New fashion trends point towards ‘social superhero’ designs


Fashion designers are looking to make political activism wearable and forecasters predict an increasing awareness of social problems will be reflected on next year’s catwalks.

New trends, described as “social superhero” and “data divination”, were among the emerging looks highlighted at the opening of Hong Kong Fashion Week. The four-day event showcasing more than 1,200 exhibitors opened yesterday at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Greer Hughes, a trend specialist at global fashion research company WGSN, said: “We are approaching a new era of ethically responsible design and action. We can see this working its way into the social superhero trend.”

She said the social superhero look would reflect a growing engagement with politics by having a youthful, casual and “rebellious” aesthetic reflecting student protesters. Outfits might appear thrown together as clashing patterns, she said, with fabrics and colours juxtaposed to create a haphazard aesthetic.

Knitwear and turtlenecks would feature high on the fashionistas’ shopping list, she predicted, as menswear designers will look to 1950s beat poets to design the “student activist” look.

“The Asia colour palette for this will be dark and sophisticated, with lots of blacks and blues,” said Hughes, who noted that attitudes towards haute fashion in China had changed in the wake of President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption crackdown.

“Conveyors of luxury are becoming more subtle,” she said. “The consumer is becoming more aware of the part they can play in making a change.”

A growing concern for data protection following the NSA revelations will also manifest itself in the clothes we wear, according to WGSN, which has named the trend data divination.

“The idea of secrecy and privacy affects this region and consumers across the world,” Hughes said, adding that fashion will increasingly reflect how “big data is being integrated in our everyday lives”.

The trend will display how numbers govern our lives, with designers seeking inspiration from sources as diverse as nanotechnology and the iChing, the Chinese book of divination, also known as the Book of Changes.

Mysticism and eccentricity will be key themes, with dense patterns and metallic shades predicted to feature heavily in the coming year, Hughes forecast.


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