As the weather warms up, the fashion world prepares for the Spring/Summer 2019 collections to hit runways around the world. The industry will be keeping an eye on household names and emerging designers alike to readily react and reinterpret the current trends; chunky sneakers are all but guaranteed, but how will trek gear and tie-dye figure into the new collections? Then there’s the job of predicting the fate of metallic tones for the upcoming season, and this is where buyers will gladly weigh in on the trend’s staying power.
Since their entire job revolves around forecasting and analyzing trend and consumer behaviors, buyers possess 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 SS19 fashion week circuit looming ahead, we asked six buyers from some of the world’s most respected retailers – including luxury department store giant Bergdorf Goodman, Montreal’s SSENSE, Berlin boutique Voo Store, UK e-commerce heavyweights MATCHESFASHION.COM and END. and Hong Kong retailer Lane Crawford – to weigh in on what the future holds for the ubiquitous chunky sneaker trend.
What will be the most anticipated show this season and why?
Bruce Pask, Bergdorf Goodman & Neiman Marcus Men’s Fashion Director We are getting ready for a very thrilling season of menswear with the exciting recent appointments of designers Hedi Slimane to Celine with a new collection for men, Virgil Abloh to Louis Vuitton, Riccardo Tisci to Burberry, Kim Jones to Dior Homme and Kris Van Assche to Berluti. Their shows will be hugely anticipated. I’m also very excited to see Craig Green’s runway show in Florence as the guest designer at Pitti Uomo.
Alix Rutsey, SSENSE Menswear Buyer Given Kim Jones’s iconic final show at Louis Vuitton, everyone is extremely excited to see what he does for his first show at Dior Homme. On the flip side, I cannot wait to see Virgil’s first collection for Louis Vuitton. Virgil has innovated and conquered every arena he has entered and I look forward to seeing what he is able to create with the rich heritage of the house. And last but certainly not least, Hedi Slimane at Celine, but we will have to wait until September for that.
Herbert Hofmann, Voo Store Berlin Head Buyer & Creative Director I’m sure Prada will take it to the next level after they found their way back on the radar and people appreciate their way of doing fashion again. The nylon stories and sporty approach connects well with younger and older customers. They might find some more iconic styles from their archives and reinvent them. Many brands and fashion houses go back to their DNA and stop trying to be part of a current trend.
Jacquemus will show his first menswear collection and I think there will be fun designs and he understands how to tell stories. For many hypebeasts, it will be interesting to see what Virgil will show at Louis Vuitton and Hedi Slimane at Celine with the menswear collection. For women, I can’t wait what Courrèges will show with their new Creative Director Yolanda Zobel.
Allie Williams, END. Buyer Virgil Abloh’s first Louis Vuitton show. Anything he touches is gold at the moment and people can’t wait to see whether he’ll turn LV on its head or move away from his traditional streetwear styling. There have been a lot of big moves this year, people are equally as excited to see Kim Jones’s first Dior Homme show and what Hedi Slimane does at Céline for their first menswear collection.
Kelly Wong, Lane Crawford Director of Fashion The most anticipated shows this season will be Virgil Abloh’s debut at Louis Vuitton, Kim Jones’s at Dior Homme, as well as Hedi Slimane’s introduction of Celine menswear in September. We are excited to see the directions that each of these artistic directors will bring to their brands.
Damien Paul, MATCHESFASHION.COM Head of Menswear I’m really looking forward to seeing GmbH and Marni and I always enjoy Craig Green and Wales Bonner but my most anticipated show will have to be Burberry. I’m excited to see how new creative director Ricardo Tisci incorporates his streetwear aesthetic into his first collection for this heritage brand.
What already familiar trends will still be prominent?
Bruce Pask, Bergdorf Goodman & Neiman Marcus Men’s Fashion Director I think the exploration of proportion will continue to grow in the menswear design world. Exaggerated and oversized pieces from Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga has spurred interest in the greater menswear world for fuller trousers, jackets, and oversized shirts and footwear. There is a bit of a nod to the 80’s here in the bigger proportions but this is not a nostalgic mood at all.
Alix Rutsey, SSENSE Menswear Buyer We will see a strong focus on tailoring and sportswear as well as the incorporation of tech and performance wear. We will continue to see the use of color and bold graphic prints.
Herbert Hofmann, Voo Store Berlin Head Buyer & Creative Director I think sneakers are the new handbags of the industry and very big volume drivers — so we will see many new attempts to create the new hype sneaker.
Allie Williams, END. Buyer This is a difficult one to call. Bold prints, logos and colors will still play a large part I think.
Kelly Wong, Lane Crawford Director of Fashion Sportswear, technical fabrics and relaxed silhouettes will continue to be prominent.
Damien Paul, MATCHESFASHION.COM Head of Menswear We expect the sports – tech trend from recent seasons to continue to evolve – shifting from jersey tracksuits and sweats and instead focusing more on pieces made from tech fabrics with a hiker influence – expect more cargo pants and high vis detailing.
Which ones will fall off?
Alix Rutsey, SSENSE Menswear Buyer Increasingly, we are seeing a move away from hyper-exaggerated, oversized garments. Greater focus is being put on tailoring, structure and fabrics.
Herbert Hofmann, Voo Store Berlin Head Buyer & Creative Director Let’s hope over-designed sneakers are getting a bit less focus and people start looking for alternatives again and trust their own taste rather than what is seen on Instagram and campaign images. Also wearing sweaters, T-shirts and hoodies with logo prints are over.
Allie Williams, END. Buyer I don’t think it will go away, but I think that the ’90s trend as we know it will start to disappear, and we’ll see it evolve into something more considered.
Kelly Wong, Lane Crawford Director of Fashion Distressed denim, big prints and excessively oversized shapes will become less common in favor of cleaner silhouettes and understated details.
Damien Paul, MATCHESFASHION.COM Head of Menswear Heavily branded, novelty and overt graphics and visuals on clothing have been around for a while now. As a response, we expect to see a shift in focus to a more minimal and refined approach to design and fabrications next season with brands such as AMI, Berluti and Lemaire leading the way.
What sartorial surprises can we expect?
Alix Rutsey, SSENSE Menswear Buyer I think everyone is quite excited for what’s to come this season. With so much change in the industry and the growing strength of emerging designer voices like Kiko Kostadinov and Matthew Williams, I’m looking forward to an infusion of new ideas and narratives.
Herbert Hofmann, Voo Store Berlin Head Buyer & Creative Director Balenciaga was so successful for the past few seasons and I wonder when they will dare to do something edgy again — they can afford to do something new and completely different and they have the creativity for it. They know how to sell now, but when will they bring a change again and more narrative next to the merchandise? I’m excited.
Allie Williams, END. Buyer It’s not a surprise as such, but I think we’ll see a huge focus on ethical, resourceful and ecological production. People increasingly care where their garments come from and I think this will be a key focus. I think we’ll see a lot of neon, too.
Kelly Wong, Lane Crawford Director of Fashion We believe there will be a trend for brands to shift towards more minimal designs and incorporating sustainability in their design process. With new creative directions taking place at various traditional fashion houses, consumers on the hunt for newness will direct more of their purchasing power towards these big designer brands.
Damien Paul, MATCHESFASHION.COM Head of Menswear The idea of the ‘new suit’ is something that we’re excited about at MATCHESFASHION.COM. As designers continue to evolve this sartorial staple we’re seeing deconstructed and relaxed tailoring emerge from contemporary streetwise brands such as GmbH and Raf Simons as well as the likes of Prada and Lanvin.
What will be the biggest trend in footwear?
Bruce Pask, Bergdorf Goodman & Neiman Marcus Men’s Fashion Director I think we will continue to investigate bigger, chunkier sneakers in the athletic market. I also do feel that there may be a growing interest in a fashion take on the dress shoe. They’re good companions to the proportion play mentioned above.
Alix Rutsey, SSENSE Menswear Buyer Sneakers will continue to be a driving force in footwear. We will still be seeing chunky silhouettes, color-blocking and monotone neutral color stories. There will be a lot of attention given to performance sneakers from lines like Asics and Salomon, as well as performance-inspired designs on the runway. Playful and androgynous footwear styles, like the Margiela Tabi heels for men, will be increasingly explored.
Herbert Hofmann, Voo Store Berlin Head Buyer & Creative Director I’m expecting a new wave of retro trends. After a phase of over-designed sneakers, color mixes and after every possible hybrid was launched, there might be a trend of simple and back to the roots approaches. We had Nike x Tom Sachs that is still in everyone’s head and also the Cortez that still works with many looks — simplicity shown in the Monarch and adidas Stan Smith give a relaxed feel. At some point though, the hype-driven fan must realize how fast the sneaker you just bought becomes “uncool” because everybody is wearing it and the brand releases a slightly updated version or colorway that you’re craving for.
Allie Williams, END. Buyer Chunky, bold and oversized dad sneakers will still be high on everyone’s agenda.
Damien Paul, MATCHESFASHION.COM Head of Menswear We expect chunky sneakers to be in focus for at least another season, with the introduction of Balenciaga’s latest take on the trend for FW18 – expect to see more designers follow suit by incorporating tech detailing and hiker elements into their sneaker designs. We’ve also seen an uptake in formal and casual shoes – we’ve recently taken on some exciting shoe brands including Marsell and Tricker’s and we expect to see a resurgence in this footwear category.
In terms of the scale in which it influences the year’s fashion climate, how does Spring/Summer fare against Fall/Winter?
Bruce Pask, Bergdorf Goodman & Neiman Marcus Men’s Fashion Director Fall and Winter is always quite substantial simply due to the presence of outerwear and a significant amount of knitwear, but in regard to ideas presented, both seasons are equally compelling to me and our customer.
Alix Rutsey, SSENSE Menswear Buyer As an industry we are looking less and less to seasonality to dictate the terms of the collection. With buy-now-wear-now shows, men’s shows aligning with women’s shows, and designers showing off the fashion calendar completely, what matters more are the collections themselves.
Herbert Hofmann, Voo Store Berlin Head Buyer & Creative Director For telling new stories and changing the path of a brand, I think the summer season is stronger — journalists, buyers and other professionals have a different approach than in winter. It’s warm and many shows happen outside, so the overall mood is better. The summer collections might not be stronger in budgets (you miss all the more expensive knitwear, winter jackets, boots) because people spend less in summer, but it’s for sure the season that drags more attention.
Allie Williams, END. Buyer Given the lack of any good weather in the UK, the Fall/Winter season always sets the tone. Ever-extending winters mean that there’s a longer period for people to mix up heavier pieces, and everybody loves a good jacket.
Kelly Wong, Lane Crawford Director of Fashion In terms of the shows, Fall/Winter have a bigger impact as there is more focus on outerwear and allows for more creative layering on the runway. However, the traditional fashion seasons have had less of an impact on our buying strategy as we become more focused on a buy-now/wear-now approach where we aim to introduce weather-appropriate collections at the right timing for our customers.
Damien Paul, MATCHESFASHION.COM Head of Menswear At MATCHESFASHION.COM we deliver to over 176 countries worldwide, so our product range must reflect this by offering trans-seasonal pieces that work in varied climates. We find that weather relevant deliveries from our brands are more important than the season the product belongs to.