Let’s face it, the last two years of living in a worldwide pandemic has been tough on everyone. As we rang in 2022, many countries put a stop to festivities as the Omicron variant infected so many and spread so easily, even among the triple vaccinated (myself included). Thankfully this variant seems to be mild and not as deadly as Delta. But as the world watches and waits for life to return to some sort of normal, like the saying goes…the show must go on!
Throughout these past 2 pandemic years, designers and fashion companies have re-evaluated their business strategies and have put a greater focus on sustainability and improving their carbon footprint. In November of 2021, many in the fashion industry ramped up their climate efforts at the COP26 summit. According to the United Nations Climate Change website, “Fashion Charter signatories collectively represent a significant proportion of the fashion industry. There are currently 130 companies and 41 supporting organizations that have signed the Fashion Charter including some of the well-known brands such as Burberry, H&M Group, VF Corporation, Adidas, Kering, Chanel, Nike, and PUMA as well as suppliers such as Crystal Group, TAL Apparel and others.”
However, as the fashion industry tries to come up with solutions to help protect the environment, one thing is for sure, they continue to produce an endless supply of clothes to generate sales (hello, pre-fall and resort collections). For the past 20 years, fashion’s nonstop production cycles have been driven by social media, retailers, the press, and of course celebrity influencers. Celebs sell-out designer looks in minutes. Case in point, Kim Kardashian, who recently elevated Balenciaga’s sales while serving Kanye West with divorce papers dressed in Balenciaga. And, according to Love the Sales (a fashion e-commerce aggregator), the search for Balenciaga dresses increased by 200 percent in less then 24 hours when Kardashian, dressed foot-to-finger in Balenciaga, announced that she had passed the ‘baby bar’ exam. For your info, Kardashian will still have to continue her studies and take a second bar exam. Another influencer opportunity? Stay tuned.
Can’t help but wonder what Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wore when she passed her bar exam, LOL.
So, as the industry explores ways to make fashion more sustainable and ‘circular’, enter Pre-Fall. But what is Pre-Fall exactly? For starters, it is the longest-running season open to buyers and press in November and wrapping up on the heels of spring couture week in January. Usually, Pre-Fall collections offer more commercial looks than the major runway seasons, offering retailers the opportunity to showcase new merchandise to their clients in between the Fall and Spring collections. Pre-Fall has become one of the most essential selling seasons, with product sitting on the sales floor for up to six months (usually from June to December).
While the name (pre-fall) refers to autumn, the merchandise actually hits the sales floor in early summer, translating to a hodgepodge assortment of everything from breezy dresses to outerwear.
If this all sounds confusing, join the club. The lingo is perplexing to everyone – designers, retailers, and consumers – so shouldn’t the season be looked at as a transitional one? Shouldn’t it be a season that offers seasonless dressing, pieces that can be layered and worn all year long?
Also, how should designers present their collections? Do they throw a full scale fashion extravaganza like Gucci, Dior, and Chanel, or do they hold private appointments for press and retailers and show their collection via Lookbook images like Prabal Gurung and Christopher John Rogers?
As our industry continues to contemplate fashion’s impact on climate change, the use of influencers to promote product that will eventually will end up in landfills, and what the Pre-Fall season really means to them, the show must go on, right? Here are some of the trends we’re watching thus far:
The plush life – for both day and night.
UoF subscribers can learn more about designing and working with velvet here: Introduction to Fibers & Fabrics, Pattern Layout on Napped Fabrics, Rendering Velvet, Blind Stitch – Double Overcast Stitch, Pressing Tools & Techniques,
Check mate! Designers are going mad for plaid from Oscar de la Renta’s mixed patchwork plaid numbers to Christian Dior’s logo-driven tartans. These ultra cool looks are anything but ‘elementary my dear’.
ROMANCING THE SWEATER
Comfy doesn’t always have to mean casual. For pre-fall, designers looked back to every Y2K girls favorite knit piece and brought back the beloved cardigan sweater. From Gucci’s strawberry motif to Erdem’s crystal button version, these sweaters are the perfect update to transition into cooler weather.
Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced knitter, have we got lessons for you! In fact, we have a whole Knit Series.
Start with Introduction to Knit Fabrics and move into our hand-knitting, crocheting and our lessons on cut and sew knits.
Real or faux, leather outerwear is all the rage this pre-fall season. From Chloé’s crafty version to Balenciaga’s futuristic coat, this outerwear trend will surely set you apart from the crowd.
If you know anything about sewing, you know that working with leather and faux leather requires a different set of skills. Let’s face it, the material is unforgiving! Not only did our UoF founder write the leading book on leather, Leather Fashion Design, but has produced a slew of video lessons covering the topic in detail, both faux and real. Start by learning about the different types of leather skins and how they are measured in our lesson, Leather: From Tanning to Types. Then check out: Leather Sewing Techniques, Leather: Sorting & Cutting, Leather: Interfacing & Stabilizing Seams, and then watch and learn how a leather jacket is actually produced (filmed at GIII, the world’s largest manufacturer of leather garments) in our 4-part series beginning with Leather Sewing Techniques-Part 1. Also, check out our lesson on Faux Leather, Suede & Patent Leather Sewing Tips.
To learn how to draw and illustrate leather or any shiny material, view our lesson Rendering Leather.
THE RETURN OF THE MINI
The leg-baring mini trend has made its triumphant return! The mini was first introduced in the ‘60s as a playful and even defiant garment representing a shift in societal dynamics (according to Vogue Magazine). For pre-fall, designers have created mini looks in a variety of ways, from Givenchy’s simple black mini skirt suit look to Balmain’s baroque inspired minidress, one things for sure, it’s time to hit the gym and work on those legs.
For more on the evolution of the mini watch our fashion lectures: 100 Years of Fashion Rebels & Revolutionaries Part 1, and Part 2.
Vibrant scarf prints took over the pre-fall season, from Versace’s baroque inspired prints to Etro’s ‘70s inspired paisley motifs. These scarf inspired patterns will take you from vacation and beyond.
If the scarf trend has inspired you to re-purpose your old scarves into clothing, then you may need a refresher on how to sew sheer seams and hems. From learning how to sew a French Seam Finish to sewing a Hand-rolled Hem, we have a whole series on working with sheers.
If you are new to cutting sheer fabrics and handling bias, this is the lesson for you: The Art of Fluting. And if you would like to illustrate your sheers and prints, check out Rendering Sheer, Rendering Floral Print and Rendering Zebra.