Aug 07, 2023

4 Fashion Material Trends to Know at Sourcing at Magic in Las Vegas

Sourcing at Magic returns to Las Vegas Aug. 7-9. To help attendees prepare for the new season, tradeshow organizer Informa Fashion Markets hosted a webinar with Nia Silva, Fashion Snoops director of materials, who shared the key trends and themes to watch for Fall/Winter 2024-2025.

Here’s a look at four material themes driving newness in the textile space.

A new form of maximalism, Sentimental is fueled by feelings of nostalgia for simpler days and deeper connections. Reinterpreted traditional troupes of design, recovered craftsmanship and a consumer base increasingly comfortable with other cultures is giving rise to craft as a healing activity and interest in origin stories.

“Brands are looking into the origin of everything from their raw materials sourced through regenerative agricultural practices to even the incorporation of long-held artisanal techniques,” Silva said.

There’s an element of sustainability with responsibly sourced woolens, cork composites, undyed and chemical-free wool, vintage patchwork and upcycled metals and stones. Patchwork piecing, threadbare layers and fringe enhance the fabrics’ tactility.

Technology is launching imaginations into new realms, Silva said. Immersive centers on this new state of existence that is neither physical nor abstract. The result is a theme that welcomes dreamy landscapes and slightly bizarre prints.

Color plays a key role in bringing these ideas to life, with a palette that spans hyper brights like limelight green and red lava to cooler gray hues. Varied assortments of yarn textures and pigments, vividly printed faux hides and temperature-sensitive finishes explore color-changing interactions.

Morphed ribbed knits, iridescent sequins and biophilic embroideries underscore the theme’s focus on “foreign textures,” while plant-based leathers and bio-based synthetic fibers nod to the future.

The unknown inspires Chaos, a theme that looks at fragmented constructions, ashen patterns, repaired surfaces, brutalist shapes and industrial craftsmanship. A main driver for the theme is young consumers’ anti-establishment mindset, which Silva said is giving way to corporate criticism and distrust. These sentiments, she added, heighten the importance of supply chain transparency.

Intense, volcanic shades like oxblood, heat and lava speak to being on the edge of danger. Gray, blue and tan tones like inky, mussel and java ground the fiery shades.

Materials serve functional purposes, allowing wearers to be ready for anything. Heat-resistant aramid fibers, lightweight and recycled needle-punched layers, 3D-printed rubber and padded technical knits underscore the theme’s focus on protection.

For denim, fabrics are finished with gritty recycled composites, aggressive laser cutting and technical flocking to enhance grip.

To counter the brash designs of Chaos, Fragility is inspirated by delicate design, slow repairs and softness. “Never mistake fragility for weakness,” Silva said.

Driving this theme is respect for the “divine feminine,” a term used to describe feminine traits like intuition and emotional intelligence. Consumers are also seeking solitude through mediation retreats and reducing their screen time. As a result, Silva said consumers are gravitating to wellness-oriented apparel like loungewear, activewear and intimates.

Fragility’s colors are restorative. There’s a visual push and pull, Silva said, with neutrals like sea salt, sesame and pewter juxtaposed against more intense shades like sour mint and winter coral.

Materials and finishes include soft quilting, soft touch crepes, sheer fabrics, imperfect metallic finishes and fiber blends made with SeaCell, a biodegradable fiber composed of cellulose or tree fibers and seaweed. Silva said the materials are a reminder that simplicity can also be complex.

In addition to fashion and material trends, designers are up against a changing sourcing and manufacturing landscape.

Production schedules are shortening, meaning designers and product developers must streamline processes to keep up. “A significant focus for innovation continues to be devised to decouple and then collapse supply chain operations, so that we can improve efficiency to drastically advance timelines, waste reduction and our outputs,” Silva said.

Repurposing waste is becoming a more common and more economically sound avenue of creative stewardship for brands as well. Silva said this is especially important for brands that have committed to “creating more meaningfully and more resourcefully.” Likewise, consumers’ awareness of transparency is powering a new era of accountability, she said. Technologies like blockchain and RFID chips, she added, allow the supply chain to log the various steps and stops a garment takes through the globe-trotting manufacturing process.

How designers source their materials is changing as well. “The digitization of fabrics, trends and other materials allows the sourcing process to happen more efficiently and even more sustainably, with business-to-business marketplaces and platforms that are emerging that can aggregate supply and demand,” Silva said.

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