Struggling to keep up with the ever-changing weather climate? You’re not alone.
Traditional weather patterns across the globe are becoming more disrupted each year, creating a real challenge for fashion designers and consumers alike. By the end of the century, the temperature of the planet will have increased by six degrees, while erratic climates can bounce between 4°C and 15°C with just a day or two in between.
The days of dressing by season are over.
As the lines between Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter blur, we’re seeing more and more fashion brands offering season-neutral collections that will carry your wardrobe all-year-round. While seasonal trends are, and will still be relevant, the core focus is more about cut, quality, flexibility and sustainable credentials. It’s why we’re seeing brands like & Other Stories, ME+EM and Finery London having such cut-through.
I’ve been championing seasonless strategies for some years now, both through my own wardrobe choices and professionally – advising brands on the de-risking values season-neutral can offer. The barriers designers face not only extend to the timing of when to push new collections, but the design of the clothing itself – today it’s completely normal to wear the same thing in May as it is in November.
The advent of the season-neutral wardrobe is also being supported by polarized aspects. Destination wear – clothing for cold or hot weather climates – has become the new big thing in planning your wardrobe. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that people are spending more money on travel and experiences than ever before – although destination wear isn’t only limited to the holidays.
Outdoor lifestyle wear such as puffer jackets, for example, have become wardrobe staples and suitable whether you’re particularly outdoorsy or not. Brands like Moncler and Uniqlo have reimagined the puffer jacket as a must-have item by also tapping into the après ski and ‘street to ski’ market, which is winning over consumers at both the luxury and high street end of the scale. Net-A-Porter, for example, has seen its skiwear category grow by over 500% since 2014.
Swim and beachwear is also doing incredibly well with more and more people building whole looks and dedicated swimwear wardrobes that cater to festivals, beach holidays or even thrill-injected outdoor pursuits.
Perhaps one of the biggest tradition-busters of season-neutral though is a freer approach to colour. Bold brights are no longer reserved for the warmer months – reds, pinks and cornflower blue will all feature heavily throughout 2018. While darker shades, like merlot, navy blue and khaki can be used to bridge the gap between the warmest and coldest days or months.
One particularly eye-catching trend from the Autumn/Winter 18/19 catwalks was the use of ombre. Offering a simple, non-threatening print statement, ombre will provide plenty of season-neutral appeal with its gentle, subtle shaded colours. Checks and stripes have also worked their way into 365-day wardrobe solutions.
While many catwalks are still defined by season, we are seeing some brands challenging this. Burberry for example no longer classes its shows as Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter, but as September and February, reflecting when new collections will land in-store and online.
And when it comes to dressing for the office, the real future focus will be on fabrics and climate-controlling textiles, meaning you can wear that favourite miniskirt or blouse in practically any climate.
As the traditional fashion season becomes a thing of the past, seasonless and destination wear will become a go-to, all-year-round solution that will not only weather-proof, but also lifestyle proof, our wardrobes.