WGSN: Top Trends for 2022 & Beyond
From flying taxis to fermented beauty and direct-to-avatar commerce, WGSN reveals the key trends in consumer behaviour and product development across all categories for 2022
the WGSN Trend Team
11.18.21 · 8 minutes
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Jessie Wong for WGSN
Indoor trees

Taking plant parenting and biophilic design to the next level, people will want to fully participate in the Planthroposcene era (the intertwined relationship between plants and people) by growing a tree indoors, or at least on their balcony.

Many hotels and public spaces now feature mature trees in their atriums, and as a result consumers will be inspired to create conservatory, greenhouse spaces in their homes. They will seek a deeper connection with nature by planting everything from large ficus to lemon and olive trees, or Japanese maples in massive pots in the sunniest spots of their homes (forest bathing in your bathroom, anyone?). Architect Stefano Boeri and agronomist Laura Gatti launched Trudo Vertical Forest social housing in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, which offers trees on the balcony of every apartment, creating a small, private plot of biodiversity that benefits the city and the planet.

Jessie Wong for WGSN
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Direct-to-avatar commerce

We’re in the age of the avatar – and what our avatars wear is more important than ever.

Enter direct-to-avatar commerce, or D2A, an emerging retail model that will unlock new opportunities for brands entering the metaverse, forging deeper connections in digital environments. By designing and selling items that don’t exist IRL directly to avatars, D2A commerce allows brands to sidestep supply chains, opening them up to new revenue streams. This evolving, potentially more sustainable format is set to bring in business: by 2022, the in-game skins market will soar to $50bn. Powered by companies such as Bitmoji and Genies, which allow users to create and customise their virtual identities, D2A commerce means brands can debut exclusive digital products via in-game products or collections on platforms like Roblox and Fortnite. We’ll also see an emerging creator economy form, as custom content creators (or CCs) take avatar customisation into their own hands, creating high-demand, digital clothing and accessories to sell to other players across social platforms.

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Bast fibres

Bast fibres, farmed regeneratively, will rise in importance as the fashion industry looks to diversify away from cotton.

The bast fibre group, which includes flax (linen), hemp, ramie and jute, support regenerative agricultural practices that can help the soil sequester carbon. Pure linen, being a biodegradable natural fibre, needs a fifth of the fertiliser required for cotton, less water to grow and draws carbon into the soil, making it a much lower-impact crop. Linen, as the best known bast fibre, is already growing in popularity in the fashion industry due to its natural performance and eco-friendly associations. It's also cooling, moisture-wicking, absorbent, breathable and durable, with inherent antibacterial, moth- and stain- resistant properties. Along with linen, hemp is big news in denim circles, while jute is expected to make an impact in footwear and accessories.

 

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Waterless washing

As H2O becomes an increasingly scarce resource around the globe, expect an uptick in waterless washing and product innovation to facilitate this.

Waterless washing reduces water usage while adapting to post-pandemic attitudes around washing frequency. Waterless product innovations will help offer hygiene solutions to the one in 10 people worldwide unable to access clean water. These products are part of a new, more minimalist approach to hygiene where people focus on washing only the smelliest parts of their body – pits, bits, holes and soles – to reduce water consumption and damage to their microbiome. Early innovators include Swair’s Showerless Shampoo that cleans without suds or rinsing and claims to save six gallons of water per person a week, while Hanni’s no-water-needed hybrid Shave Pillow enables users to remove hair anywhere.

 

 

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Wearable temperature control

Amid the emergence of smart wearables that offer Bluetooth connectivity, memory alloys and biometric monitoring, textile designers are beginning to integrate climate control.

For performance and athletics, brands are designing products that reduce body heat so wearers can maintain comfortable temperatures while exercising. US-based District Vison’s Air-wear Tech fabric provides air flow based on movement, while US-based research university MIT’s bioLogic enables the body to cool down by evaporating sweat. Ralph Lauren debuted its RL COOLING technology while outfitting the Team USA flag-bearers at the 2020 Olympics, dispensing heat from the wearer’s skin and optimising temperature. As global temperatures rise, e-textiles can be used to decrease the climate impact of air conditioning and provide personalised temperature monitoring instead. With sustainability and hyper-personalisation both top of mind, temperature-controlled wearables will seamlessly integrate into the health and wellness tech category, providing benefits across performance and personal care.

 

 

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Baijiu

Chinese baijiu is the world's most-consumed spirit, outselling whisky, vodka, gin, rum and tequila combined, yet many consumers may never have heard of it.

This high-proof white spirit is distilled from grains like rice, millet and sorghum, and is poised to become a universally available spirit to delight drinkers across the globe. Driving this trend are influencers of Chinese heritage excited to boost baijiu to the same international status as other regional spirits like tequila, as well as imbibers curious to experience a storied sip. Look for emerging specialist bars such as Boston Baijiu Bar; baijiu cocktails like the White Rabbit at Viridian in Oakland, California; and craft baijiu spirits from distillers outside China, including Sydney’s Australian Baijiu, UK’s V.I.P Jiu 8 and the US’s Buffalo Trace.

 

 

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Tufted textures

The crafting boom has seen an explosion of tufted textures: #tuftok is a rapidly growing genre on TikTok as people look to tufting their own textiles.

Mass retailers are introducing the look in cushions and rugs, such as the collaboration between H&M South Africa and Neimil. This trend has long-term potential, as we also see fine art students using tufting, once considered the domain of craft, in their work. Tufted rugs and products (yes, there are even tufted mirrors) link to the trend for unique, expressive design statements that are dear to Milllennials and Gen Z. This is a global trend, with tufted designs emerging on every continent, and covers every part of the home, from the bathroom floor to living room armchairs and the dining room wall. With designer brands taking notice – check out Justina Blakeney's collaboration with Loloi, and Peter Saville's new range for Kvadrat – tufted textures will be warming things up for years to come.

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Crypto rewards

The retail landscape is becoming more fragmented and customer loyalty is harder than ever to win, especially among Gen Z.

Enter crypto rewards, bridging the gap between traditional loyalty systems and the booming cryptocurrency market. As the crypto industry grows and more companies accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment, digital rewards programmes are the next step to build trust and more effective data analytics. Mastercard has announced it will integrate crypto into its loyalty solutions, allowing customers to earn and spend rewards in digital currencies instead of traditional points and convert their crypto holdings to pay for purchases. Brave is a new browser that pays users in crypto currencies in exchange for their data, while Lolli is a shopping portal that offers 30% cashback for using it while shopping in crypto. With brands and merchants clamouring for Gen Z’s attention, crypto rewards offer a unique opportunity to meet demand for flexible payments and digital transactions.

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The rash vest

Welcome to your new beach, swim and outdoor essential.

The rush to embrace the outdoor boom, combined with rise in popularity of skating and surfing means consumers are extending their ventures across seasons, with warmer performance layers for beach and bike days becoming essential. Womenswear brands like Colombia-based Verdelimon and Agua Bendita are expanding offerings beyond regular swimwear, and tapping into the rash vest and the sporty rash suit, looking beyond its performance qualities to its benefits such as sun protection. Beyond the beach, vibrant vacation versions of the rash vest and the short rash suit featured on the S/S 22 catwalks, with the vest’s body-conscious lines making it versatile enough to be paired with shorts and skirts, and the short surf suit looking like a hot new alternative to the romper.

 

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Fermented beauty

The desire for potent ingredients that last longer is driving interest in this beauty shift.

Described as ‘kombucha for the skin’ and with roots in K- and J-Beauty, fermentation increases the three product Ps – potency, penetration and preservation. Combining an old tradition with new technology, fermentation releases enzymes that break down active molecules allowing them to better penetrate the skin, delivering powerful ingredients into the very structure of the skin or hair. Fermentation also fits into a wider trend towards sustainable holistic beauty and plant-based ingredients. Fermenting skin-friendly botanicals such as rice, mushroom and tea cultivates the growth of beneficial bacteria which acts as a natural preservative, prolonging the shelf life of formulas making fermented beauty ideal for sustainably minded and value-focused consumers.

 

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Flying taxis

Ongoing urban traffic congestion and Covid-19 disruptions have contributed to the desire for more personal and private forms of transportation.

The autonomous urban air mobility (UAM) market is set to be worth $1.5tn globally by 2040, according to Morgan Stanley Research. Another study by Frost & Sullivan sees air taxis beginning in 2022 in Dubai and expanding with an annual growth rate of 46% to reach more than 430,000 units in operation by 2040. A confluence of technologies are driving this trend, including autonomous vehicles such as drones and self-driving cars, more efficient batteries and advanced manufacturing techniques. At least 20 companies are active in the UAM market, including startups and major brands – Boeing, Airbus, General Motors, Daimler, Hyundai and Toyota are all developing working prototypes for air taxis. UAM is of much interest to civic and urban planners who, despite the potential for noise pollution, see it as a way to relieve congestion on the streets.

 

 

Jessie Wong for WGSN
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Koji

Japan’s ‘national fungus’ koji will step into the spotlight in 2022.

The versatile though often hidden fermenting and flavouring ingredient has been favoured by global chefs for years. It’s now playing a starring role, appearing in plant-based meats such as Prime Roots’ koji bacon in the US and historic Japanese whisky. Koji is the name for rice or barley inoculated with the mould Aspergillus oryzae. As it grows, it produces enzymes that break down proteins, fats and sugars, which then play a role in transforming ingredients in culinary applications. Miso paste, soya sauce and sake are made with koji mixed with grains or beans. Koji also brings forth the craveable fifth taste, umami. Look out for it in new places in 2022.

 

 

 

Jessie Wong for WGSN
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Orchid Flower

WGSN’s Colour of the Year for 2022 mixes nature with technology – and a splash of optimism.

Forecasted in partnership with our sister brand Coloro as the pandemic was unfolding, this intense magenta captures a vivacious appetite for joy and positivity. As consumers adjust post-pandemic, vivid, stimulating colours will have strong appeal, inciting feelings of optimism and vigour. Its hyper-real nature makes it appealing in both real life and in digital applications, and we expect it to resonate within digital fashion, gaming and virtual environments, as seen in the hit Netflix show Squid Game. We selected this particular hue and chroma level with transseasonality and gender-inclusivity in mind, tapping into its broad and long-lasting appeal.

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