Autumn Fair, the UK’s leading wholesale marketplace for Home, Gift, Fashion and Sourcing at NEC Birmingham, delivered a comprehensive series of trend-led presentations and catwalk shows this week, giving the UK’s leading retailers a preview of the hottest products and key looks for the coming years, as well as a platform showcasing over 600 exhibitors across 12 product sectors.
With a continual bustle of orders being written across the show floor, exhibitors and buyers continued to report excellent feedback, positive experiences, and uplifting stories.
Nicola Meadows, Portfolio Director at Autumn Fair said; “I’ve been overwhelmed by the positive vibe at Autumn Fair and MODA, it’s been a very smooth show and people are ready for change, to discover great new products and brands, to network and re-connect with their peers. Autumn Fair creates an incredible environment for the retail community to do business, hear from industry leaders, and be inspired.”
Four times a day the Moda Catwalk came to life with pumping music and the upcoming fashion trends for 2023 including a Jewellery & Watch edit called Leather Not Leather, the super bold Bright Pink Everything, and sultry looks in Dark Romanticism. Lighthouse Clothing, Jayley, Saloos and Fitoutpro also featured in high energy and creative sponsored looks.
Sebastien Renault, Artistic Director at Promostyl took to the MODA Catwalk to introduce a glimpse into AW23/4 womenswear trends for the ‘Committed Woman’. The four key trends explored ‘Nature & Ecology’, ‘Technology’, ‘Luxury’ and ‘Counter Culture’. Nature and Ecology is a trend directly influenced by the impact the climate has on fashion; mimicry is created in nature and ready-to-wear is more respectful and thoughtful. Clothing here is protective in nature, think over-sized layering, quilting, and cocooning. Sebastien elaborated saying; “Nature and Ecology is an atmosphere and mood of comfort. Functionality takes a precedent over aesthetics, volumes are longer, fabrics are comfortable but also technical, think nylons and fleece.” Folk also sees a resurgence under this trend, a collaborative rehabilitating of ancestral gestures are seen across patchwork, geometric friezes, jacquards, embroidery, discreet ethic touches, fringes and knitted accessories. Key colours in this trend are camouflage tones of Maple Brown, Khaki and Chlorophyll Greens offset with emergent colours of Survival Red, and icy blue tones of Polar Bear and Glacier.
Technology brings an update inspired by space, think radical geometry, robotics, hybrid volumes, and technological atmospheres. Sub trends explore Conceptual Tailoring for the more traditional consumer, offset with limit-pushing designs of distorted visuals and technical details. Prints are directly inspired by science, with a nod to science-fiction and fabrics are reflective, utilitarian with futuristic details. Key colours across the trend are neon-pastel shades of lilac Illusion, and mint Energy. Elsewhere Smokey Grey and Titanium are contrasted with Bright Emerald, Yellow Chrome and Copper Metal.
Luxury is an antithesis technology, exploring luxe nostalgia through iconic references from English Heritage for the timeless woman. Preppy continues its resurgence; however the trend is far broader for AW23/4 with equestrian influences throughout (think buckles, horse saddlery, cowboy and lacing), and heritage men’s jackets worn oversized paired with mini-skirts and ballet shoes. Fabrics here are quintessential; tweed, wool, checks. Designers like Burberry are taking this trend a step further with an Ivy League casual, sportswear crossover that takes university sports codes and street art for a varsity update. Varsity Jackets, schoolgirl punk, modern tweed and xxxl checks bring a rebellious twist to this classic look.
Finally, CounterCulture follows the younger, more daring woman. A darker, more committed aesthetic shines through. Militant, underground, street, and experimental looks are seen here, with an emphasis on denim. The classic edge of varsity gets an edgy revamp with oversized Bomber Jackets and utility details. Colours here are dark metallics, deep navy’s, black vinyl’s contrasted with musical pastels like Symphony.
On the Inspiring Retail Stage, TrendBible’s Trend Editor Wendy Lowe explored The Future of Celebration in 2023 and 2023 Home and Lifestyle Trends.
The Future of Celebration featured Recover Together, an honest, cheerful, naïve, nostalgic, and anti-perfectionist trend. While the mood is focused on rebuilding, repair, collective grief and strength in sensitivity, the colour palette is bold, colourful and inviting, celebrating progress over perfection and encouraging lovingly handmade gifts and a thrown-together look. Deborah Mordain, Trend Researcher quoted: “If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that life is messy and unpredictable. We have learnt to embrace the imperfect, find joy in everyday moments and celebrate the little wins. This is a great opportunity for brands to expand their celebration & gifting strategies beyond ‘special dates,’ using brave and honest messaging to inspire their audience to go big on the small things.”
Surreal Sense trend delivers a psychedelic disco, surreal nature, higher self-energy, and fields escapism. Liv Taylor, Visual Strategist and Cultural Researcher inputted: “Sensory saturated and psychedelic spaces create modern day escapism. Blending a love for nature with futuristic aspirations, brands can invite customers to lose themselves in the moment – whether at a big blow-out party or in an intimate self-care session. Heightening flavour and scent, offering a personalised experience, and using unexpected textures and colours will leave customers with something they’ll never forget.”
During the 2023 Home and Lifestyle Trends, Wendy outlined a key trend called Radical Natural, incorporating Resilient food systems, Outdoor hobbyists, Green cities, Healing nature and Sustainable inclusion. Ollie Olanipekun of Flock Together explains this trend as “Nature is a universal resource. For too long black, brown and POC have felt unwelcome and marginalised in spaces that should be for everyone. Together we are reclaiming green spaces and rebuilding our relationship with nature – one walk at a time.”
The Future Eden trend looks at Urban resilience, Functional resistant & durable Utilitarian, and Pet friendly Eco-conscious. Driving the trend is the move to remote working, a democratisation of nature, and ultra-localism with a colour palette of greens, yellow, blue and soft earthy browns. Naomi Pollard, Head of Publishing TrendBible refers to the trend; “Future Eden combines the best of tech-friendly, urban lifestyles with the benefits of tending to the natural world. This trend speaks to the rising number of eco-conscious consumers, that expect sustainable products and circular design without compromising on a fresh outlook.”
Looking further ahead to 2024, Wendy presented the Modern Renaissance trend, offering Still-life like classics rebirthed, sculptural, sensual, refined, and monumental aesthetics. Pollard explains; “Modern Renaissance echoes the rebirth of culture and the arts. As a contemporary ode to classic design and historical masterpieces – reinvented with modern form, styling and narrative – this trend story combines the best of timeless and timely chic.”
A cultural reawakening emerges, representative of the bloom that follows a fallow period. The spirit and design style of the Renaissance cascade through visual language and product design, where classic forms find a new audience and a still-life aesthetic emerges. A new wave of artists and muses become interesting to this curious consumer. Beauty is redefined for the modern age as a new appetite for more varied definitions drives a movement for skinclusivity.
Feedback from buyers has been consistently upbeat with many commenting on the positive atmosphere, quality and variety of exhibitors including new and sustainable brands, the dedicated buyer lounges, and the Autumn Fair App all making their visit easier, more inspiring, and more efficient.
Autumn Fair takes place until Wednesday 7th September 2022 at NEC Birmingham. For further information and to register at https://www.autumnfair.com/visitor-registration.