Utility Meets Freedom: Spring/Summer 2020 Menswear Trends

by Anjori Grover Vasesi

08-July-2019  |  10 mins read


The sun has risen for Spring/Summer 2020 with international menswear showcases taking the lead, and the theme this season more or less resounded the plight of our environment today.

It is no surprise that the fashion industry is one of the major polluting industries in the world. Right from its manufacturing processes to its waste disposal – it alarmingly damages the environment and also poses threat to life by the use of hazardous chemicals and toxic products.

From the industrial wasteland created at Zegna to the plastic bottle-filled sea ceiling at Marni and Fendi’s trek through botanical woods… Milan was evocative of our dying planet and the damage caused by man. The invitation for Numero 00’s show was made with a plastic-like material constructed entirely of corn… All these shifts signal a huge undertone that was prevalent on the runways.

Natural and organic fabrics in shades of green, khaki, bleached out pastels and mustards dominated the Spring/Summer 2020 stage with designers and high fashion brands such as Fendi, Giorgio Armani, Craig Green, among many others utilising the said trends. Prints and patterns focused on natural and botanical motifs evocative of healthy surroundings.

At Ermenegildo Zegna, Alessandro Sartori, Creative Director of the brand said that the company is working on recovering waste and producing clothes and recycled plastic-based materials. Out of the 48 looks that the brand showcased, 10 were made by utilising 100 per cent upcycled materials.

At London, inclusivity shined forth as the city served as a platform that embraced varied talents. Kicking off with Bulgaria-born Kiko Kostadinov and closing with Chinese designer Feng Chen Wang, London Fashion Week nurtured diversity.

Feng Chen Wang filled a lofty gallery space lined with sheer draped curtains, bamboo scaffolding and piles of chalky powder to showcase a light, breezy layering that posed as a counteract against neon-orange separates and acid-washed denim jackets.

Multiple pockets, relaxed workwear and cargo pants pointed towards the utilitarian axis which indicates minimising resources by aiding functionality, whilst satin overcoats, sleeveless blazers, oversized preppy shirts and boxer shorts provided breathable, fluid and roomy answers to summer’s sweltering temperatures.

Avant-gardism was injected through Craig Green’s conceptual and colourful collections which deployed the use of leathers and PVC. The standout look contained an outfit crafted out of paper lanterns in neon shades, laser-cut with doily-like motifs, pointing yet again to the beauty lost between the damage – which is our responsibility as an industry, to curb.

Read on to discover the top 8 trends that are setting the tone for Spring/Summer 2020, straight from the recently concluded London and Milanese runways.

Satin Struck

Satin Struck
Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, Charles Jeffrey, Dolce and Gabbana, Kiko Kostadinov and Saint Laurent

Taking a cue from the womenswear runways, satin is trending under materials for the upcoming Spring/Summer 2020 season.

The close weaves of the satin fabric lend it a glossy and fluid surface. Though the most popular style is raked up by satin shirts, designers such as Charles Jeffrey, showcased the glossy fabric over floor-grazing capes, two-piece suits and frock coats, whilst Saint Laurent utilised it for harem pants.

Edward Crutchley and Kiko Kostadinov, on the other hand, experimented by incorporating high-shine finishes with patterned shirts, head dresses and hammered jockey bombers.

Cargo To Go

Dolce and Gabbana, Fendi, Feng Chen Wang and Liam Hodges

Utility and functionality were the talking points of the runway presentations at London and Milan.

A mainstay throughout many designer presentations, cargo pants featured at Liam Hodge, Acne Studios, Craig Green, Qasimi and Jordanluca among others.

Features this season include bigger pockets with flap closures, drawstring ties and loose, fluid silhouettes. Jordanluca experimented by introducing cargo pants with slits while Liam Hodge played safe with wide leg forms.

The colour palette is dominant of mostly earthy tones, greens, khakis and mustards.

Whitened Pastels

Chalayan, Fashion East, Feng Chen Wang and Prada

Taking over electric neons and power shades such as Millennial Pink and Ultraviolet, we have an updated case for Spring’s favourite – pastels. Washed out and bleached versions are at the forefront for Spring/Summer 2020, signalling a relaxed, carefree vibe.

Bleached pastels provide a wearable alternative to the heavy influx of saturated brights and neons in the market. Whitened finishes of concrete pink, banana sorbet and honeydew prevail over key pieces such as jersey, tech and wovens for an ultra-lightweight summer aesthetic.


Dsquared2, Emporio Armani, Feng Chen Wang and Munn

Transparency has been at the forefront of fashion since the past 4 seasons. Taking it up a notch higher, we see numerous designers embracing the theme not only in their assortments, but in their manufacturing practices as well.

This season, designers at London and Milan experimented with see-through coats, jackets and windcheaters, opaque shirts and sheer tracksuits.

Qasimi presented diaphanous pink tracksuits, Fendi stunned with its collection of utility jackets and windcheaters, Craig Green played with ruching techniques and neons, John Lawrence Sullivan experimented with black mesh T-shirts, whilst Charles Jeffrey decorated his see-through shirts with applique motifs.

Oversized Camp Shirts

Charles Jeffrey, Dolce and
Gabbana, Edward Crutchley, Fendi and Iceberg

The oversized boxy bowling shirt is fashion’s favourite item this summer.

Oversized, billowing silhouettes, open camp collars and loosely fit, short sleeves provide the perfect answer for summer’s scorching heat.

Chalayan, Fendi and Edward Crutchley reinterpreted this classic with summer-ready fabrics in soft tones and summer approved floral prints. Buttoned up or worn open, theses roomy shirts worked best with Bermuda shorts.

Go With the Flow

Dolce and Gabbana, Edward Crutchley, Munn and Saint Laurent

Oversized shorts, fluid jackets, floor grazing capes, roomy pants and billowing trousers – all signal one important thing – the silhouettes of Spring/Summer 2020 are larger than life.

Fluid, free-flowing silhouettes allow ample room to breathe and move in the hotter months, thereby posing as just the required remedy for tackling the season.

From floaty silk shirts at Giorgio Armani and Edward Crutchley to the drawstring cinched shirts at Feng Chen Wang and the wide-leg silk harem pants and wraparound shirts at Saint Laurent, one message roared loud and clear – go big, or go home!

A Zest for Vests

Fendi, Martin Rose, Pal, Prada and Stefan Cooke

Initially reserved for intimates made to be worn as underclothing or at the beach, the vest has transitioned into publically acceptable stylish piece of clothing.

No longer confined to the bedroom – the vest is a key piece under resort, street as well as vacation clothing.

Prada presented vests crafted out of shirting fabrics, Qasimi and Fendi presented knitted vests whilst Saint Laurent went for silk vests – leaving consumers spoilt for choice this season.

Pick Pockets

A Cold Wall, Dolce and Dabbana, Fendi, Marni and Tods

A theme ringing loud and clear this season is utility and functionality mixed with the great outdoors.

For Spring/Summer 2020, pockets are BIG – and when we say BIG, we aren’t only referring to the scope or size, we are also referring to numbers. Multiple pockets are everywhere, aiding in functionality.

Multiple pocketed overcoats, cargo pants, shell jackets, trenches and even bags were spotted at Band Of Outsiders, Fendi, Kiko Kostadinov, Charles Jeffrey and Prada among many others.

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