Impressions of Antwerp Fashion Week: Trends and their impact on how we will dress, buy and perform
Antwerp Fashion week, 2 days of trends, catwalks, designer collections and networking. On the 18th and 19th July brands and designers presented their collections for spring/summer 2022 spread across the entire the Belgian capital of fashion, Antwerp. As a trend and creative fashion agency, we had the opportunity to be front row to discover the future trends. We analyzed and find some interesting trends that will have an impact on how we will dress, buy and perform.
The influence of the pandemic
What is striking is the impact of the pandemic on future trends. Even though we would have liked to see a positive view of the future, clothes for SS2022 will still be more comfortable and baggier. For this summer season, people were expected to prefer to dress up more after the corona crisis would be over. But the pandemic still has a great impact on our daily life. So, for 2022 the fashion is defined on a thin line between conveying the impression of despair and surrendering and on the other hand spreading hope for a successful future focused on the conflation of success, comfort and sustainability. The manner how to interpret the change in fashion is in the eye of the beholder.
Casualization is not an invention of COVID-19 as said by Achim Berg in The McKinsey podcast episode “The postpandemic state of fashion”. It’s a trend that has been around for a long time – and has, of course, speeded up since March 2020. What started with casual Fridays, didn’t just stay on Fridays but also Monday to Thursday. Working from home also has an impact on how you dress, as you are not confronted with the regulations that apply at the office. The trend was clearly still present in the new collections for next summer. Suit trousers with an elasticated waistband to make working from home more comfortable, looser fits, comfy knits and soft neutrals with a pop of colour here and there to liven things up were the most striking recurring elements in the collections. Will this increase or decrease productivity and performance? The answer is up to you.
Another trend that was quite obvious – and we can only encourage – is sustainability. Established brands are becoming more and more sustainable, and emerging brands are setting an example by being immediately sustainable. A key challenge for brands in general will be in communication, as consumers increasingly do their own due diligence. It’s better to clearly communicate what you as a brand understand by sustainability, how you try to do your part to benefit the planet and what steps you will take towards the future to incorporate sustainability more and more. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon of sustainability and labelling yourself as sustainable even though you are not, transparency and a future roadmap will be more appreciated by consumers.
Generally, the focus lies on comfort and sustainability. This is reflected time and time again in the natural colour palette of beige, white, soft greens, blues, oranges and pinks as well as rusty colours. It is remarkable that the clothes are baggy and characterized by an unobtrusive design in straight cut. And again, whether this is the right approach for brands to stick to what is still on our minds now instead of thinking ahead with a hope that our “normal” will look different next year, we leave to you.
Lynn Mikolajczak is a former lawyer, business wear expert, trendwatcher and founder of LM Fashion Agency. She aims to make business wear more visible and accessible. Lynn also strives for a better representation of working women in the fashion industry and media in general.