From de-risking underperforming categories to building on sustainability strategies, use colour to provide solutions in a rapidly evolving womenswear market.
Pandemic and economic uncertainty is causing risk-averse black, dark brown and neutrals to thrive
Backed by WGSN's social media, retail and catwalks data, darker shades appeal to consumers who are increasingly scrutinising new purchases with a cost-per-wear mindset. Confident merchandising is crucial in demonstrating how these 'forever' shades can transcend seasons and interchange with other wardrobe staples on a modular level
De-risk suffering formalwear categories with dialled-down colour choices
The pandemic has accelerated womenswear's move towards prioritising casualisation, so it's a no-brainer to scale back on occasion and tailoring deliveries. Dial-down dressy items with colours more traditionally associated with casualwear, such as olive green, and merchandise them alongside denim and sneakers, as the importance of hi-lo styling continues
Think natural; eco-anxious shoppers are increasingly attentive to the environmental impact of dyes
Explore naturally derived colour methods. Invest in understanding dyestuffs from food waste, work with global dye suppliers to scale up natural dye production and move away from bleaching while investing in natural raw state colours
Restorative colour is important as shoppers turn to radical optimism in a disruptive climate
Invest in brights that feel invigorating, but ensure they are versatile and work hard to complement the core colours of the season. Smoked Paprika and Butter will reassure and uplift due to their cosy, warm and optimistic connotations, while bold blue and berry accents will resonate with consumers looking to make 'above-the-keyboard' statements
Uniform-like dressing in the form of head-to-toe black is emerging strongly via social media styling, due to the increase of consumers embracing concepts of de-materialisation and limitarianism.
Apparel with timeless, modular attributes has never been more important, so embrace the seasonless appeal of black to de-risk challenged categories such as occasionwear and tailoring. This will transform formal styles into more versatile, hardworking items that demonstrate value per wear.
Black can also be used to elevate the cut-and-sew category. Apply to jersey slounge dresses, loungewear and nightwear – categories that will remain robust during and post-pandemic.
Key categories: #matchingset, loungewear, dresses, nightwear, lingerie
Increasing steadily over three years, black held the largest share of the colour mix (29%, +2ppts) on the S/S 21 catwalks
Mix and match black textures to capitalise on the importance of tactility in a comfort-first climate
Soap Nut has plenty of commercial growth opportunity; it offers a richer take on popular coral pink, but its warm undertones are based on baked terracotta hues.
Much like Pumpkin and cinnamon tones, Soap Nut will resonate with a customer looking for cosy reassurance in a volatile climate.
Key categories: knitwear, loungewear, tailoring, outerwear, sleepwear, lingerie
Key drops: transitional, autumn
WGSN confirmation: A/W 21/22 Colour Forecast
Sustainability: Soap Nut can be achieved through natural sources including avocado, sappan bark and coconut husk
Romantic and feminine, Soap Nut also works well for kidswear. Explore this shade for mini-me opportunities
Create merchandising impact via tonal shades of Soap Nut
In a risk-averse climate, autumnal brights such as berry tones should clearly demonstrate how they can work as accents that complement core staples within consumers' everyday wardrobes.
Avoid flat, head-to-toe looks and instead layer berry tones with the season’s core black, neutral and cinnamon tones – this will enhance wearability and reassure the customer.
There is an opportunity to test everyday core items such as the crombie coat or the knitted sweater in brighter shades to bring newness, but in a low-key way.
Key categories: knitwear, cut-and-sew, woven tops, statement outerwear and tailoring pieces
Key drops: transitional, autumn
WGSN confirmation: Womenswear Colour Trend Concept A/W 21/22: Crimson, Electric Magenta and Plum Pie
Use berry tones to enhance texture and details, as seen at Taller Marmo
For merchandising, take a tonal approach to outfit building, which will bring an elevated feel to key looks
Leading colour influencer Roksanda is a great go-to example for commercial colour building
Look out for accents of A/W 22/23 Key Colour Orchid Flower – it's beginning to emerge in the luxury market. Use to create contrast and impact for Christmas deliveries
Neutrals continue to perform well, as comfort and sustainability remain non-negotiable fashion drivers for the long term. Newness comes through depth of tone and darker brown variations.
S/S 21's Undyed, Camel and Terracotta tones evolve and grow across categories for A/W. Continue to position neutrals as 'forever' shades and demonstrate via merchandising how they can transcend seasons and interchange with other pieces on a modular level.
Key categories and drops: all deliveries
Sustainability: the fundamental focus on undyed yarns and colour-grown fibres remains paramount
WGSN social media data: neutrals have shown steady growth since October 2018, rising by 9%, 12% to now 15% YoY in October 2020. Growth is driven by mass (+20%) and conservative (+17%) segments, led by the wide popularity of comfortwear trends
Showing increased growth via WGSN's social media and retail data, #steelblue will continue to strengthen its presence in retail, thanks to its versatility across all categories.
Steel Blue evolves the slightly brighter #puristblue shade we've seen dominate the space since S/S 20. This greyed-off tone is less of a statement bright and instead trades on its transseasonal appeal by lending a calming, comfort-enhancing lift to #abovethekeybooarddressing tops and #stayhomestyle loungewear.
Key categories: denim, loungewear, knitwear, cut-and-sew, woven tops
Key drops: transitional, autumn, Christmas gifting
WGSN retail data: new-in volumes of greyish blue arise across all categories globally, especially bottoms (UK and US), tops (UK) and dresses (US)
Pale blue +68% UK, +39% US
Steel Blue lends a calming, comfort factor to lounge and sleepwear styles
Steel Blue rises by 25% YoY (July-Oct 2020 vs 2019) across social media, demonstrating its winning appeal with the youth demographic
Steel Blue will be key in updating the #knittedset looks currently uptrending on the Fashion Feed and across retail
Steel Blue works year-round as a core colour for denim bottoms