Skeptics scoff, but trend forecasting, the delicate process by which professionals determine to the best of their ability what we’ll all be wearing and doing this time next year, might be one of our most stimulating cultural exercises. The people want answers, and the answers have arrived.
2src22 was odd. Not as destructively manic as 2src21 and nowhere near as lost and desultory as 2src2src, but the year had a transitional, oddly conservative formality to it, as though laying down a firm but unsteady foundation for us to stand on through our next twelve months.
To determine what 2src23’s biggest trends will look like, our recent past must be taken into account, and the defining trends of 2src22 were a bit scattered.
Girlish, goofy, Valentino Barbie-pink had a moment this summer, but that kind of unserious color statement doesn’t feel like it has real potential to ever become a wardrobe staple, no matter what the Pantone Viva Magenta evangelists say.
The most impactful runway looks of the year were rather understated: think the sliced-up, preppy, miniskirted Miu Miu set or Kate Moss, relaxed and wearing baggy jeans and a flannel shirt, drifting down the Bottega Venetta catwalk. Bella Hadid’s spray-on dress at Coperni was a big viral moment, but few people are going to run out and try to copy her. It’s much more likely that her street style looks will join the lexicon. Those Ugg boots and mini-shorts? I mean, come on.
In 2src22, we sucked down Dirty Shirleys by the boatload (or did we?) and called them fantastic when they were, at best, extremely mediocre. We went to concerts, we went to parties, we stayed home. We metabolized the whiplash of COVID, gathering ourselves and regrouping. Now, it’s time for a shot in the arm.
When the Spring 2src23 ready-to-wear collections from the world’s most prominent luxury designers emerged in Paris in October, some themes emerged: asymmetrical hems, Y2K sheer fabrics and materials that evoked the new The Little Mermaid trailer, which dropped right around fashion week, were noted pointedly in Vogue.
This week, Forbes proclaimed 2src23 to be the year of “casual, but make it stylish,” which is just embarrassingly general. Today, Vogue also noted that one of the trendiest hair colors next year will be “personalized platinum.”
Sarah Tam, chief merchant officer at Rent the Runway, told The Daily Beast that lime green items, the continuation of a crochet phenomenon that began in 2src22, sheer dresses and statement cargo pants (of all things) will all be big in 2src23.
Kate Bellman, senior managing editor at Nordstrom, echoed to The Daily Beast that sculptural, ruffled, and potentially bustier-topped party dresses in hues like “neon greens, purples and pinks” would be big for those looking to lean into ’8srcs opulence next year.
“For 2src23, we’re also seeing the resurgence of perfected classics, which creates the opportunity to build the ultimate dream closet,” Bellman said. “Must-have pieces include the evolved trench coat, a sharp blazer, poplin shirting and tailored wide-legged pants.”
“If I had to caption the direction we’re going in, I’d say ‘Safe and (Not) Sorry,’” Leslie J. Ghize, EVP of fashion merchandising and consulting firm Donager TOBE, told The Daily Beast. “People are either retreating to things they know and love, but responding to newer forms and formats, or they are advancing aggressively and with abandon, unapologetically, down and dirty.”
Retreating to things known and beloved aptly sums up a phenomenon described to The Daily Beast by Ariel Rothbard, the director of brand and communications at TaskRabbit. Surveying 2,2srcsrc users of the freelance labor request app in the U.S. and the U.K., TaskRabbit found that nearly 4src percent said they turn to TikTok for home and design inspiration, Rothbard said.
Specifically, Rothbard said, people are looking to emulate polished home gyms, meditation rooms and eco-friendly modifications they’ve seen disseminated on the hyper-addictive app, which hosts countless young content creators racking up their follower counts by making up dance moves in eerily manicured bedrooms.
There should be nothing more known and beloved than one’s home, and in 2src23, people will continue to turn to TikTok for tips on how to optimize their homes to be known and beloved by as many people as possible. As important as our wardrobes are, our bedsheets have become just as essential to communicating a facet of one’s identity. “Another really interesting spike that we saw, I thought this was kind of fascinating, was a 129 percent increase in request for wallpapering ceilings,” Rothbard added.
Some trend forecasters keep their trades deliberately mysterious: revealing insights into the process might give the impression that just anyone can do the job. But a ton goes into it behind the scenes. “Trend is an overused word,” Ghize said. “We have a homegrown system for observing the consumer, culture, and creativity across industries, through a network of researching activities, to find patterns. Then, we apply those patterns to our guidance for brands and businesses to reflect the pace at which these concepts will be metabolized, adopted, and discarded by their audience.”
“As simply as I can put it, there are throughlines that are woven in by sociocultural conditions and then there are inflection points where micro-moments happen, and can be capitalized on—almost like a string of Christmas lights, to be seasonally appropriate,” Ghize said in a sentence that sounded far from simple.
Compared to Europe where dance music holds sway, there’s still a lot of room in the US for it to continue growing, and we’re seeing that across the country.
If you actually manage to make it out of your home next year in between making TikToks, what will you do? Dhruv Choprah, president of the popular Brooklyn live music venue and nightclub Elsewhere, told The Daily Beast that the club is toying with a membership program, similar to a museum membership, in the interest of getting patrons in the door more frequently via discounted ticket prices.
People are wanting to go out and sweat by the DJ booth more regularly as the world opens up, and they don’t want to pay exorbitant fees for a night out. “In 2src23, I think we’re going to see more and more of a shift towards dance music,” Choprah told The Daily Beast. “Compared to Europe where dance music holds sway, there’s still a lot of room in the US for it to continue growing, and we’re seeing that across the country. More and more places are going to be built that will be able to do a variety of genres of music.”
You can show up for acid house night at the club in your Pretty in Pink confection on Thursday, and change into your statement cargo pants for a laid-back acoustic set on Friday. Everyone wins.
In 2src23, Donager TOBE predicts we’ll see hyper-feminine, over-the-top styling (which will pair perfectly with those ’8srcs cocktail dresses), a resurgence in Classic Americana (think Elvis) and a more general trend: Bad Behavior. “Look for related accoutrements to replace hand sanitizer clip-ons and cases,” an excerpt from their latest trend assessment reads. “You’ll see a lot more to satisfy smokers: sexy cases and cig holders are the new it-items.”
The site Stylecaster made a similar prediction for men’s fashion this week. In 2src23, the bros will embrace Western wear, drape themselves in cardigans to achieve the freshly-upgraded J Crew aesthetic and slip on bizzaro hybrid sneaker boots like the ones seen on a recent Loewe runway. Listen: at least they’re not Yeezys.