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Fashion students, faculty predict 2023 trends pre-fashion show

A consultative analysis and prediction of what’s to come will make this complicated transition smoother.
Image by Mary Ellen Ritter

With the upcoming University of Minnesota apparel design fashion showcase on Feb. 18 as a rite of passage for the senior class, it’s time to say goodbye to many of the 2022 trends and hello to a taste of what’s to be coined “in” for 2023.

Fashion trends change due to many factors, and social media is playing a bigger role in fashion than ever. A social media influencer is typically someone who promotes certain brands for compensation, with “fit checks” often at the beginning of videos to showcase where certain pieces they are wearing came from, as a form of promotion.

Along with social media influencers, other aspects of the fashion industry – leaders in color prediction, sustainability and popular brands – could influence how many people might strive to dress for the next 12 months.

Adjunct professor in apparel design and retail merchandising Kathryn Reiley said bright, saturated colors will be among this year’s trends. She said while variety will be present based on personal preference, she thinks 70s earth tones will be coming back in addition to a “goth trend” that could consist of whites and blacks.

One way to predict a prominent color for fashion every year is to look at the Pantone Color Institute, which conducts color trend forecasting that links the scientific and emotional aspects of color. As a company, they set the tone for what color will be “trendy” each year.

“The Pantone color of the year is magenta,” Reiley said. “Companies make products and fabrics based on the pantone color, so you can expect to see a rise in saturated colors like the chosen magenta.”

Ava Wagner, a featured designer in the University’s upcoming fashion showcase, said she views fashion as “a display of our worldly experiences, our clothing reflecting growth, perseverance and a newfound chapter.”

While researching the World War II era, Wagner discovered during wartime, there were a lot of grays, browns and blacks; then bright colors emerged postwar. She said she compares this trend to the recent pandemic, and as we ease into a somewhat post-pandemic society, we will see people drawn to brighter colors.

“I think there’s just kind of this sense of celebration, of liberation, after these dark times,” Wagner said. “It makes people just want to start experimenting with colors and patterns.”

Fourth-year student and Co-President of the Business of Fashion (BOF) club Morgan Trajkovski said BOF is a space to express members’ passions to make fashion more sustainable.

According to Trajkovski, the thrifting phenomenon has distinguished itself recently in the fashion world. She predicts it will continue to grow in popularity and how people thrift will transform when they become visible in mass-scale shopping centers.

“For back-to-school shopping, we could see people decide to go thrifting instead of going to malls, which I think can definitely change the aspect of malls,” Trajkovski said. “I think it’d be really cool for malls to start incorporating thrift stores into them because that draws in a sustainable aspect … rather than just buying everything new.”

Wagner said she believes sustainability will be a core value for creating clothing this year.

“I don’t like calling it a trend because I think it’s definitely here to stay,” Wagner said. “People are becoming aware of what actually happens in the fashion industry regarding the amount of waste and workers’ rights that are not being followed by companies.”

Trajkovski said she thinks brands like Zara or Aritzia will be trending because they carry basic pieces that are considered staples.

“I think in general, stores like Forever 21 that implement fast fashion will be trending downward, and their focus on short-lived micro trends definitely could be a major contributor,” Trajkovski said.

Reiley said she believes brands that hold sustainability as a core value and brand-wide mission will be considered trendy. She also thinks brands in general are increasingly becoming of lesser importance in a thrifting-based society.

“Patagonia has always been a brand that’s very concerned with the environment and could very well be a top upcoming brand,” Reiley said. “I think as consumers become more aware of … how important it is to be sustainable and shop for clothes that are environmentally friendly.”

“Build your own:” making an entire outfit that could be coined as trendy for 2023
Wagner’s prediction of a typical outfit in 2023 includes bright, clashing colors. The outfit would also definitely include feathers. She said the rules of fashion in the past dismissed wearing reds and oranges together, but now she believes it will become popular.

“A red top with feathers around the wrist, accompanied with orange pants for the clothing aspect,” Wagner said. “It could be paired with brightly colored blue shoes that are in contrast, and finally, a chunky little purse.”

Trajkovski’s predicted outfit is based on one overarching material: cargo. She said she has seen this theme appear on runway shows recently and among luxury brands, and she believes the trend will continue to grow.

“’I’ve just seen all over the place,” Trajkovski said. “Everything from cargo skirts to a full-on cargo set where it’s like a cargo jacket, cargo skirt and like a cute graphic tee.”

Wagner said although fashion trends certainly exist and play a vital role in our culture, individuality is also an important trend to honor.

“I feel like fashion has been emerging and will continue to emerge in that sense of breaking the rules,” Wagner said.

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