Vincent Grégoire, director of Consumer Trends & Insights at business strategy consultancy Nelly Rodi, has compiled a top five social developments that will influence fashion in 2023.
‘Antis’ to the rich
In 2023 we can expect the emergence of opposing forces. We are witnessing the emergence of a new morality that holds the rich accountable: anti-jets, anti-yachts, anti-fairies, anti-traditions, anti-consumer society… This protest, subversive, intrusive movement originates from the boomer generation and Gen Z, but also from people who are part of it seraglio, who has worked for luxury groups and condemned large amounts of residual stock and excessive sampling, for example. ‘Antis’ express themselves, among other things, through social networks. charges, bashing and other more aggressive practices (such as the “dirty money” posters put up by Attac on the windows of La Samaritaine) will force the wealthy to question themselves.
That’s why some luxury players are starting to talk about ‘regenerative luxury’, bringing meaning and intelligence back, both socially and environmentally, into their branding strategies. In response to the ‘antis’, companies such as Lacoste set up a shadow board (a junior management committee) to challenge management decisions. Others depend on labels and certificates, such as Chloe with B Corp.
This culture of traceability, accountability and benevolence will favor brands that have a lot of technical knowledge (Belstaff, Aigle, Dr Martens, Scholl, etc.). It is not for nothing that the LVMH group has bought Birkenstock. In addition, in 2023 we will see the success of committed labels such as Telfar Clemens or empathy generated by The death of Vivienne Westwooda fashion activist who gained a new audience on Tiktok.
The world of luxury fashion will operate on less flashy storefronts, where brands collaborate with new, e.g. street art-artists who can engrave the windows. Actions will force the rich to protect themselves, according to the famous French saying ‘pour vivre hereux, vivons cachés’ (a happy life is a hidden life). From a security and confidentiality point of view, the new shops will no longer be located on the street, but on the upper floors. This time is one of the return of speakeasys (underground bars) and selective access, VIP cards, waiting lists… This will lead to trade in security, VPN (Virtual Private Network, protected connection) and protection in general.
The new extravagance
This attitude is diametrically opposed to the commandments of sobriety, punishment and coercion. Tired of Marie Kondo? Worried about abundance? If the end of the world is imminent, let’s make it a party! The new extravagance advocates the absurd, the deviant, freedom, ‘glamour’ (a mixture of humor and glamour) and consumption (as opposed to less consumption).
It means the return of the cabaret, of the masquerade ball, of designers like Harris Reed, recently employed by Nina Ricci, who make clothes that are almost unwearable because they use so much fabric. It is Daniel Roseberry for Schiaparelli, the revival of wigs, jewelry, ornaments, a new preciousness. It is Kevin Germanier who has his collections shown by drag queens and uses leftover materials from Lido, Moulin Rouge, Paradis Latin… It is Swarovski’s new boutique concept, reminiscent of a jewelery box with XXL or XXS jewellery.
To adapt, stores and department stores will have to add madness, shopping experience, surprise, places for selfies, distorting mirrors and a dose of Alice in Wonderland to their brand. Immersive experiences that get consumers out the door. An example is the Hyundai department store (Seoul, South Korea), which is a hybrid between the physical and the digital, with spaces where everything is avatar-like and with a special floor for Gen Z that includes used sneakers, NFTs, ramen restaurants and a VIP club for customers who have a certain number of followers. Hyundai transforms its shop windows into a theater stage, a recording studio, a catwalk… You see make-up artists at work as if you were backstage at an Instagram shoot.
The new extravagance can help to make the shops glamorous again, provided that the traders do not present themselves primarily as sellers, that they take risks and that they run their shops with passion and enthusiasm. The trick is to create something crazy that creates a rift or a dissonance and gives the customer the impression of being in an amusement park. In France, Jacquemus is the one who does it best.
The return of laziness
Too much information, too many images, too much scrolling… In response to FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) syndrome, laziness is supported by Gen Zers who unplug, let go and prefer to live in the moment, even if it means procrastination. This is the generation of minimal effort. It is a prayer for the values of laziness and boredom, letting the imagination run wild, hanging around, sleeping… We are witnessing a dematerialization of consumption, a culture of having everything and owning nothing.
In fashion, this translates into the return of normcore: loungewear, homewear, dreamwear, softwear… It’s the end of seasonal clothing in favor of long-term collections with inertia as one of the main values: outfits that don’t go out of fashion, that fit for all (one size fits all in lingerie for example), with an inclusive concept. Paradoxically, we are witnessing both hyperrationalization (one single model, one technique, one color) and overproduction in order to make shopping as uncomplicated as possible. The downside of this trend: it all has to be done now, right away, right away.
In fact, it is 24-hour trading: everything must always be available. In this immediate culture, we should expect automatons, such as Jacquemus with his automaton, to return. With the influence of the digital on the physical world, we are witnessing a new automation with digitized stores without checkouts, where the customer pays by phone.
The art of tinkering
This trend occurs in connection with inflation, with loss of purchasing power, scarcity of resources, a deliberately limited lifespan for products, etc. It generates independence and self-sufficiency (making do with what you have). This is the era of ‘re’ and ‘re’: regeneration, repair, reuse, recovery… This emphasis goes hand in hand with education and mentoring: it’s about buying smarter for a commercial win-win situation.
This translates into shops with workshops where people learn how to wash and maintain their clothes. New mini-markets, where there is a laundry and maintenance workshop. New dry cleaning concepts that teach consumers how to give their clothes a new life and how to repair their sports shoes (think of the French concept Docteur Sneaker). In the French city of Roubaix, there is something like Les Trois Tricoteurs, a former textile factory where customers can drink coffee while a knitting machine makes socks or a sweater to their liking. Examples are also the new recycling stations that add value to waste: if the customer brings it in, he gets vouchers in return. Everything is recycled.
Cobblestone paving is a phenomenon that is spreading in China: consumers join together to make group purchases that allow them to negotiate prices. They are also ‘customer-sellers’, a new generation of buyers who invest with a view to resale. This alternative consumption is the new free: barter, charity and of course rentals and used goods. It is also the trend of chance: the return of the surprise package or a new way of acting by creating irrational desires: online betting, lotteries… Hard discounters are trendy. Today, even women from the provincial middle class go to Lidl and Action.
The emergence of R&D in CSR
Faced with geopolitical, spiritual, environmental and social challenges, leaders work on forward-looking research and development solutions within a philosophy of corporate social responsibility (CSR). They pave the way for the regeneration industry, for companies with a mission, and for regenerative ecology (inspired by the way nature hybridizes to regenerate itself). They advocate the values of biomimicry: biotechnology, life sciences, biomaterials, bioluminescence…
In fashion, this translates into outdoors and gorpcoretrends with a central role for new brands, mainly from Korea or the coast of California. Clothing made from materials of biological origin, ecologically designed or otherwise environmentally responsible, such as hemp, flax or nettle… This means that natural or synthetic materials must be returned without mixing them, because then they can no longer be recycled.
This was, for example, the case with Copernicus Show with a dress made from cellulose, an organic material that is compostable. Another example is Pangaia, which replaced animal down with wild flowers. This is the justified short circuit approach. A slow alternative consumption, the principle of ecological benevolence, a natural and sustainable approach to fashion that seeks a balance between man and earth.
This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.fr. Translation and editing into Dutch: Nora Veerman