Should we feel inspired or humbled that it is schoolchildren who have pushed the climate crisis to the top of the international agenda? Both. It is well over a decade since the 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth set out the uncomfortable facts about environmental changes – and there have been many other warnings, both before and since. Yet we have proved unwilling to inconvenience ourselves. Faced with this lack of impetus and will, young people are demanding action, and demanding it now.
Their sense of urgency, couched with energy, inclusivity and humour, is infectious. Extinction Rebellion is one of the loudest voices urging us to rebel for life – to take action, right now. And the creative community is responding, not just in terms of setting its own house in order but also by spreading a clear, unambiguous message to the world. In our feature on The Colours of Resistance, we look at the roles of colour and design in galvanising protest and lending it a clear sense of identity and purpose.
The playful creativity at the heart of this explosion of youthful protest is fast-moving and responsive, equally attuned to the new age of direct action and to the era of social media. And it is largely self-generated. While the arts are being squeezed out of the school curriculum, today’s young people have grown up with tools that enable them to create and to communicate, and we should encourage and facilitate this. Throughout this issue you’ll find heartening examples of organisations doing just that.
Rise Up: The Context
Children are the revolution. We have known for a long time that our planet’s climate is in serious trouble. But it is children who have finally dragged climate change right to the top of the international agenda.
Rise Up: Colour Forecast
Our four stories for A/W 20/21. ‘Makeshift’ – an assemblage aesthetic that celebrates the beauty of everyday materiality; ‘Vibrant Rebellion’ – frenetic, expressive and unapologetic, a rabble-rousing design direction and a call to action; ‘Eclectic Folk’ – crafted and eclectic, a politically savvy generation of eco-activists revisits the peace and love movement of the 1960s; and ‘Raw Craft’ – this design direction, grounded in rustic crafts, celebrates the unique irregularity of natural materials.
Visual Essay: Wild Child
The Villa Noailles art centre offers workshops for children and teenagers that link artistic endeavours to play. Putting their imaginations to work, the children design and proudly wear their creations – uniforms for the new eco-age.
Rise Up: Co-designing Colour
Co-design is a powerful force for creativity and collaboration, particularly when it incorporates the freedom, expression and imagination of children.
The Colours of Resistance
We look at the roles of colour and design in galvanising protest and lending it a clear sense of identity and purpose. From fiery reds and feminine pinks to sea blue, forest green and deepest black, colour is political.
Colour Inspiration: Peace Paint
Smudged, smeared and sprayed, a rainbow of bright pigment is thickly layered in unrefined textures as the skin becomes a canvas for expression.
Visual Essay (2): Going Off-Grid
Working with the landscape and its changing flora and fauna is fundamental to a lifestyle that embraces the changing patina, wear and organic materiality of a remote world.
Studio Visit: Store – A piece of the Future
As arts education is squeezed from the syllabus at every level, Store, the organisation behind Store Store, is promoting access, openness and inclusivity in creative education.
Colour Forecast: Water States
An exploration of water as an agent of co-design results in abstracted, ethereal textures in an unexpected palette of dirty hues.
TO HOLD & TO KEEP
We have already talked about the return of the 1960s mini and the Mary Quant exhibition at the V&A London. Vintage is in vogue – literally so, since UK Vogue asked in its May issue: “Does your dress look vintage?”. Kim Kardashian wore second-hand Azzedine Alaïa to the Paris fashion week, while pre-natal Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, wore 1960s Dior to a christening. High street stores H&M, Arket and &Other Stories have announced they would trial vintage and second-hand clothes sales on their websites. High-end boutique Browns has also just launched the label One Vintage, which uses antique textiles to create new garments. Farfetch is launching a new pilot program, Second Life, that will allow customers to trade in their old designer handbags.
Young designers continue to mine nostalgia as a source of inspiration, thereby adding credo to wearing second-hand. Vintage also suits current Instagram trends where authenticity and originality are key. After all, when you wear second-hand, the chances of others have the same garment are hugely reduced.
But, of course, it’s not just about looks. Sustainability is the hottest topic in fashion at the moment. A study shows that, last year, 64% of women were willing to buy pre-owned pieces compared with 45% in 2016 – and it is thought that by 2028, 13% of the clothes in women’s wardrobes are likely to be second-hand. Fashion circularity, a new term referring to the recycled life of a garment, is projected to reach $51bn in five years, up from the current $24bn, according to ThredUp’s annual resale report.
Pundits might argues about what actually the difference between second-hand and vintage. For some, vintage means pre-1980s, others more than 20 years old, still others speculate about what will be collectable in 10 years time. There are drawbacks about sizing, holes and moths. Yet, according to the ThredUp 2019 resale report, resale has grown 21 times faster than apparel retail in the past three years. More important, it all reduces waste!
Wellbeing is an industry that is growing twice as fast as the global economy. The problem is that it does exactly what fashion used to do, sell you a dream version of you.
Design and lifestyle
There is an increasing awareness of environmental catastrophe and the urgency to prevent it, inspiring designers to rethink the lifecycles of products. Circularity and eradicating plastic remain the centre of attention.
Womenswear designer messages
Gone is the emphasis on athleisure and grungy casualwear and in its place is a renewed respect for beautiful, traditional cloths or conversely technical nylons.
Menswear designer messages
After years of active wear supremacy the word on the street is ‘dress properly’. However, the way in which fabrics are combined presents a fresh and forward facing attitude.
Womenswear fabrics: the pick of the best
Every season the fabric industry seems to be faced with a new conundrum: speed to market, number of collections per season, 14-day-turnarounds, personalization, upgraded service, smaller orders… The latest mandate is sustainability and recycling.
Menswear fabric orientations
Structurally, flat and smooth contrast with a rustic charm in tailored sets, while bold jersey sports use iconic, emblematic colours that have a new immediacy.
Womenswear fabric and colour forecast
There will be an astonishing variety of textures, colours and patterns in the AW 20/21 textile collections. This will range from the quieter, understated cashmere and wool blends in muted tones to the dramatic, large-scale checks in shades of reds, black and white.
Menswear colours, styling and fabrics
A/W 20/21 brings a season of diverse and surprising colour ranges in menswear. For the most part, there is a distinguished focus on nature, from authentic earthen neutrals to palettes of intense volcanic tones inspired by alien landscapes.
Accessories & trimmings forecast and inspirations
Excessively sensual, apparent fragility, rebelliously glamorous, techno, neither austere nor radical, the feminine revolution is on its way.
Womenswear knitwear colours, yarns and styling
The balance is shifting: a desire to connect with something meaningful alongside the smart use of resources is gradually nudging out the frivolous and trashy
Menswear knitwear styling concepts
We push perceptions to create something familiar but that is actually quite strange after the first glance – the familiarity brings a sense of ease, while the unexpected stimulates.
Knitwear Forecast Spring/Summer 2021
Designers are researching ways to undo the normal rules of making knitwear. They are either pushing construction to the almost non-existent or developing a more aggressive, sports inspired robustness.
London, New York and city of the moment, Birmingham. Diversity is celebrated within Birmingham and, as one of the most inclusive cities within the UK, there is a strong sense of community here. The city continues to develop itself as a city of culture and a key European retail destination.
Saxen Weimarlaan 6HS
1075 CA Amsterdam
For autumn/winter 20/21, we are embracing escapism, but we’re running towards new experiences rather than away from reality.
Escapism does not necessarily mean avoidance, though growing social, political and environmental pressures are weighing heavy on our minds. What we need is a moment away, to gain a little perspective. We return from our mental or physical adventures brighter, smarter and more determined.
For the new season, escapism takes many forms. Whether we seek silence as a way to avoid noisy modern life, or experiment with psychedelia to discover new perspectives, we are looking for solace and wisdom. Nature exerts a powerful draw, especially for urbanites yearning for simplicity and peace. We’re going further into the wilderness as a way to test our limits, or finding ways to enjoy nature in everyday life. Immersive experiences are becoming even more extraordinary, allowing us to play in worlds we could never experience in real life. Technology, nature and adventure combine in different ways to lift us from our everyday experiences and help us to see the future with positivity.
01 Big Ideas
Grounding: rising urbanisation is making wild nature seem increasingly appealing. Restoration: #nofilter approach to life means no artifice. Surreal psyche: science and technology are helping us to discover the marvels of the human mind. Embodiment: for homebodies and nature-lovers, the natural world is coming closer. Other-worldly: the fantastical visions of science fiction are becoming more achievable.
Denim Archive: the key ideas driving denim trends for AW20/21, selected from the archives of denim collector and consultant Gill Riddell. Denim concepts: from 90’s dance and skate culture to decadently decorated looks that verge on poor taste, variety is key. Denim fabric themes: ornamental; vegetal; distressed; winter warmth; workwear. Meet the maker: creative director of Arvind, Vicksit Mehta discusses childhood fashion experiments, journaling, social values and sustainability.
03 Casual Concepts
Interurban: New York city slick meets Seattle grunge as traditional plaids and stripes are reworked; Unprocessed: A #nofilter approach to life drives the focus towards transparency, honesty and raw tactility. Against the grain: a dreamlike theme of psychedelic fabric treatments and desaturated brights. Homebodies: A softened utility look and feel focuses on comfort and ease, providing a much-needed retreat from busy, structured lifestyles. Mission: science fiction and reality combine as we explore the potential of commercial space tourism and the colonization of Mars.
04 Athleisure Statements
Refresh: muted mineral prints and textures come through for autumn winter 20/21; High-intensity: intensely saturated brights are blocked in vivid streetwear looks; Lounge-lover: an athleisure statement focussed on ease, comfort and calm; Modularity: contemporary leisure and streetwear pieces that focus on adaptable, modular design details. Space age: as we approach a new era of space exploration, inspiration is drawn from conceptual collaborations and science fiction.
A more holistic approach to fitness is emerging as the importance of mental as well as physical wellbeing is highlighted by new exercise classes and activewear collaborations. Escapism continues to be a major source of inspiration for activewear, drawing colour palettes and print direction from nature and developing silhouettes that focus on unsurpassable comfort as well as performance.
Performance sports are in the spotlight thanks to the influence of social media, a new wave of gripping documentaries and the inclusion of new categories in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Urban streetwear inspired silhouettes, details and colour pairings are pushing the boundaries of traditional performance wear. Pieces increasingly blur the line between the mountain and the city, without compromising on functionality.
For Spring/Summer 2021 we reach higher, feel stronger and live better. Doom and gloom may surround us, but it cannot break the human spirit. Better living is not a naïve hope but a practical approach to sustainability, inclusivity and wellbeing.
Saxen Weimarlaan 6HS
1075 CA Amsterdam
VIEWPOINT ISSUE #43: SPIRITUALITY
In good spirits
It’s more than likely that, at some point in the past few days, you have made time for a yoga class or a leisurely walk or 10 minutes of meditative downtime – or simply a few moments to sit and enjoy a cup of tea. It’s also possible that you smudged your home with sage, listened to a mindfulness podcast, gathered with others to sing together – or set out to cast a spell. Spirituality in the 21st century has many faces and myriad themes, but they are all pulled together by a common desire to seek out and experience something that goes beyond the everyday routine of the physical world.
Viewpoint #43, the Spirituality edition, unpacks the reasons why, in the most rational, scientifically aware, data-driven societies that have ever existed, we still yearn for the unexplained and the unexplainable. We don’t want to go back to the days where church on Sunday was mandatory for Christians, but those of us who no longer subscribe to organized religions are finding that we still hanker after spiritual nourishment.
And we are finding it from many sources.