"For decades, United States has been inspiring designers to create new and innovative designs but now the growing influence of millennials and Gen Z is forcing them to look to other regions of the country for inspiration. As millennials value experiences over traditional markers of success and adulthood like home ownership, marriage and children, they are driven by tendencies like a nomadic lifestyle, wellness, spirituality and even psychedelia."
For decades, United States has been inspiring designers to create new and innovative designs but now the growing influence of millennials and Gen Z is forcing them to look to other regions of the country for inspiration. As millennials value experiences over traditional markers of success and adulthood like home ownership, marriage and children, they are driven by tendencies like a nomadic lifestyle, wellness, spirituality and even psychedelia. Designers are capturing their desire for freedom in a series of crisscrossing trends, including: utility, wider silhouettes, workwear, outdoor, unisex fashion, natural dyes, tie-dye, sustainable fabrications and performance fabrics for lifestyle.
A region that fulfills the desire of these designers is the Pacific Northwest where the natural beauty of Washington’s rainforests, Oregon’s windswept shorelines and snow-capped Mt. Hood coexist with a level of intelligence and imagination that rivals Silicon Valley. Hence, the fashion that comes out of this region is a mix of outdoor adventure and hoodie-wearing CEO. This look is grounded with garments like plaid shirts, utility vests and pants, puffer vests, polar fleece tops and CPO shirt jackets.
Loose fitting, nature-inspired patterns with rustic colors
For men, the nomadic look includes relaxed, loose fits, nature-inspired patterns and “active rustic” colors like orange and gray. Fabrics include traditional suede, faux leather, organic cotton and linen, while denim favors classic blue and earth colors like rust, brown and olive. The fabrics for women in this look are softer with blends like Tencel used to make jackets and tops accented with puffed sleeves.
Another fashion trend that nomadic outdoor life is sparking is of ‘Dad’ jeans that combines comfort with utility. The natural look is catching on with rising popularity of ecru denim. In these types of denims, brands are adding workwear details and Sherpa linings to basic denims to give it a rugged look. A part of Denim Dudes’ forecast for 2020, performance denim highlights the importance of utility details like D-rings, top-stitching and oversized cargo pants. Denim Dudes also sees tie-dye and references to camping and outdoor gear remaining strong for spring, while items like knit indigo base layers and indigo fur take shape for fall/winter.
Mixing fashion with politics
With aesthetic becoming more rural in feeling, the outdoor trend also mixes fashion with politics. For instance, F-Trend aligns the rise of outdoor fashion with the ascent of President Trump, particularly his “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan seen on red baseball caps across America.
In fashion, this political influence and heightened sense of nationalism translates to camouflage, traditional prints, an earthy color palette and Native American styling. Western fashion is beginning to flex its muscle here, too, with sartorial influences coming from ranchers and cowboys. Key details include: leather and patch pockets on the front and back of garments.
In mainstream, the ranch hand-inspired trend opens up opportunities for heritage denim brands to revisit archival designs. In March, Wrangler launched the Icons Collection, which included reissued styles like the men’s 11MWZ jean, a jean that was designed to fit over a cowboy boot, and the men’s 27MW western shirt and 27WW women’s western shirt.
Utility, outdoor and workwear all remain a part of the forecast for seasons to come. Soft utility was in focus on the Spring 2020 runway, with labels like Tibi and Alberta Ferretti showcasing workwear-inspired denim, cargo joggers, jumpsuits and relaxed iterations of safari jackets. .Eco warriors like Greta Thunberg are attracting the world’s attention towards environmental neglect and leading brands to get inspired by nature.
This inspiration is likely to become more global as designers re-imagine traditional weaves, dye techniques and patterns from all parts of the world.