January snuck up on us this year—but hopefully the palate of your imagination is refreshed and you’re ready for another ride. A new year also means it’s time for creatives to look ahead at the trend forecast for 2018 and get busy.
I’ve been doing research on 2018 fashion, and the overarching sensibility I’m seeing is that trends are moving way faster than ever. This is largely due to social media producing a “style of the minute” in real time. As fast as you can hashtag one trend, there’s something else waiting in the wings. As designers, we’re all wrestling with creating something lasting amid this constant newness. My best advice is to keep your voice authentic—even as we dip our toes in different style frameworks. Of course, authenticity can mean anything, and the current fashion paradigm relies heavily on the nuance of personal style. This is the secret to success for Instagram “influencers” and youths with an inordinate number of followers.
So to be clear: My first forecast of 2018 is fairly nebulous. Be yourself.
As for prolific garment trends, I have definite favorites—such as the midi (T-length or cropped) trouser pant. It’s a classic silhouette across the board for trousers: same fit and flare as a traditional chino pant, but this year, you’ll see them cropped up to mid-shin, flare and all. It’s a super fun spin on a professional look, and since statement socks are another major trend, it allows expressive footwear to add to the overall look. We’re seeing this trend on major runways and from larger retailers, but regionally, I’m seeing designer Laurs Kemp make the most of it with beautiful tailored pants in a stunning color story. I’ve been following Kemp for a while now, and every year she raises the bar. I’m loving her powerful, feminine two-piece suits.
Another trend I’m way into is the random pom-pom appliqué added to staple basics. We’re seeing pom-poms on footwear, sweatshirts, and even pants—and when done right, it’s SO cute. I also predict bewilderment about how to properly launder such objects.
The last two years have also been dominated by the jumpsuit, and from what I see it won’t be leaving any time soon. In fact, I think we’ll be seeing even more pronounced jumpsuits that will bend either toward utility—such as Carhartt femme fitted overalls and the perfect assortment of coveralls you’ll find at Wildfang—and thicker denim textile jumpsuits. On the other end of the spectrum, we’ll also be seeing more ornate and whimsical jumpsuit styles in bold prints and bright colors. There will be sequined jumpsuits... yes, there will.
In the vein of bright colors, I recoil at the thought of major international runways featuring Hawaiian shirts in their menswear lines. I can’t say I’m on board. My one exception would be if one of these trend-setting companies could recreate Leonardo DiCaprio’s shirt from Romeo + Juliet—then and only then would I come around to this trend. I suspect, however, that what we’ll actually see is a lot more rayon Hawaiian-print shirts tucked into mid-waist trousers. I look forward to being convinced otherwise.
Another trepidatious forecast for 2018 is the Pantone color of the year: Ultra Violet. This color reads as Lisa Frank purple and reminds me distinctly of the early ’90s in a bad way. I’m curious to see how designers will approach it. Nearly every year, I shudder at the Pantone announcement, and by spring, I’ve come around and am fully on board. We’ll see what happens with purple; I do know that Portland line Copper Union has won my favor on statement purple in their Palm Print Stevie Shrug which somehow balances the vivacity of the color with an elegant, understated black floral motif.
The final trend I must acknowledge is a social phenomenon I’ve personally (very recently) experienced: Many creatives are having babies! At first I thought it was just my new-mom point of view making me notice an uptick in parenthood within creative circles—but for anyone attending this year’s holiday cycle of design-driven fairs, it was undeniable that children. were. everywhere. Subsequently, many companies were inspired by these bright and spirited little humans; baby and children’s goods are clearly taking the stage. This has been true on major runways, such as the Balenciaga preview, in which male models walked the runway with children in tow, and it was a beautiful element. Keep your eyes peeled for independent manufacturers making high-quality, high-design baby goods.