An editorial shot of the 2018-2019 Fashion Production Association at Ohio State executive board. Credit: Courtesy of Skyler Ray

This year’s fashion forecast predicts an energizing color palette, bold pattern mixing and exaggerated silhouettes as the world opens back up after the pandemic.

Kristin Paulus, a  senior lecturer of fashion and retail studies at Ohio State, said the theme of “coziness,” seen last year in the form of oversized crewnecks, cardigans, loungewear and knits, showcased how society felt throughout the pandemic. In the new year, people want to get back out into the world and have been using fashion as a way to express this sentiment, with particular emphasis on energizing colors, she said. 

“One major theme going on this year is the idea of escapism through the expression of color,” Paulus said. “Color is being announced in a way we haven’t seen before, and the colors are quite loud.” 

Katie Hitchens, a fourth-year in fashion and retail studies, said she recently attended the MAGIC fashion trade show in Las Vegas from Feb. 14-16, where bold colors and other fashion trends of 2022 were on display. 

“Every single booth at this show had at least one item in the color Kelly green or a very vibrant orange,” Hitchens said. “Mixing patterns was also really popular in Las Vegas, such as mixing polka dots with plaid.” 

Although the new year may ring in bright colors and bold pattern mixing, some more subdued elements of well-being and caretaking from 2021 are also trickling into 2022, Paulus said. 

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“It’s interesting that a calming earth element, like water, is starting to be projected onto prints,” Paulus said. “While camouflage print is on its way out, we are seeing nature expressed in new ways, such as water ripples on garments.” 

Anna Johnson, a fourth-year in marketing and fashion and retail studies, is the president of the Fashion Production Association at Ohio State — a student organization that gives students a chance to get involved in the design, production, advertising and fundraising side of fashion and, ultimately, put together an annual fashion show, according to the organization’s website. 

She said this year marks the end of a few trends, such as more childlike themes that appeared to be temporary fads.

“One of those trends we kept seeing in 2021 was chunky plastic jewelry and Y2K-themed apparel,” Johnson said. “I don’t see these trends trickling into 2022 because it’s very youthful, in a way, and we have just started to outgrow that.”

As the theme of Y2K — categorized in fashion as styles that were popular in the early 2000s — exits, a new theme for this year has started to emerge, and Paulus said society has encouraged the movement toward personalization in fashion. 

“The theme of unity and diversity is very relevant this year,” Paulus said. “This is pretty powerful because it includes personalized designs, really cool collaborations and the overall richness of inclusivity that is here to stay.” 

However, Johnson said there are some garments that have proven to be wardrobe staples throughout the past couple of years and will likely continue to stick around. 

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“Garments like tailored suits and leather blazers are items that you can keep for years to come,” Johnson said. “It’s nice because you can mix these staple pieces with emerging trends that feature jewel tones and neon colors.” 

Besides color, personalization can be achieved in fashion through a variety of silhouettes and cuts of clothing as well, Paulus said. This year, the pendulum of fashion is focusing on legs and shoulders, she said.

“There is a huge theme in legs,” Paulus said. “We were focused on skinny jeans and leggings for a while, and now we are seeing a very wide leg.”

Keeping up to date on emerging fashion trends has become increasingly accessible through various social media platforms, and there are other outlets Ohio State students can keep an eye on, Paulus said.

“If I were a student interested in fashion, I would really take advantage of WGSN, provided through the library,” Paulus said. “WGSN is the go-to in terms of color, silhouettes and global forecasting.”

Although resources such as WGSN — a website that forecasts fashion trends — are helpful when familiarizing oneself with trends, Johnson said finding a way to incorporate one’s personality into a trendy look is always important.

“When it comes to fashion trends, it’s important to know that your personality plays a huge role,” Johnson said. “Finding an influencer or brand that you identify with and building on their styles is a great way to try new trends while incorporating your personality.”

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