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WGSN Buyers’ Briefing: what is selling right now

By Jackie Mallon

Jan 22, 2019


The trend forecasting site delivered a comprehensive retail-driven summery of trends driving Fall/Winter 2019 sales for those walking the floor of PROJECT Mens trade show this week to finalize their Winter buys. Here is what will continue to dominate for the remainder of the season so what to put front and center right now, compiled by color, pattern, materials, and key items.


Dark and moody along with dusty, muted pastels are particularly appealing to Gen Z customer. Greyscale colors are also resonating with the younger consumer. A move towards trans-seasonality in both color and textiles translates into pieces that can do well for both Fall and Spring. Traditional fabrics return but with a remixed flair. The Palace x Polo Ralph Lauren collaboration, Raf Simons for Calvin Klein, Virgil Abloh at Vuitton and Japanese brand Needles have been identified as the major luxury drivers shaping current mass market retail trends.


Pink: Despite being a marketing cliche Millennial Pink continues to be a favorite.

Purple: Entering the market as a contender for the pink throne, although admittedly more difficult for all but luxury and youth-focused retailers.

Hiking green: A symbol of the all-important wellness and active market, expanding into head-to-toe green looks.

Warm grey: Part of a larger theme of traditional menswear’s sartorial influences on the casual market.

Rich brown: A mid-century, retro shade, great for transition; nostalgic, familiar, comforting and versatile.

Beige: A canvas to contrast pop colors and graphics.

Red: Intense and energetic or jewel-toned, turbo-charged shades bounce off the neutrals in both tailoring and hoodies.

Off white: Non optic, a base with depth like the beige to support contrasts.

Warm yellow: Between egg yolk and mustard, an unexpected warm shade for Fall, doing well with younger consumers, possibly as a result of the successful Palace x Polo Ralph Lauren/collaboration.

Vintage blue: The younger consumer’s reliance on denim, particularly vintage or washed, inspires powdered blues and workwear shades.

Print and pattern

Check on check: Heritage plaids cut and pasted together; tattersalls with tartans, glen plaids with windowpanes.

Natural camo: A catchall to describe everything from animal prints to tie-dyes, landscape prints, easiest to style in monochromatic looks.

Slogans/text: Evocative of late 80s early 90s soccer hooliganwear, it is ironic and meme-worthy; Slogans also appeal to the need for individualism among younger consumers.

Contrast stripe: An oldie but subverted as prepwear returns, bold rugby stripes sliced and spliced or embroidered upon in wild and contrasting colors.

Homespun: All things DIY, sustainable and outdoorsy, patchwork, and an emphasis on irregularity and celebrating imperfections.

Illustrated: Contemporary graphics, carefree graffiti, mindless doodling, escapist prints. On the other side of the spectrum, hyper real prints, photorealism, all-over scenics, the influence traced to Raf Simons for Calvin Klein.

Fabric and detail

Fleece: May be THE trend of the season, making waves throughout the entire market.

Cosy: oversize from simple zip-ups to Moto styles and top coats.

Tactile: Flecked donegals, raised herringbones, bouclés, tweeds, anything with a tactility falls into the sartorial skate trend; grown-up, adult fabrics appeal to younger consumer.

Corduroy: Massive for several years, it appeals in new and interesting ways, for example, oversized tailoring and worn like outerwear.

Brushed pile: Anything with a deep nap, pieced fleece is a great example but also mohair, angora, and other long piles which work particularly well in statement outerwear.

Velvet: Already elevated beyond occasionwear for a few seasons but now strong in cut and sew, athleisure, trucker jackets, puffers, particularly youth-friendly in shades of dirty neon.

Lustrous sheen: From coated nylon to recycled PVC which is trending on a macro level as consumers gravitate to more sustainable options. Slick heritage items in waxed cottons, oiled suedes, and performance fabrics are great for statement outerwear with rack appeal.

Holographic: Indicative of where younger consumer’s head is at, following on from successful high-tech transparent Nike footwear innovations.

Blocking: No escaping 90s nostalgia, sailing, track jackets, and parkas in dynamic blocked colors.

Sports taping: Bonding and piping, a detail once associated with performance and garment interiors has become a featured embellishment adding graphic appeal. Fastenings: Hardware really communicates, a trend stemming from Prada’s rubberized straps on joggers, and the Alyx seatbelt fastenings at Dior. Also strong, bungees cords and draw pulls.

Cosy layers: An essential styling story, cardigans over sweaters, double knit, treble knit, playing into the warm soft luxury that millennials are looking for.

Prep revival: Collegiate trims, regalia, crests, letters all chopped up, misplaced and collaged together, speaks to a street savvy consumer.

Key items: Jackets

Plaid appears in bombers, MA1s, Harringtons, CPAs, overshirts, utility coats, and topcoats in stiff checked fabric. Boxy styles permit hoodies and heavier cut-and-sew pieces to be worn underneath. Trucker, leather, aviator, and pea coat styles are cut in a slouchier fit and workwear influences abound from high visibility to denim, CPO shirts, and chore jackets. The relaxed overcoat in soft proportions but with less drape and more structure also accommodates layering. Soft tailoring worn with a hoodie becomes more enticing for a younger market. Supreme created its first tailored suit, a harbinger of more to come.

The anorak, a sportswear-driven authentic nylon performance item, in simple windbreaker style or the more challenging pullover expedition models. The puffer jacket, that protective weatherwear staple, spars with the pieced fleece for the most important trend of the season, currently owning 12 percent of the entire outerwear market, and growing. New shapes and unexpected graphic placement of print or logo provide newness.

Key items: Pants

The cargo pant returns, a result of our fascination with pockets; seen at Vuitton under Virgil Abloh pockets almost becomes bags, particularly appealing to the younger consumer used to wearing fanny packs and drop bags. Data demonstrates we have still not reached peak athlesiure but the paneled jogger inspired by après-ski, incorporating angled panels in luxurious fabrics such as leather provides new reason to buy. The wide-legged pant in short, rigid canvas styles or the cosy draped variation are both becoming mainstream for younger consumers, often pleated, in heavy chino, worn in an ironic, non-formal way. 2018 was the year of the “dad jean” which is still a key item for the younger consumer, high waisted, featuring top-stitching in a variety of washes.

Key items: Tops

The second-skin rollneck, inspired by Calvin Klein’s 205W39NYC with its wide range of color ways takes the market at all price points, great for the prevalent layered styling and providing opportunity for those unexpected yellows or purples to appear underneath T-shirts, hoodies or jackets. The photo-print T, whether featuring mysterious opaque cultural references allowing the wearer to feel part of an insiders' club or customer-friendly broad-appeal artistic prints, are popular, with placement most commonly dead center, although slightly off-kilter placement is popular too. The “shacket,” a shirt/jacket hybrid, is seen in worsted and woolen pajama styles, and the ubiquitous hoodie updated with embroidery, print, and clashing pattern.

Fashion editor Jackie Mallon is also an educator and author of Silk for the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry.

Images: FashionUnited

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