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4 Denim trends for autumn/winter 2023

By Rachel Douglass


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Kingpins | Image: Aygin Kolaei for FashionUnited

As part of the most recent edition of the Kingpins denim fair, which took place April 20 to 21 in Amsterdam, owner of Denim Dudes, Amy Leverton, presented four denim trends that can be expected for the coming autumn/winter 2023 season.

The report was complemented by a presentation at the entrance of the event, where a range of looks related to each trend were on display. The exhibit was part of a new concept for this edition of Kingpins, for which the trade show hand selected a number of its exhibitors to be a part of the installation, granting them the opportunity to display garments they had created and developed.

Matching the general vibe of the trade show, the trends explored by Leverton mirrored the current post-pandemic frame of mind in society, touching on elements of escapism, post-apocalyptic optimism and the desire to give back to the earth.

(From left) Image: Vetements AW22, Isabel Marant AW22, Balenciaga AW22 - all courtesy of CatwalkPictures


Closely tied into the growing popularity of a Balenciaga-esque ambience and the blurring of the lines between reality and digitalisation, this trend centred around the exploration of how the online world can often have implications in real life. The word simulacrum already encapsulates the concept in itself, defined as the imitation of reality.

It comes as brands begin dipping their toes into the possibilities of digital implementation, through the launch of big tech partnerships, meta marketing and digital asset releases like virtual reality clothing or non-fungible token (NFT) collections.

Much of the silhouettes included in Simulacrum focused on shielding the body from the outside world, seen in ballooning forms and exaggerated utility wear that mirror the sense of defiance the trend envelops. The modernisation of past styles is also highly present, like the rejuvenation of low rise jeans and acid wash techniques that made their mark in the late 90s, early noughties.

Colours in this trend go from dark and moody, hinting to the apocalyptic essence it touches upon, to more saturated online hues, like bright orange and electric blue.

(From left) Image: Etro AW22, Christian Siriano AW22, Marni AW22 - all courtesy of CatwalkPictures

The Outsiders

Similarly, this trend also referenced post-apocalyptic themes, however, in contrast to the darker, digital exploration, The Outsiders centred around optimism and connecting deeply with the earth. Crafting, home grown products and agricultural techniques are highly favoured for this trend, putting an emphasis on clothing that holds a strong meaning to the wearer.

The aesthetic links closely with a popular trend from the past year: Goblincore, which focused more on the aversion to capitalistic structures through eco-friendly apparel.

Particular attention was placed upon natural washes and mineral tones, mirrored in the colours for the trend, which included the likes of military greens and indigoes. However, these contrasted greatly with neon orange and luminous yellow, shown at the other end of the spectrum, tying in closely with the trend’s modern rejuvenation of hippie culture.

(From left) Image: Blumarine AW22, Labrum London AW22, Matty Bovan AW22 - all courtesy of CatwalkPictures


As a response to customers looking to fill a void following the pandemic, Wonderment is focused on a sense of escapism, with clothes that look to link closely to the wearer’s emotions. Similar to the current dopamine dressing movement, much of this trend is about evoking joy and playfulness through bold styling and colour choices.

A particular highlight draws influence from the legacy of the late Virgil Abloh, who centred his work around encouraging young designers to bring fun into high fashion. This impact can be seen in cartoonish designs, hand finished styling, repurposed textiles and psychedelic surfaces, all of which summarised the liveliness of this trend.

Each colour included in Wonderment is meant to be played with, a definitive element to the trend that is looking to promote experimentation, expressionism and creativity. Bright yellows, blues and oranges intertwine with one another, presenting a wide range of opportunities for colours that intend to be useful throughout the entire year.

(From left) Image: GCDS AW22, Mark Fast AW22, Molly Goddard AW22 - all courtesy of CatwalkPictures


Described as one of the more commercial trends for the season, Softly takes a more philanthropic approach to fashion, with a particular emphasis on slow growth businesses and small impact products. Authentic storytelling is a pivotal part of Softly, encouraging brands to preserve ancestry, elevate cultural stories and be considerate of deep rooted traditions, caring both for the planet and its people.

As the name suggests, Softly’s colour scheme pivots around pastel hues and autumnal shades, with particular focus on raw materials and processes, like untreated denim and natural dyes.

Like the other trends, remaking and repurposing are definitive characteristics, however they appear more elevated, utilising techniques like shibori tie dye and hand embroidery. Silhouettes match the calmness and serenity Softly explored, defined through the use of cocooning forms, duster lengths and simplified workwear.

autumn/winter 2023
Denim Dudes
Trade show