The new year marks a fresh start for the fashion industry. After months of reporting and dissecting the same rotation of sartorial and footwear fads, we’re given a clean slate for designers to churn out new product that will consequently be seen (or not seen) on the backs of stylish consumers all over the globe.Since their entire job revolves around forecasting and analyzing trend and consumer behavior, buyers posses the most astute knowledge of fashion’s ever-wavering cyclical tendencies. Of course, each retailer has a specific market and focuses on varied details, but the overall language of trends is universal. With the Fall/Winter 2018 fashion week circuit just taking off, we asked five buyers from some of the industry’s most respected retailers – including West Coast mainstay Union Los Angeles, cult London favorite MACHINE-A, UK retail giant Selfridges, e-commerce heavyweight MATCHESFASHION.COM and eclectic boutique Idol Brooklyn – to weigh in on what trends will be sweeping through the runways this season.
What will be the most anticipated show this season and why?
Chris Gibbs, Union Los Angeles Owner To be honest, as a buyer, and specifically one that is very product-driven, I don’t really “sweat” the shows too much. I like to get into the showrooms and touch and feel the fabrics and try the goods on as opposed to seeing them for a flash second as they walk pass me on the runway. That said, I always look forward to Thom Browne’s show whenever I get a chance to see it, just because the whole pomp and circumstance of the show is a spectacle and quite entertaining.
Stavros Karelis, MACHINE-A Buying Director For me, the most anticipated show each season is Raf Simons. He sets the tone for the next season and is at the center of our buying and selection, which allows us to build the story of merchandising with all of the brands we will offer to our customers at MACHINE-A.
Jack Cassidy, Selfridges Menswear Buying Manager London Fashion Week Men’s is always a highlight of the season, and we are thrilled that the our Old Selfridges Hotel space will play host to the Fashion East MAN show, as well as Astrid Andersen and Charles Jeffrey. We have a long standing relationship with Fashion East, and we are always really excited to see what the next generation of London designers have to offer.
Joshua Brinksman, Buyer at MATCHESFASHION.COM GmbH. Benjamin and Serhat are re-establishing menswear in a super progressive way through radical high-end product and thought-provoking, politically-angled campaigns. It’s all I want to engage with.
Tom Kalenderian, Executive Vice President, General Merchandise Manager, Mens & Chelsea Passage, Barneys New York TAKAHIROMIYASHITA TheSoloist and Undercover shows at Pitti Uomo will infuse the season with an rare and special presentation for Pitti Uomo. This will draw unexpected industry types to Florence, who otherwise may not have come.
Alex Kasavin, Idol Brooklyn Co-Owner I’m excited for UNDERCOVER and The Soloist at Pitti Uomo. In Paris, I expect top notch shows from Rick Owens, Yohji Yamamoto and Haider Ackermann. But I’m especially looking forward to Raf Simons in NYC. His SS18 show was the highlight of the season for me, and I expect the trajectory to continue. I think Raf’s best work remains ahead of him.
What already familiar trends will still be prominent?
Chris Gibbs, Union Los Angeles Owner Always hard to predict, but I think it’s safe to say oversize will still be prominent as well as the overall tilt towards streetwear sensibilities.
Stavros Karelis, MACHINE-A Buying Director Tailoring, cowboy boots like the Calvin Klein 205W39NYC ones with metal detail on the toe, trousers with stripes on the sides, cropped small sweaters and jumpers, texture fabrics.
Jack Cassidy, Selfridges Menswear Buying Manager The “dad style” dressing which rose to prominence last year thanks to the likes of Balenciaga and Martine Rose will definitely return to the runway this season.
Joshua Brinksman, Buyer at MATCHESFASHION.COM I don’t think we’ll get off this sportwear tip for a while.
Tom Kalenderian, Executive Vice President, General Merchandise Manager, Mens & Chelsea Passage, Barneys New York In designer collections, the concept of season-less collections was probably intended to be a bit disruptive to stimulate the market, with looks like long overcoats over shorts, etc. However, it has caught on and has relevance for the consumer. In the luxury sector, there is a tendency towards simpler looks and a proliferation of solid suits, shirts and ties; possibly because solids are perceived as being more modern than pinstripes and foulards. In outerwear, the overarching trend is about infusing versatility and an ease of mixing looks that work equally for casual as well as formal attire.
Alex Kasavin, Idol Brooklyn Co-Owner Ugly sneakers, fanny packs and logos. Also vintage fabrics and industrial materials.
Which ones will fall off?
Chris Gibbs, Union Los Angeles Owner Oversize will shift from overly long to overly wide.
Stavros Karelis, MACHINE-A Buying Director I think that oversized tracksuit tops and bottoms. Sportswear, apart from a few, will come to an end as people have moved to a different direction. Big prints, too.
Jack Cassidy, Selfridges Menswear Buying Manager After years of oversized pieces dominating the Menswear shows, it feels like customers are looking for a cleaner silhouette now, bringing everything closer to the body and really focusing on fit.
Joshua Brinksman, Buyer at MATCHESFASHION.COM I think the whole distressed ripped denim, bouclé bobbled knits and shredded jersey will be long forgotten about.
Tom Kalenderian,Executive Vice President, General Merchandise Manager, Mens & Chelsea Passage, Barneys New York Oversized RTW, camouflage, backpacks, Chelsea boots.
Alex Kasavin, Idol Brooklyn Co-Owner Destroyed denim, excessive graphics, hoodies and sweatpants.
What sartorial surprises can we expect this season?
Chris Gibbs, Union Los Angeles Owner Not sure…I guess it will be a surprise to me too.
Stavros Karelis, MACHINE-A Buying Director I am waiting to see designers implementing a more sustainable approach with their brands and I hope that this will be the case at least with the ones that can do it, having the support of a big business structure behind them. That perhaps won’t be the most sartorial “surprise,” but it will be necessary for the future of our industry. In terms of shows that have always surprised me emotionally and as a buyer are the ones mentioned above as well as Margiela, Y/Project, Craig Green, Xander Zhou, Liam Hodges and Cottweiler.
Joshua Brinksman, Buyer at MATCHESFASHION.COM Slimmer fits. I think there will be a shift from the mass market oversized fit across all categories.
Tom Kalenderian,Executive Vice President, General Merchandise Manager, Mens & Chelsea Passage, Barneys New York The launch of Brioni with the new creative director Nina-Maria Nitschke. Jersey fabrications in sport coats will be strong along with more dandy details like double-breasted silhouettes and metal buttons reminiscent of military details.
Alex Kasavin, Idol Brooklyn Co-Owner I think we will see a resurgence of tailoring and the beginning of a trend toward minimalism. I also expect more tech pieces which blend functionality with design.
In terms of the scale in which it influences the year’s fashion climate, how does Fall/Winter fare against Spring/Summer?
Chris Gibbs, Union Los Angeles Owner I’ve always given the seasons equal billing…guess it’s because I am LA-based, so we don’t really go HAM for bigger winter items. But generally speaking, I think Fall/Winter typically sets the tone. What we see now on the runway will be in the September issues of the magazines.
Stavros Karelis, MACHINE-A Buying Director I personally always prefer the Fall/Winter collections as they involve outerwear, which I consider a key element to one’s outfit. It always feels fuller to me when I see a FW collection instead of a SS one. However, SS collections, due to a longer season, have a bit more viability on a shop floor and are normally the most successful and, in some cases, easier to sell as there are no restrictions in a worldwide climate in which heavy knitwear or big outerwear wouldn’t perform as well.
Jack Cassidy, Selfridges Menswear Buying Manager The way customers engage with fashion has changed so much in the past few years. We find that our customers are always on the hunt for newness as well as exclusives. They are no longer as strongly influenced by the traditional fashion seasons, as they have come to expect constant newness and exclusive drops throughout the year.
Joshua Brinksman, Buyer at MATCHESFASHION.COM My preference between the seasons is Fall/Winter because of a more expansive depth of product on offer, especially across outwear categories.
Tom Kalenderian,Executive Vice President, General Merchandise Manager, Mens & Chelsea Passage, Barneys New York Fall Winter is not only the bigger business period but also more exciting in the ways designers focus on outerwear and cold weather accessories.
Alex Kasavin, Idol Brooklyn Co-Owner In retail, Fall/Winter is regarded as the more important season since the collections are larger with more accessories. Fall/Winter outerwear pieces allow designers to show off their skills with materials and construction. From a styling standpoint, Fall/Winter allows for more sophisticated layering combinations. However, new trends tend to appear unexpectedly and are more likely to originate in the streets than the runway. We remain in a cycle where the runway is more a reflection of the streets than vice versa.
Be sure to follow Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018 for the latest updates this season.