Dutch trend forecaster David Shah took part in MarediModa to preview his spring/summer 2024 predictions during the leading European trade show for swimwear, sportswear and, increasingly, lingerie.
With his unique style of trend forecasting, which has made him one of the pioneers in the industry, he developed a comprehensive analysis of the social landscape and its influence on consumer tastes and market demands, which FashionUnited has summarised through the top five trends for SS24.
Evasion of the real world
Influenced by the increasingly popular digital universe, a wonderland where designers can unleash their imagination with no more limitation than their own capabilities, materials have been shown in shapes bordering on surrealism, real 3D reliefs created through embossed grids, beads, pearls and engineered air pockets, intricate pleats, plissés and gathers, as well as through the application of twisted dimensional reliefs, piles and inlays.
The colours of the SS24 season are saturated as if they were conceived to appear on screen. Reds, greens and blues are not mixed together, but used as monochromes seen through embellishments such as glitter and hair effects.
In this way, prints with virtual and even illusory motifs are fabricated, challenging the viewer's perception in an attempt to awaken some sensation in them. Patterns and textures inspired by the unexplored depths of the sea and especially its flora, also find their place in this trend.
As far as silhouettes are concerned, these shapes are sensual and sexy in an empowering way, with suggestive cuts and transparent materials employed with ingenious sculptural engineering whose boundaries explore the possibilities of moving towards the artistic, influenced by the "skins" used as virtual costumes in video games.
The importance of doing something for the planet
Social concern for the environment is being reflected in the increasing demand for sustainable choices by consumers, who seek to continue consuming without harming nature.
This has spawned a growing trend for the "natural" that makes use of a palette of calm organic tones composed of earth tones, clay, ecru, browns, sand, stone and muted neutrals, contrasted with the use of black and indigo to suggest an otherworldly provenance.
As far as fabrics are concerned, the word "sustainable" is repeated over and over again in the search for good, recycled or latest generation materials, making the most elemental textiles such as pure and simple plain ones or the rough and grainy textures that are achieved by taking organic textiles and biotechnology products as they are and trying to find their beauty in repair and reuse.
Another less contemplative way to address climate change is through environmental activism, and consumers know that the clothes they wear in their everyday lives are advocacy tools that allow them to communicate with their environment.
This passionate palette finds its source of inspiration in the warm, energetic hues of the sun and sea, which are used in designs that don't differentiate between bodywear, swimwear and leisurewear, as these are options for real life.
Fabrics tend to be functional, to bring the comfort of lightweight or seamless fabrics to our everyday lives, but combining soft velvet details with sporty stretch terry, born from recycled or regenerated fibres and materials, organic cotton or cellulose crops.
When it comes to patterns, solid colours leave prints in the background but explore the use of subtle gradients, generative tints and mostly tonal digital abstracts.
The shapes are inventive and inspired by active sports and streetwear, which in combination with the application of technology manages to give shape to utilitarian pieces with climbing ropes, buckles, straps...
The value of craftsmanship
In line with this trend of placing value on nature, there is an increasing focus on recognising the role of craftsmanship, which is sometimes also being presented as a way of giving new life to the clothes we already have, embracing the singular, the unique, and even the rare.
The most characteristic colour of this line would be ecru, typical of salvaged material, but also those natural tones that soften and whiten with use and washing. Patterns are displaced to hand-painting in most cases.
When it comes to fabrics, more consideration is given to their environmental impact than to the quality that often seeks to make the most of what we have, which is also shown in the finishes made both with recovered ornaments and accessories and with artisanal techniques such as crochet, knitting or macramé that give rise to nostalgic silhouettes that appear to be careless, sexy, fun and even festive.
Sexy, feminist and empowered
Trends are no stranger to female empowerment, which currently takes the form of feminism and, depending on the personality, sex or romanticism, but above all self-love, beauty, health and wellness, aspects closely related to body positivity.
This comes in a hyper-romantic, emotional and sensitive palette laden with sugary, synthetic-looking pastels, but also the blackest black and pearlescent shades.
In terms of fabrics, silks and taffetas triumph alongside velvet or lush lace, for opulence is the key when it comes to dramatic effect.
Lingerie is no longer reserved for intimacy, but is showcased in the form of lush lace corsetry, with softly boned bras for women, supple and comfortable girdles, and corsets strongly supported with technological materials and contemporary feel-good engineering.
This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.ES. Translation and edit by: Rachel Douglass.