I discovered these fashion trend discussions down at the Outdoor Retailer show a few years ago and have gone to them now every show for inspiration to my graphic design work.
They usually center around a few inspiring future stories like space exploration, or the Olympics, and create an entire look complete with colors, fabrics, and a style that reinforces that inspiring story.
This year I started seeing a big picture emerge and that’s what I wanted to write about today. I should also mention that I am severly unqualified to talk about any of this. It’s a hack job at best. Anyway..
The future in fashion trend panel started with a look at rethinking about what the outdoors means. More people are moving to cities, and in 30 years we will see ~70% of the world’s population living in urban environments. The urban outdoors needs to be a consideration with these outdoor companies.
The big discussion in the room centered around creating something that looks high fashion but functions like performance gear. Outlier was mentioned multiple times as a company that is excelling at that. Outdoor companies are coming from performance centered and high fashion is coming from.. looking good? The middle ground has not yet been met according to the room.
Outlier was also mentioned as a brand that is starting to pull influences from the lightweight backpacking movement. Because more people are living in cities and commuting by foot or bike now we need gear and clothing that is minimal and lightweight to make it easy for us to get around.
Also, one of the panelists was using a desert inspiration story to showcase a possible future trend. When asked about why we are seeing more desert inspiration this season another panelist Jeanine Pesce (@depescemode) commented that trends are about extremes. I will get to this point more in a second.
In a fashion presentation later that day, they were pulling inspiration from the occupy movement, anonymous, using a militant + techno twist to tell a fashion future story.
All of this is starting to sound pretty bleak to me. You’ve got worst case climate change influencing our looks through a mad-max desert future looking glass. There is uncertainty about November, and corruption at the top influencing a militant look. We’re all moving to mega-cities, influencing our need to double-up on fashion and performance-wear, and needing lightweight gear so we can move around all day. Where is the bright future? Where are the happy dreams?
It seems to be coming in two forms. One is a preppy, 1%-erish, glamping style that wants people to get back to their roots and meditate on a better tomorrow free of smog and gas-guzzling trucks.
The other (and for me, more exciting) hopeful dream is coming from high-tech fabrics like Colombia’s omni-freeze, data-gathering apps and devices like the Nike Fuel band, and Energy-creating accessories like backpacks and shoes that can power up our devices. These nano-tech fabrics and devices being developed right now will make us stronger, more resilient, and better prepared to deal with the current state of affairs.
The big picture story: Everything is screwed, but not to worry, technology will save us!
I realize that this view is probably just a reflection of my own fears and dreams but it was fun to put together a big picture poetic story.