MICAM, the footwear industry’s key international trade event, reaffirms its role as a fashion forecaster thanks to research carried out by WGSN on the trends expected to dominate next year’s autumn-winter season.
1. Considered comfort, inspired by soft, comfortable materials for an indoor-outdoor look that pushes dress-code boundaries; 2. Tech-tility, which focuses on the relationship between actual and virtual reality and uses tech materials and innovation to create futuristic accessories; 3. Reconstructed Legacy, which looks to the past to find new solutions for the future, with a strong focus on sustainability.
1. Considered comfort
Considered Comfort explores the new relationship between fashion and the home: multi-purpose accessories are becoming more and more popular (just think about slippers, which are now considered ‘cool’ enough to wear outside), and comfort is paramount. We will be seeing a lot of soft, natural and tactile materials, and shapes that cocoon and cuddle. The concept of hybrid footwear will be explored, such as blending slipper shapes with something more premium, inspired by ballerina shoes.
Considered Comfort reflects a shift in customer expectations, with consumers becoming increasingly focused on their choice of clothing. Whether at home, at work or for an evening out, the important thing is to be comfortable and well-dressed. With the suit becoming more casual and streetwear more stylish, the result is a redefined concept of “informal elegance”. Active and athleisure trends continue to influence footwear: the by now ubiquitous hybrid shoes are updated with futuristic trims and pop-colour accents. Meanwhile, more traditional colours combined with modern styles create a look that has broad appeal and suits everyone.
The dividing lines between real and virtual, authentic and false, truth and fantasy are becoming increasingly blurred. Tech-tility explores the way the clothing industry approaches this issue. The more time we spend in front of the screen, the harder it is to distinguish between what is real and what is digital, and more importantly, we are not interested in understanding the difference.
The colours will be those of the digital world, chosen as much as for how they appear on the screen as how they look in real life; innovation and high-tech materials will be at the centre of attention with ‘smart’ fabrics that respond to movement and regulate body temperature.
This evolution will give our clothes a more fantastical look; just think of sportswear’s futuristic or gender-neutral styles, structured activewear that re-shapes the body or the conceptual outerwear and sneakers that wouldn’t look out of place on the moon.
In this new scenario, the everyday will become more extreme and tech more tactile: it’s time to rethink design conventions. Men’s fashions have always included a mix of different designs, and with its blend of real and virtual the Tech-tility trend stretches such concepts even further and becomes crucial for this market. While younger customers are now discovering tailoring, innovations in textiles and techniques will make even the most formal office attire easier and more comfortable to wear. The trend explores designs, materials and colours that stand out on video screens. Print stories are inspired by glitches and digital debris while iridescent dichroic details create ephemeral and otherworldly effects. Shoes with sporty trims explode with fluorescent colours, as a constant reminder of the trend’s “active” origins.
3. Reconstructed Legacy
In periods of instability, the past takes on an irresistible allure. Reconstructed Legacy explores how clothing will reinterpret the past in the light of the future, but in a more sustainable way.
We can expect classic, preppy styles to be energised by a more edgy, even punky, streetwear look, with materials and details taken from the past and reinterpreted with tech fabrics and more modern shapes.
Underpinning these new designs will be an intrinsic sense of value and history. The point will be to do better, and not more, because sustainability is becoming an increasingly urgent issue for all of us.
With the rise of the digital culture, as far as the fashion industry is concerned the past has always represented a stable point of reference in a continually changing world. But in 2021, even the traditions of the past will be brought up-to-date.
Male consumers love buying products with a history and the Reconstructed legacy trend panders to this preference: classic models reworked to adapt to more modern life-styles that respect nature. Great attention is given to well-designed, familiar and eco-friendly accessories.
The use of artisanal techniques not only for formal clothing but also luxury streetwear, gives the latter a timeless appeal and, potentially, turns it into a classic that will last forever .