Consumer Trends & Insights director for the business strategy consulting agency Nelly Rodi, Vincent Grégoire gave us the top five societal insights that will influence fashion in 2023.
Antis vs. Haves
In 2023, we can expect the rise of counter-powers, the highlighting of excesses. We are witnessing the emergence of a new morality that empowers the rich: anti-jets, anti-yachts, anti-furs, anti-traditions, anti-consumer society... This protest, subversive, intrusive movement comes from the boomers (Gen Z) but also people who are part of the seraglio, have worked for luxury groups and denounced, for example, dormant stocks, or the exaggeration of sampling. The Antis go through social networks. Denunciations, bashing and other more violent modus operandi will force the rich to question themselves.
This is why some luxury players are starting to talk about “regenerative luxury”, which aims to put meaning and intelligence, social and environmental, into their brand strategy. To respond to the Antis, companies like Lacoste set up Shadow codir, otherwise called Shadow comex (a junior management committee) which challenges the decisions taken by management. Others will rely on labels or certifications, like Chloé with B Corp.
This culture of traceability, responsibility and benevolence will favour brands that have mastered technical know-how (Belstaff jackets, Aigle boots, Doc Martens, Scholl, etc.). In addition, in 2023, we will see the success of committed labels such as Telfar Clemens or the empathy generated by the death of Vivienne Westwood, a fashion activist who met a new audience on TikTok.
The world of luxury is going to consider less showy window displays with, for example, new street artists who work at diamond point and can engrave the windows. These attacks will force the rich to protect themselves, according to the famous adage “to live happily, live hidden”. Playing the card of ultra-security and confidentiality, new shops will no longer have a storefront but will move upstairs. It's the return of the speakeasy, selective entry, the VIP card and the waiting list. This will lead to a business of security, VPN (Virtual Private Network, a protected connection) and protection in general.
The new extravaganza
It is a stance that opposes injunctions to sobriety, punitive, coercive. Tired of Marie Kondo? Mourning abundance? Since it's the end of the world, let's celebrate! The new extravaganza advocates the absurd, the quirky, the free, the glamour and the “go consumption” (as opposed to deconsumption).
It's the return of cabaret, the masked ball, designers at Harris Reed, newly appointed at Nina Ricci, who makes almost unwearable clothes with an overload of fabrics. This is Daniel Roseberry for Schiaparelli, the revival of wigs, adornment, fancy jewellery, ornament, a new preciousness. It's Kevin Germanier, who parades drag-queens and uses the remains of the late Le Lido, Moulin Rouge and Paradis Latin. It's the new Swarovski boutique concept which is similar to a jewellery box with XXL or XXS pieces.
To adapt, boutiques and department stores will have to opt for madness, retail experience, surprise, selfie traps and distorting mirrors, mirroring Alice in Wonderland in their communication. They need to focus on immersive experiences capable of taking consumers out of their homes. Like the Hyundai department store (Seoul, South Korea), which is a hybridisation between real and digital, with spaces where everything is avatarised: a floor for Gen Z which includes both second-hand sneakers, NFTs, Ramen restaurants and a VIP club reserved for customers who have a certain number of followers. Hyundai transforms its windows into a theatre stage, recording studio and a catwalk. You can see make-up artists working there as if it were a backstage shoot ready to Instagram.
The new extravaganza can promote the re-enchantment of shops provided that merchants are not "merchants", that they take risks, put passion and enthusiasm back into their stores. You have to create something crazy that creates a break, a dissonance and makes the client feel like they are at the amusement park.
The return of the lazy
Too much information and images to scroll through. In reaction to the FOMO syndrome (Fear of Missing Out), laziness is carried by Gen Z who disconnects, lets go, preferring to live in the present moment, even if it means procrastinating. It is the generation of the least effort. They advocate values of laziness, boredom, and wandering imagination. We are witnessing a dematerialisation of consumption, it is the culture of having everything and possessing nothing.
On the fashion side, this is reflected in the return of normcore (non-clothing): loungewear, homewear, dreamwear or softwear. This is the end of seasonal clothing in favour of long-term collections with slow values: outfits that never go out of fashion, that suit everyone (one size fits all in lingerie for example), with an inclusive concept. Paradoxically, we are witnessing both hyper rationalisation (a single model, know-how, technique, colour) and overproduction to make the purchase as uncomplicated as possible. The downside of this trend is everything, right away.
In fact, on the commercial side, it's 24/7: everything must be available all the time. In this culture of immediacy, we could see the return of vending machines, like Jacquemus with its bag dispenser. The influence of digital on the physical obliges, we are witnessing the dawn of a new automation with digitised shops without a cashier, where the customer pays by phone.
The art of “tinkering”
This trend, a mix of the words "do-it-yourself" and "tinkering", is part of an inflationary situation, with loss of purchasing power, scarcity of resources and planned obsolescence. This context generates a business of independence, self-sufficiency (doing with what you have). It's the era of ‘re’: refeed, recharge, repair, regenerate, restore. This tinkering goes with education, mentoring, tutoring: it's the idea of buying less ‘stupid’ for a win-win business relationship .
This translates into shops with workshops, which teach you how to wash your things or how to take care of them. New mini-markets where there is a laundromat or a maintenance workshop. New dry-cleaning concepts where you teach consumers to give their clothes a second life, to regenerate their sneakers. In Roubaix Les Trois Tricoteurs is a former textile factory where the customer can drink a coffee while a knitting machine makes them socks or a sweater at their request. It is also the new recycling centres that give value to waste: when the customer brings it back, they receive vouchers in exchange. Everything is recycled.
Do-it-yourself is co-buying, a phenomenon that is spreading in China: consumers come together to make group purchases that allow them to negotiate prices. It is also the “merchant customers”, a new generation of buyers who invest while already thinking of resale. This alternative consumption is the new ‘free’: barter, exchange, charity and, of course, rental and second hand. It is also the trend of chance: the return of the lucky bag or a new way of trading by creating irrational desires, through concepts like online betting or lotteries. It is the rise of Hard Trendy (as opposed to Hard Discount). Today, even the provincial bourgeois go to Lidl, Aldi or Primark.
The Rise of CSR R&D
Faced with geopolitical, spiritual, ecological and social challenges, leadership are working to find prospective Research and Development in a CSR philosophy (social and environmental responsibility). They pave the way for the business of regeneration, for companies with a mission, for regenerative ecology (taking inspiration from the way nature hybridised to regenerate). They advocate values of biomimicry: biotechnologies, biosciences, biomaterials and bioluminescence.
In fashion, this translates into the outdoor trend, ‘gorpcore’ (or survivalist) with emerging brands, mainly from Korea or the Californian coast. Clothing made from bio-sourced, eco-designed or eco-responsible materials such as hemp, linen, or nettle. It is the return of natural or synthetic materials in order not to mix them because, then, they are no longer recyclable .
It is, for example, the Coperni fashion show with a cellulose dress, made of an organic material that can be composted. Or Pangaia replacing animal down with wildflowers. This is the approach of a reasoned short circuit. A principle of eco-benevolence, a natural and sustainable approach to fashion, in search of a balance between man and earth.This article originally appeared on