What will fashion be like 20 years from now? (2022)

designed | Fashion

What will fashion be like 20 years from now?

What will fashion be like 20 years from now? (1)

By Bel Jacobs10th April 2019

From virtual collections to limitless creativity, in the first of a new series on future culture, Bel Jacobs explores what style will look like in two decades’ time.


Watch any recent science-fiction movie and you’ll be struck by divergent visions of the future, as seen through the eyes of Hollywood costume departments. Follow the sartorial route of Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, for example, and we can expect to sheath our fortunately pneumatic bodies in reinforced scuba suits. Turn instead to the post-apocalyptic worlds of Blade Runner 2049 and the TV series The Expanse, and the offer is bastardised street wear, scavenged from the wardrobes of the past.

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Anything, apparently, is better than what we have now. From questions over modern slavery to the planet-levelling effects of over-consumption, fashion is under fire – and brands are having to adapt. According to a recent report shared at the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana’s third international roundtable on sustainability in Milan, buyers at stores like Barneys and Saks in the US and Printemps in France expect to nearly double their total spending on sustainable products in the next five years, from 23% to 40%.

What looks set to remain constant, however, is the urge to consume, hard-wired into human nature. As Dr Mark Summer from Leeds University School of Design wrote, in Fixing Fashion, this year's report by the Environmental Audit Committee: “fashion satisfies consumers’ psychogenic needs… and any solution has to recognise – and maintain – these benefits.

Accordingly, innovators are exploring future solutions that offer all the hit of the new buy without stripping the earth – and the answers, increasingly, appear to lie in the digital world. “We’re finally seeing the digital industry revolutionise age-old practice and evolving over the next 20 years,” says Rachel Stott of The Future Laboratory. “Immaterial and digital fashion offers opportunities for brands to exert creativity, and connect with consumers through a different medium.”

What will fashion be like 20 years from now? (3)

In TV series The Expanse the post-apocalyptic look is scavenged street wear (Credit: Alamy)

A hairstyle made from water, a dress that alters its shape according to sound: these are all possible – Rachel Stott

And in one manifestation, the clothes won’t exist at all. When Norwegian retailer Carlings launched a digital collection last year, the fashion – futuristic streetwear, bought online and e-fitted to users’ photos – was created to counter the ‘wear once, take a selfie, chuck it away’ philosophy of today’s frantic online influencer. “We’ve opened up a world of taking chances with styling, without leaving a negative footprint on the world,” Morten Grubak of Virtue Nordic, told iD’s Jake Hall, at the time.

For the virtual generation, the digital collection is just a logical step forward. Fervent players of games like Fortnite, The Sims and Sansar already spend billions on things that aren’t actually there – including clothes. “Increasingly, we will see digital collections and garments free from physical and creative restrictions become part of the fashion landscape,” says Stott.

What will fashion be like 20 years from now? (4)

Norwegian retailer Carlings launched a digital collection in 2018, paving the way ahead (Credit: Carlings)

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“There is a clear trend to blending the physical world with online content,” agrees Matthew Drinkwater, of the London College of Fashion’s Fashion Innovation Agency. His vision posits a future in which, using augmented-reality glasses that overlayg digital imagery onto the real world, we ‘share’ the clothes we want to be seen wearing into the AR glasses of others who are participating.

Pie-in-the-sky? Not quite. Working with Lucasfilm's immersive entertainment division ILMxLAB, Drinkwater introduced the project at designer Steven Tai’s London Fashion Week 2018 presentation.

"The project hints at a future where we will be able to download content to our clothing, viewable through AR glasses, and present ourselves differently to everyone around us,” says Drinkwater. “Our identities are constantly evolving and becoming more fluid by straddling both the digital and physical realms,” adds Stott. “Digital fashion allows people to fully experiment with how they would like to be perceived – and push limitless creative boundaries. A hairstyle made from water, a dress that alters its shape according to sound: these are all possible.”

Brave new world

But, if the thought of operating so completely online makes you jumpy, there are more concrete applications for the tech. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, $500 billion is lost every year in clothing under-use and waste costs; 87% of all fashion made goes to landfill. So what would happen if we only made clothes people really wanted? This is the concept behind NY-based digital agency Neuro Studio’s latest work, Solventus 2019, a collection for which human models were 3D-scanned to obtain precise measurements before the garments were designed directly onto digital avatars.

What will fashion be like 20 years from now? (6)

Virtual-reality technology will play a key role in future fashion (Credit: Carlings)

The intention, eventually, is to only make the clothes – capes, body harnesses and leggings built with body-supporting weaves and cold weather fabrics; very post-apocalyptic – when someone orders them.

And there is, of course, more: Neuro Studio’s collection encompasses 3D-printing, the tech that allows designers to tailor-make pieces digitally for individual customers. Sportswear companies such as Nike, which already allows shoppers to design their own trainers, posit a future where consumers will be able to 3D print their own shoes at home. Shoppers could become designers – when streetwear label Hype couldn’t decide which design to go for, they let their customers choose via an Instagram post.

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What will fashion be like 20 years from now? (7)

Fashion e-fitted to users’ photos has already been created by Carlings, and is set to be more widespread in years to come (Credit: Carlings)

We are, says Stott, moving ever closer to consumer-designed clothing. “Fashion – the industry it once was – no longer holds the cultural imagination or kudos it once did,” she says. “The hegemony of fashion influencers has shifted in recent years, from designers, creative directors and magazine editors to the people. The consumer wants creative input and hyper-personalised products, and technology is empowering them to do so.”

Clothes will function as a new interface – Mano ten Napel

At the same time, the technology that goes into clothes themselves is galloping ahead. Smart fabric companies are developing materials that can gather data such as, in the case of the Nike Adapt BB basketball shoe, whether a wearer needs to alter their strike in order to avoid injury. “In the future, with the roll out of 5G, clothes will function as a new interface, impacting on the way we communicate with the connected world and with each other,” says Mano ten Napel, founder of digital magazine FashNerd.

Whether or not these technologies will available to all, as in the case of fast fashion , is another matter. “I look at social behaviours,” reflects fashion forecaster Geraldine Wharry. “And I think supply scarcity – in terms of water and fabric shortages and costs going up, for example – is going to be a big one. When those things happen, people shift their budgets for what they really need to survive.” And fast fashion? “It’s an outdated model,” says Wharry. “I just cannot see how it can continue. Brands without some kind of sustainability strategy are in trouble.”

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What will fashion be like 20 years from now? (9)

Smartphones already play a major role in the fashion industry (Credit: Getty)

So where will the ordinary person turn for their fashion fix? As future tech evolves, parallel movements are showing a return to the hand made and the tactile. “There’s a lot of interest in craft,” says Wharry. “It’s a different way of connecting with the clothes.” Secondhand markets are exploding; according to fashion resale site ThredUP, sites like itself are growing 24 times faster than the retail industry as a whole. Meanwhile, the rental economy is gaining traction. “In fashion, rental can provide newness without the environmental cost,” says Sara Arnold of Higher Studio.

Fashion will retain its identity as a form of escapism and expression

“Humans still need to be clothed so we will see a shift in the way in which we access clothing in the future,” says Stott. “Ownership is no longer the end goal. We outsource our music and film choices to digital subscription services, and we will see a similar movement with clothing powered by AI. People will subscribe to central fashion services, and borrow clothes on a short-term basis according to their needs and lifestyle changes, reducing the masses of clothing sitting unused in a closet.”

What will fashion be like 20 years from now? (10)

The character Luv is attired in white in the dystopian film Blade Runner 2049 (Credit: Alamy)

However we get our clothes, fashion will retain its identity as a form of escapism and expression, particularly as planetary conditions get more difficult. “If you look at the Great Depression, there was a lot of glitz and glamour,” says Wharry. “And if you look at the trends right now, there’s a lot of colour. Fashion is always a mirror of what is going on in society. There could be so much difference between the haves and the have-nots in the future that it could create very extravagant fashion.”

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What will clothing be like in 2050? ›

Extravagant Fashion: Regarding the clothes of the future, 2050 could reach a whole new level of extravagant clothing. Trends are already showing the use of bold colours that will likely continue within the next 100 years but to many people's surprise, clothes have the possibility to become more 3-Dimensional.

What will be the future of fashion? ›

Sustainability and digitization are the two major categories that will determine and change fashion trends in the future. No brand or retailer will be able to avoid them. Sustainability and digitization are anything but opposites. In fact, many sustainable developments can only be implemented through digital processes.

What is the 20 year rule in fashion? ›

Often referred to as the “20-year rule”, the cyclical concept that every 20 years or so the trends that were once popular will begin to be on the forefront again. Although, with the rise in social media, the trend cycle is being cut shorter and shorter.

Do fashion trends come back every 20 years? ›

It seems that most core trends repeat every 20 to 30 years (a concept often called the “20-Year Rule”). This 20-year timeline could be that designers consciously or subconsciously take inspiration from the styles their parents wore.

What is the future of smart clothing? ›

New materials and devices could make clothes safer, comfier and more convenient. Smart materials are being developed for street-wear. Some types could better keep people warm in frigid conditions or cool while working out.

What clothes will be trending in 2023? ›

7 fashion trends to have on your radar in 2023
  • Tailoring. Slouchy, oversized blazers were all the rage at Valentino and even Chanel opted for relaxed-fit versions of its trademark bouclé jackets in playful pinks. ...
  • Mini dresses. ...
  • Lace. ...
  • Fringing. ...
  • Thigh-high splits. ...
  • Denim.
17 Oct 2022

What will the fashion industry be like in 2030? ›

There is still the question of what sustainability and growth is like. A recent report by the Global Fashion Agenda revealed that the fashion industry could be 80 percent sustainable by 2030 with increased investment in existing recycling technologies and infrastructures.

How technology will change fashion in the future? ›

Robots that sew and cut fabric, AI algorithms that predict style trends, clothes to be worn in virtual reality — an array of innovations show how technology is automating, personalizing, and speeding up the fashion space.

Does fashion design Have a Future? ›

The scope of fashion designing does not restrict in India only but one can have job opportunities in aboard as well with their creativity and experience. After completing their professional studies in fashion Designing, students have innumerable choices in front of them.

What jeans will be in style 2023? ›

Two-toned or color block jeans are one of the more adventurous jean trends hitting shelves in 2023. The colorblocking acts like a contour for your legs and will make them appear longer than they are. Look for a pair with a slight flair to really play into the optical illusion.

What era of fashion is coming back? ›

Inspired by the 2000s (Y2K Fashion) Y2K fashion is by far today's trendiest comeback look as 2000s outfits took a pretty dramatic turn away from the '90s overall subtle looks. Y2K glamorizes femininity and often showcases more skin than most fashion eras.

What era of fashion are we in 2022? ›

2022 Fashion Trend: Regencycore, Continued.

Is 80s fashion coming back 2022? ›

We can be thankful to the 1980s for the superb fashion trends returning in the year 2022. An era filled with over-the-top silhouettes, permed hair, and saturated colours, the 1980s were possibly the boldest decade in fashion history.

Is 90s style coming back 2022? ›

In fact, lots of your current favorite trends were actually born in the '90s and you might not have even known it. 2022 staples like leather blazers, mom jeans, vest tops, and varsity jackets were faves for your parents' generation and now they can live in your closet, too.

Is 2000's style coming back? ›

In an otherwise restrained era, the return of hot pink, exposed midriffs and more allows for both escape and self-expression.

What will future clothes be made from? ›

But in a not-so-distant future, fashion biomaterials made from plant leaves, fruit waste, and lab-grown microorganisms may replace animal-derived textiles — including leather, fur, wool and silk — with implementation at first on a small but quickly expanding scale, but eventually on a global scale.

Is the future of fashion digital? ›

Crowned one of Gartner's top five impactful technologies of 2022, the metaverse is marketing's latest buzzword.

Will fast fashion continue to grow? ›

The global fast-fashion industry jumped from $91.23 billion in 2021 to $99.23 billion in 2022 for a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8.8%, according to the Global Market Report. By 2026, it's projected to grow to $133.43 billion for a CAGR of 7.7%.

What trends will be big in 2022? ›

Here Are the Top 12 Trends You'll See Everywhere in 2022
  • Scrap Cooking. The zero-waste movement has inspired “scrap cooking,” or whipping up a meal out of would-be kitchen waste. ...
  • Glitter, Sequins And Sparkles. ...
  • Twee Everything. ...
  • Air-fryer Finger Foods. ...
  • Barkitecture. ...
  • Rich Chocolate Hair. ...
  • Moon Parties. ...
  • Hibiscus-flavored Everything.
11 Jan 2022

What are the next trends 2022? ›

Several recurrent trends are appearing for interiors in 2022. Some of the most popular elements include curves and arches, the return of herringbone flooring, and bringing nature indoors through color and plants.

What will retail look like in 2030? ›

In 2030, retailers must have an integrated omnichannel shopping experience that allows them to plan their supply based on the demand they're driving by personalizing offers, making product recommendations, and better directing customer interest. That's how retailers will keep margins where they need them.

What is the future of sustainable fashion? ›

“The future of fashion will see us moving away from using new fabrics to focus more on upcycled materials that will minimize our carbon footprint and reduce waste. The use of dead stock will hopefully become more of the norm, ensuring that our clothing remains in circulation rather than ending up in a landfill.”

How is the fashion industry changing? ›

Many advancements, like laser cuffing, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and robots, were made possible by digital technologies, which allowed for the automation and digitization of many production processes, transforming fashion design.

Is fashion constantly changing? ›

When people see these new styles, they often want to imitate their favorite stars. To do so, they seek out the latest fashions—clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. —to make themselves look like the people they want to be like. In this way, fashions constantly change over time.

What are the current issues in fashion? ›

Five challenges facing fashion retail in 2022
  • 1 Rising shop prices. ...
  • 2 End of the high street cost 'holiday' ...
  • 3 Brexit bureaucracy abounds. ...
  • 4 Continued supply chain chaos. ...
  • 5 Turning sustainability pledges into reality.
4 Jan 2022

Can fashion be predicted? ›

To effectively predict fashion trends, it is necessary to observe and study social-cultural movements to project a short, medium, or long-term impact on fashion direction. Trend forecasters develop a scenario using a combination of intuition and data, which they then present through writing and mood boards.

What skills will a fashion designer need for the future? ›

18 fashion designer skills
  • Creativity. Fashion design is a creative profession that requires innovation and imagination. ...
  • Art skills. Fashion designers are often skilled artists. ...
  • Computer skills. ...
  • Communication skills. ...
  • Interpersonal skills. ...
  • Attention to detail. ...
  • Sewing and crafting. ...
  • Dexterity.

What is the future of design? ›

“The future of design looks a little bit different from how it is now. In the future designers will work much more across boundaries; working with other designers to take a really holistic approach and with other professions like engineers, philosophers, and ecologists; people who work in care, tech and AI.

Can I still wear skinny jeans in 2022? ›

But you don't need to wait until skinny jeans are at the top of the denim trend list again to wear yours. Here are ways to style your tried-and-true pair to make them look cool in 2022.

Are skinny jeans still in style 2023? ›

and a final note on skinny jeans: You're not ready to give up skinny jeans completely in 2023? Neither am I! To wear them in 2023, try matching them with one of the following: long and oversized blazer; long and oversized coat with waist belt, leather jacket, a dress on top, which turns your skinny jeans into leggings.

Are skinny jeans outdated 2022? ›

Although skinny jeans aren't totally trending (yet), L'OFFICIEL makes an argument for digging out that long-forgotten denim look with new styling tricks that just might change your outlook on the slim silhouette. In 2022, celebrities and fashion influencers have certainly found better ways to wear their skinny jeans.

What trends do you wish would come back? ›

10 Fashion Trends That Are Making a Comeback
  • Mom jeans – 90s. ...
  • Round glasses – 20s. ...
  • Corduroy – 70s. ...
  • Chunky sneakers – 80s. ...
  • White boots – 70s. ...
  • Chokers – 90s. ...
  • High waisted jeans – 80s. ...
  • Silk scarves – 50s.

Will 50s fashion come back? ›

Out of all the decades, there's a reason the 1950s are coming back around. Personal stylist, Andie Sobrato, for instance, suspects it's because of how the time period epitomized glamor. "Women embraced femininity and dressed up for the most casual of occasions [during the 1950s]," Sobrato tells InStyle.

What's making a comeback in 2022? ›

One of our favourite 2022 fashion trends is the colour purple, which is everywhere this year and encompasses everything from low-key lilacs to bold, regal shades. Set to be autumn/winter's “It” colour, purple has been dominating the runways ever since Pantone unveiled colour of the year, Very Peri.

What decade is making a comeback in 2022? ›

The '90s and '00s-inspired trends making a comeback for 2022.

Is 1920s style coming back? ›

'Roaring Twenties' Style Is Back In Fashion — Here's Why. And, of course, how to make the look feel new. You've read the headline before: The Roaring Twenties Are Back!

What 90s fashion is coming back? ›

Slip dresses, bomber jackets, scrunchies and plaid flannel shirts were all the rage during the '90s — and many of these fashion trends are working their way back into vogue (although some of these pieces may have never left your closet).

What is out of style for fall 2022? ›


High waisted jeans, high waisted pants, high waist tennis skirts, skater skirts, knit pants, skinny jeans, hoodie sets, short blazers, leggings, fur coats, cropped leather jacket, A-style mini dresses, and cold shoulders are some of the favourite clothes out of fashion for fall 2022.

Are the 70s coming back 2022? ›

2022 also sees a nostalgic revival of 70s fashion. Think patchwork, fringes, clogs, suede vests and flared jeans. The trend is a celebration of the return of craftsmanship as glorified by Gabriela Hearst and Paco Rabanne's collections with their psychedelic prints and patchwork knits.

Are the 60s coming back 2022? ›

Fueled by social media and spurred on by increased output from fashion labels, the trend cycle in 2022 is fast-paced and varied, and it seems there's another fun and frivolous trend to try: the 60s summer revival.

Is 2000s fashion coming back in 2022? ›

If you've never heard of the Y2K style, you're missing the fashion trend that has been making a sensation on social media for some time now. The very colorful and retro looks of the 2000s have made a comeback in a major way and can be found in almost everyone's wardrobe, especially celebrities.

Are the 2000s coming back 2022? ›

In 2022, Y2K fashion is all the rage. We're seeing some of the quintessential late '90s and early 2000s styles back on the scene, like hot pink everything, low-rise jeans, bedazzled logos, baguette bags, and more.

How do you dress like 2000s fashion? ›

Popular outfits for women included mesh or handkerchief tops, box-pleated or leather skirts, shiny pants, and sparkly shoes. For men, Y2K looks usually involved leather jackets, a statement dress shirt, and chunky shoes.

What fashion era is coming back in 2022? ›


But everything else grunge is back in fashion for fall 2022. Fall 2022 is bringing back long cardigans, chunky cardigans, oversized sweaters, biker boots, mini pleated skirts (they were out of style for summer), slip dresses, plaid, baggy cargo jeans, oversized jackets and low waist.

What clothes should I get rid of in 2022? ›


High waisted jeans, high waisted pants, high waist tennis skirts, skater skirts, knit pants, skinny jeans, hoodie sets, short blazers, leggings, fur coats, cropped leather jacket, A-style mini dresses, and cold shoulders are some of the favourite clothes out of fashion for fall 2022.

What clothes will be trendy in 2022? ›

The Fall/Winter 2022 Trends Vogue Editors Are Shopping Now
  • Tailoring. Christopher John Rogers oversized single-breasted blazer. ...
  • Biker Boots. Rag & Bone moto boot. ...
  • Bright Knits. Gabriela Hearst Lawrence cashmere sweater. ...
  • Perfect Pea Coats. ...
  • Winter Color Blocking. ...
  • Sheer Dressing. ...
  • Dip a Toe in Sparkle. ...
  • Floor Length Skirts.
17 Nov 2022

What is redesigning of clothes? ›

Redesign is a more involved process than repair and alterations a tailor might make to fix functional issues or improve a garment's fit. Redesign could be considered a form of upcycling because it adds value by redesigning a used or discarded item into something different.

Can fashion be evolved? ›

Fashion will never go out of style, with so many people prioritizing self-expression these days. Fashion will continue to evolve and grow as long as there are people to dress and stylists who can find new ways to reinvent an old style.

How is the fashion industry evolving? ›

But the tides are changing, and brands are moving towards more sustainable fabrics and manufacturing methods. Fast fashion, which was popular for its ability to quickly and inexpensively reproduce runway looks, is in decline in favor of slow fashion—pieces that are more eco-friendly and designed to be longer lasting.

Are skinny jeans out 2022? ›

But you don't need to wait until skinny jeans are at the top of the denim trend list again to wear yours. Here are ways to style your tried-and-true pair to make them look cool in 2022.

What trends are making a comeback? ›

5 Fashion Trends Making a Comeback in 2022
  • Platform Shoes. One of the biggest fashion trends making a comeback right now is platform shoes, from boots, heels and sandals to chunky trainers with an amped-up sole. ...
  • Purple Hues. ...
  • Regencycore. ...
  • Baguette Bags. ...
  • Maximalist Prints.
19 Jul 2022

What era of clothing is coming back? ›

Inspired by the 2000s (Y2K Fashion) Y2K fashion is by far today's trendiest comeback look as 2000s outfits took a pretty dramatic turn away from the '90s overall subtle looks. Y2K glamorizes femininity and often showcases more skin than most fashion eras.

What wash of jeans is in Style 2022? ›

You really can't go wrong with a straight leg jean for 2022. This look is trending in a multitude of colors, including browns, greens, pinks and all denim washes from light to dark. You might also notice the patchwork look gaining momentum this year, especially in the straight leg design.

What is the most popular outfit in 2022? ›

9 Top Style Updates for Fall
  • Wider, looser jeans.
  • Loafers with attitude.
  • A wear-with-boots dress.
  • A leather or suede skirt.
  • A blue sweater.
  • A chic shirt-jacket.
  • A leggings replacement.
  • Real pants.
8 Sept 2022

What are the fall 2022 trends? ›

Anything Upcycled and Vintage. Trends from the '90s and Y2K have already resurfaced for 2022, but Valiente is interested in even more retro, recycled, and vintage looks heading into the fall season. "I am personally purchasing more consignment items versus new items after a long break from the vintage trend," she says.

What is the most popular color to wear in 2022? ›

According to fashion's top designers, we're in for a very regal 2022. Just look at the color palette! Royal purple, jewel-tone teal, and burning red are all trending hues incorporated on the Fall/Winter 2022 runways, each with its glamorous style.


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