deeper shades of green and peacock blue, florals and lush leafy tropical motifs were paired with contrasting motifs such as geometrical patterns, circles, etc. and transformed the use of such prints from daywear to evening occasion wear.

Dissimilitude patterns like impressionist brushstrokes for florals and leafy motifs were set against geometrical prints alongside ensembles that showed complementing lines with plaids and stripes.