Brown is the new grey

While the fashion world welcomes the summer of 2019, the well-known trend researcher Li Edelkoort looks at the trends for the 2020/21 season and gives us clues today of what we will be wanting to surround ourselves with the day after tomorrow. She explains why folklore, home bars, mystical baths and the colour brown will be important to society.

Colourful and traditional crafts
For 2020, Li Edelkoort has announced a colourful, urban phenomenon called “Folklore of Fashion” celebrating cultures and traditional craftsmanship. The exciting finding from her studies is that folklore creates a new sense of community while at the same time, reflects a longing for uniqueness. It combines traditional crafts such as weaving, embroidery, knotting and dyeing. Even haute couture is now focussed on quilts and patchwork, transforming our old clothes mountains into something new and valuable. Li Edelkoort states that techniques and items used have been similar worldwide for centuries. People from the most remote regions have always seemed to develop the same visions and techniques independently. So we can find folk flowers in India, in the Swiss Alps and in Mexico. And fringes can be found in both Spanish and African tribes. Sweeping dance skirts are typical in South America and also in deepest Russia and tunics are present in may different places in the world. The subject of folklore is extremely regional, yet at the same time more international and urban than ever before. Costumes and handicraft techniques are gaining in importance again around the globe and in particular, will be found in tomorrow’s fashion.

In the last seminar, on 5 November 2018, in Zurich, Li Edelkoort pointed out colour’s big comeback. She presented her main thesis to the experts in her trend book “House of Colour”; here is an excerpt of the five most important topics:

The home bar as a place of relaxation
It is one of our new highlights. Tired of the ever-crowded restaurants and noisy lounges, the new generation prefers a drink home. This can be both quiet and improvised. The new home bar will be a place of welcome, inspired by whisky and cognac cocktails, in warm shades of yellow. All you need is a trolley with some nice glasses, and your bar is open. The setting is rounded off with side tables in shimmering natural stone surfaces, warm woods, brass and textiles in velvety amber and ochre shades.

Pastel-coloured studios, the new way to work
Open, light-filled studios are the future and replace the classic study. Tactile materials, soft geometric shapes and pastel shades like pale blue and sage transform the room into an oasis for thinking and working. Artfully arranged wall shelves and sideboards make their comeback and liven up the space.

Pink will conquer interiors and our apartments
Although this delicate colour shade has been a star in fashion for a long time, it has so far only appeared as an accent colour in interiors. Li Edelkoort predicts that our drawing rooms, lounges, and studios will soon be pink. This colour can be found in velvety fabrics, marble surfaces, tiles, carpets and wall colours. Pink, which has just been defined as the world’s oldest pigment, blends gold and natural tones to create a harmonious companion.

The black bath becomes a mystic ceremonial temple
The bath becomes a new centre and spiritual ceremonial temple for relaxation. Soft, dark colours and glamorous brass replace clinical white and cool silver. Inspired by oriental bathhouses with patterned tiles, with their revival celebrated wrapped in cotton and linen towels.

The bedroom becomes a spiritual retreat
Light white tones, such as eggshell, cream or butter, give bedrooms that air of relaxation and tranquility that we are all seeking. Light, cuddly quilts and mercerised cotton towels, enfold us and help us forget the pandemonium of the outside world for a while.

“Brown is the New Grey” – the new 2020/21 season

In her latest study, Edelkoort points out how the colour brown, which was last in fashion in the 1970s, will influence our future. Black was worn only at funerals and occasionally at cocktail parties. Today, it seems inconceivable that there is anyone who does not have one item of black clothing in their wardrobe. After nearly five decades, brown and its entire colour scale will take over from black. Warmer than grey, softer than black and stronger than white, brown radiates the mild optimism that is slowly replacing the devastating sense of social decline, loss of value and change of recent years. With brown comes the need of our society to finally grow up, and to claim our heritage in an abstract way. It ushers in the great change we have all been waiting for and is led by “Generation Z”. This generation of moderate and modest consumers, which will soon be considered the world’s largest consumer group, has been concerned with issues of sustainability and conservation of planet earth for quite some time. Their consumption behaviour will renew the fashion and design system from within, with a clear, activist undertone of equality and creativity and subsequently influence the whole production chain. However, Generation Z has never owned a brown sweater or brown leather shoes. Therefore, this colour is very new and exciting for them. For brown symbolises melancholy and nostalgia for better times. The new shades of brown radiate quality and longevity. Cars in the colours caramel, butter, bronze and tobacco will underline this theory. After awakening from a long hibernation, brown is linked not only to heavy, thick and solid materials such as leather, metal and canvas, but also to flowing elements. Gloss and glitter give beauty and strength to oxidised and tarnished metal browns. There will also be faux fur and shaggy fabrics with long, curly fibres. Clothes will look as if they have been cuddled for a lifetime.

Trend seminar with Li Edelkoort in Basel – Trends 2020/21
Former President of Design Academy Eindhoven, Li Edelkoort, is one of the 25 most influential people in the world, according to “Time Magazine”, and will give one of her exclusive trend seminars on June 14, 2019 in Basel.