Update: This post was originally published on December 23, 2016.
Fashion has always been sensitive to the whims of the world — they teach that stuff in history books. So, if you can find out the state of the economy by looking at the length of hemlines, what fashion trends are going to give away some of the biggest social, political, and cultural shifts our country has undergone in a decade? And, if it takes six months on average between an idea and an actual garment, we should be seeing a rash of way-brand-new things hitting stores in about four months.
But to look ahead means also taking stock at where we are now. In 2016, the fashion industry dipped into three decades for explicit inspiration — the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, where roller-disco bohemian, Dynasty opulence, and skater grunge filled the racks of every single store. There was also a strong theme of “you do you” outside of whatever norms society expects of you, which meant more non-gendered clothing, and more statement pieces for women in expanded sizes and ages. Though 2016 was a singular year because of the tragedies that marred it, the fashion was defiant — more often than not, it was optimistic, too.
But will that optimism extend into 2017? It’s hard to say, but I’ve made a few predictions about the trends that’ll become popular, the ways the industry will respond to society, and a couple big moments that might change the way that we do — or see — things. Here are my bets for the year ahead.