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Q&A with trend analyst Christine Boland

By FashionUnited

Mar. 9, 2021


As the FW21 season is underway, FashionUnited’s FW21 United Kickoff campaign is there to give fashion buyers an overview of the fall/winter 2021-22 collections, offer unique trend insights, unite the fashion industry and connect even more professionals. Christine Boland, a trend analyst, spoke with FashionUnited to share her insights into the FW21 collections.

Where do you think inspiration has come from for the FW21 season?

I think the essence of the FW21 season, due to everything that is happening in the world, is the intention to revalue everything: rethink, redesign, reuse, repurpose, restart, recompose, rewrite, re-engage etc. For fashion, right now ‘re’ is the keyword. This does not mean that we go back to yesterday, but, that we filter out the good things from yesterday and we translate them into a new visual vocabulary for tomorrow.

What FW21 trend has excited you most?

In my trend forecast, I have named a trend ‘poetic heritage,’ where we see an amalgamation of heritage items and fabrics such as Scottish and English fabrics and classic shapes, but then redesigned with a poetic ingredient. An example of a designer who has illustrated this trend would be Victoria Beckham who produced a beautiful womenswear shirt in a traditional check pattern. The material and the shape of the shirt make it look like it is from the menswear collection, but the collar and the ruffled detailing make it so feminine. I think there are many translations of this idea in the collections for 2021.

After seeing many of the FW21 collections, is there anything similar throughout the collections that you have noticed?

If you zoom out and look at the collections, the love and attention into each and every item, detail and pattern can be seen, which I think is what we need instead of rushing into another season, there’s attention in the moment.

I also think the collections created were trying to build on one’s style rather than changing one’s wardrobe every season. So that each individual can collect pieces throughout the diverse seasons and produce their own personal accumulation of items, I think the designers anticipated this.

Due to Covid-19, digital fashion shows have had to take place this year: do you think that this will affect FW21 fashion buying?

There are of course two sides to this but I imagine by doing digital shows one of the positives is being able to zoom in on every detail and watch or rewatch it at your own pace. From the fashion buyer side, there is even more attention to the designs, the details and what the designer is trying to tell the audience through a story. However, fashion shows are all about this moment of being together, the collective energy and awe around a presentation, which is not there anymore.

Do you think the retailer and brand dynamics have changed irreversibly due to Covid-19?

I don’t know if they are irreversibly changed, but I’m quite convinced that the dynamics have changed in some way. Not only for the fact that we watch collections and visit digital showrooms virtually but, I also think there will be alternative solutions than thousands of people coming together going to showrooms and fairs. I think brands are going to meet specific clients rather than everyone coming together like before, which I think will create more personal and profound relationships.

How do you think the impact of Covid-19 has affected the fashion industry creatively?

I think there is an explosion of creativity. When life becomes difficult human beings become creative because we find ways to deal with things if we are restricted in any way.

Even with fashion designers who could not get their fabrics because of Covid-19, they remade old stock or sourced products locally, there is a lot of creativity going around in the fashion industry. For example, fashion label Miu Miu made a collection of recomposed vintage items. They took items from their own collection and recreated them into modernised silhouettes.

The fashion industry is revaluing what it has, what is possible and it's reconsidering what is really important. The change in the industry is more obvious now and it’s more convincing. It’s also kind of a rebellion towards the crazy pace of the industry with its 12 collections a year and four catwalk shows, people were literally tired of the speed. Now, we slow down and recompose, recraft and rebalance the system.

Do you want to view FW21 clothing collections? Click here to view the FashionUnited Marketplace.

Photo credit: Anja van Wijgerden