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What Lies Ahead: Predicting the Trends for 2017

The new black, distressed denim; colours; leopard prints; batik boho; camo; comfort. Critics made many predictions after 2016 fashion weeks. Now Tony Bannister, CEO of the SCOUT agency, puts together a definitive list of trends – even before they become trends

by Tony Bannister



The only way to predict the future for fashion is to study the science of style.

In today’s multicultural, connected and mashedup world, we tread a fine line between harmony and chaos. Keeping up and holding on is a never-ending task. Distinguishing between the idealized image and the actual self will become even more challenging in the digital age as more brands, more options and more choices enter our lives. With so much information, too many options and less disposable income, what should we focus and zoom in on for 2017 in terms of big picture messages, styles, looks, colours and the key trends of the season?
Where do trends start and how do they filter
down to the masses is something which SCOUT surveys, becoming an expert in trend forecasting across fashion, lifestyle and home. With bases in London and Sydney advising a global network of clients in the design, retail and manufacturing industries, SCOUT aims to spot, edit and track trends from concept to reality in both a creative and commercial way.
As womenswear continues to evolve and diversify to appeal to ever-demanding customers, what’s in and what’s out is less important as to what is right for you now. So seasonless dressing, timeless or unique looks are just as important as the fast fashion, Instagram messages which flood social media and the merry-go-round celebratory culture of the digital age.
In menswear, these are exciting times as this market goes through a massive renaissance. It’s time to challenge old ideas and look at categories differently. As customers seek new and different solutions, this is no time to play it safe. Here is a top ten checklist of what’s trending and what’s new across women’s, men’s and unisex casualwear.

1: NON-GENDER – Core basics / Ath-leisure, ‘80s oversized denim
A shift to a more open society allows people to express themselves without gender constraints. Gender identities are blurring, as a third category emerges that’s not exclusively masculine or feminine. Existing outside the gender binary, this has influenced a new direction in fashion where core basics are non-gender specific and perfect for the trans-seasons, where silhouettes are simple and an element of leisure gives a health-focused lifestyle direction.

2: BOLD STRIPES – positive, graphic, nautical and fresh (A La Moda & Making Waves)
A return to clean, smart, crisp summer staples and a perennial summer favourite. Timeless, ageless and forever classic, there’s something empowering and positive about this look. Fresh nautical blues, crisp white and lots of graphic stripes, the bolder the better, plus preppy ginghams and checks. The male silhouette is loose and boxy with wider trousers and shorts with sporty outerwear and sweats reminiscent of traditional nautical gear. For women, there’s a sense of nostalgia, retro glamour in soft tailoring, loose and linear silhouettes with a softer modern take on Riviera style.

3: RUSTIC & TEXTURED – a return to texture, fabric and cloth (Nomadic & Brythonic) Whether in lighter cloths for summer, or heavier weight fabrics and knits for winter, texture is everywhere. After seasons of flat-packed, stack ‘em high, fast-fashion retail, designers are looking to traditional cultures and craft techniques for inspiration. For long winter days braving the elements, wrapped and layered in rustic, tweedy textures and knits in earthy colours, traditional patterns are reminiscent of ancient Celtic cultures.

4: ‘70s ECLECTIC – ‘odd chic’, feminine (Odd Chic)
It feels like the 1970’s never got out of fashion, because once again this decade is plundered for inspiration and styling ideas. Gucci was the starting point of how to mix and match this decade’s eclectic style. Others soon followed. Juxtaposing looks and fabrics, prints and textures, the look is feminine, individual and slightly odd, mixing silks and chiffons with brocades and jacquards with plenty of frills and flounces in a palette of vintage pastels for summer or luxe and mysterious darks for winter.

5: CRAFT WORK – renaissance of local craftwork, hand-made, customized (Natural beauties & Lavish)
This is about a renaissance and an appreciation of local cultures and craft techniques from Africa, India and the Middle East with intricate embroideries, finishing and printing central to this look. More exclusive and glamorous than rustic, it’s embellished and adorned to look and feel special.

6: VOLUME – big is the new skinny; oversized, loose shapes (Bubble) It’s been more than 20 years since the skinny revolution took hold and the silhouettes of Gen Y changed dramatically. Now designers are experimenting with shape and volume not seen since the 1980s. So big is back for guys and girls, from cocooning outerwear in modular shapes for winter warmth in soft technical fabrics and yarns.

7: TECH TRAVEL – suiting versus sportswear, hybrid style (In Transit)
As time speeds up and the world shrinks, global travel and speed to market requires functional fashion for busy consumers who are constantly on the go. So technical fabrics in sleek tailoring has brought us new terminology – hybrid style. Part sports and leisure influenced, part tailored, the mix is contemporary, fresh and new.

8: THE GREEN MOVEMENT – from fabrics to colour, food to sustainability, it’s all connected (Beyond Indigo)
This is just as much about the environment as it is a colour statement, because green is definitely the new black for 2017. From sustainable living; green energy; brands that source and manufacture responsibly; green food packed with nutrients and enzymes that nurture and repair; to beautiful organic and nature-inspired all shades of greens in casual, utility styling… it’s all connected.

9: LOOSE & LANGUID – fluid & tailored (Rebel Poet)
Influenced by the unique and ever-changing style of the late David Bowie, menswear is also looking back to the 1970s for inspiration and styling and a move away from the skinny Dior Homme-influenced silhouette. So we will see a return to looser shapes with pleats and wider hems, jackets and shirts with wider shoulders and bigger lapels, where cut and drape with a sense of nostalgic swagger will offer a new alternative to men who want to look different and stand out from the crowd.

10: CRAYOLA COLOUR – head-to-toe, tonal & bold (Real) With the sombre mood of the times, politically and economically, there often comes a counter revolution and change and 2017 will see a return to a bright confident use of colour, particularly as we head into the second half of the year as the doom and gloom of winter approaches. It’s time to be bold; embrace colour in beautiful tonal Crayola shades with bright red a key colour in women’s wear.

Scout offers on-the-spot global access to the latest trends as they happen, along with expert analysis and sharp editing. To read fuller reports see www.scout.com.au.

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