In our January content series How to Get Dressed Again, Who What Wear UK is all about the idea that it's not about a “brand-new you,” but a “best you—full stop.” Emerging out of hibernation and back into normality only to own every room, we're looking at the methods, ideas, tricks and inspiration that guide you into 2018 in the softest, calmest and kindest-to-yourself ways. Forget fads and racing to the finish line. This is all about one clever step at a time and setting yourself up for an entirely stylish year.
We're not ones to be bossy about what you should and shouldn't buy, so don't read the below story as "you must burn everything from 2017 immediately." This piece of content stems from the movements and predictions happening in the highest, cleverest, most analytical echelons of the fashion retail industry—below are some suggestions for what's going to be big news in 2018 based on what was important last year. And last year's pieces absolutely still stand up. The info has come to us via the retail analytics company Edited and its Retail Analysis & Insights Director, Katie Smith. The team there have tirelessly crunched last year's data to shed some light on how the major trends of the past 12 months—from colours and details through to actual shopping habits—are going to shape the next.
So based on an analysis of over 650 million global apparel, accessory and footwear products online, here's what Edited has come up with. And guess what? Many of the ideas align with the looks and trends we've also hedged bets on for S/S 18. Keep reading to see the headline retail trends—and shop some of our favourite pieces to fulfill them.
"Move over, Millennial Pink, because 2018's colour will be a lighter take on neon yellow," says Katie. "We want our clothes to be brighter, lighter and more cheerful."
"This trend is directly influenced by the impact of street and workwear. Hot brands like Off-White and Gosha Rubchinskiy have used the iconography of street signage in their prints and apparel, and Kanye West’s Yeezy line and Nike have picked up on the references. We'll see a wider range of women's and men's apparel picking up the lead on yellow in 2018, as well as the shade being referenced in branding and campaigns, just as we saw with Millennial Pink."
"At a time when the global political climate is fractious, there's comfort in a certain kind of nostalgia.The '80s were a time of economic boom, when fashion and lifestyles were fast and frivolous," explains Katie. "With millennials delaying home purchases and starting families, they have high disposable incomes, which revisits some of that '80s hedonism. The '80s is somewhat akin to pure escapism from the harsh realities of life."
"Key pieces next season will include masculine checks on power suits, more asymmetry, metallic fabrics and the return of the super-functional fanny pack. On the spring 2018 runways, these came in both formal and casual looks."
"Consumers are demanding an ethical outlook from brands and retailers. Having a truly authentic position on the environment will differentiate the brands that connect with millennial and Gen Z consumers from those that won’t," says Katie. "When Gucci—as one of the most influential brands in the world right now—announced in October 2017 that it will be banning fur from spring 2018, the industry will have sat up and listened. In a climate where social media campaigns can go viral, brands will be thinking incredibly carefully about the environmental and social impact of the products they create. We expect many luxury brands to follow Gucci’s lead next year. Consumers will also become more clued up about sustainable down, vegan leather and lab silk."
"'Dare-to-bare' areas of flesh are a trend of their own in fashion. In recent season we’ve seen cropped shapes place emphasis on abs and then cold-shoulder styles shift focus to exposed shoulders. Next to take the spotlight is the bust. Autumn 2017 saw not only the return of the corset but also slogan T-shirts, which placed motifs like watermelons on the breast area," says Katie.
"This focus on this area of the female form will increase as we head into 2018, and spring 2018’s runways weren't short of options. Alexander Wang, Helmut Lang and Fendi all integrated bras into tops and dresses, focusing on structures outside of the garment. Prada, Versace, Louis Vuitton and Dolce & Gabbana showed bralettes worn over tees and dresses or paired with high-waisted skirts. External seams, corset details and sheers will add to the buzz around the breast! This will be done in an inclusive way—gone are the years of everyone seeking a plumped-up shape, as declines in push-up bras show."
"Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's 2018 wedding will ramp up conversation on summer occasionwear on both sides of the pond. You can expect retailers and the magazine industry to go all-in on content in the lead-up to May, with much scrutiny on the bride's and attendees' outfits after the event," says Katie, adding that "those looking to mimic a touch of Meghan's red carpet style will opt for clean lines, with plunging necklines and jewel tones."
"Enhanced functionality—clothes that move beyond athleisure, incorporating technical properties into daily dress" are of great importance says Katie. "Consumers today travel further afield and more frequently live in increasingly busy cities and have more varied and flexible work lives. At the same time, our apparel has greatly enhanced technical properties, and we’re more informed about health and wellness than ever before. It follows naturally that consumers will demand more from their apparel." And that's way beyond just activewear. This "will result in clothing that responds better to the weather, that travels well and is hyper-versatile. This could also impact convenience services for post-purchase care of apparel."