Apparel Trends in 2018

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Flash Back 2018

As the curtains fall on 2018 let’s look back at the apparel trends that ruled the year.

2018 was the year that saw the apparel industry take several new strides. The fashion ramps have witnessed many new fashion and style trends and the apparel manufacturers have looked at the past and at traditions to create the new. Here are some key trends that shaped the industry this year.

Figurative emroidered jacket- camel motif associated with wedding ceremonies from House of Sunil Mehra
Figurative emroidered jacket- camel motif associated with wedding ceremonies from House of Sunil Mehra

Comfort is Key

Athleisure as a category has made a mark across runways, luxury as well as high-street brands. No longer reserved for when you’ ae watching Netflix or visiting the gym, it has now become a part of daily repertoire. This shift is largely to do with consumers looking for comfort than actually living active lives. “There’s also a strong sense of 90s nostalgia reflected in apparel trends, with the popularity of jumpsuits, high-waist ripped jeans and fanny packs. Influencers and celebrities have had a huge impact in the popularity of this trend. The catwalks have been awash with pastel hues, especially lilac which has been tipped off as the colour of the season. With Rihanna setting stage and real-life royals giving a seal of approval, lilac has slowly given the ever-popular millennial pink a break this year,” says Aanchal Jiwrajka, Advisory Researcher, Stylus Innovation + Advisory. 2018 was all about casual and comfortable clothing and was mostly for the people who love to sport comfy fashion without compromising on style. Checkered pants, joggers, sporty pants with side tapes, tees and crop length trousers are some of the apparel trends that made waves in 2018. Wrap dresses, tie-up styles, tailored suits, paper bag waist in both pants and skirts for women.

AKS Women Yellow Leheriya Print Ethnic Jacket
AKS Women Yellow Leheriya Print Ethnic Jacket

Going Green

The new fondness towards sustainability has given rise to innovation in biodegradable materials and animal-friendly fabrics to cater to the conscientious consumer. With brands phasing out fur, innovative skins are being developed such as plant-based leather alternatives made from mushrooms or pineapple fibers. “There is also a major shift towards a utilitarian aesthetic, evident in bomber jackets, drawstring pants, easy visible zippers and practical button-down shirts. The industry is swaying towards more wearable outfits and practical materials that have enhanced technical properties. The result has been more versatile and travel-friendly apparel,” avers Jiwrajka. Suman Saha Chief Operating Officer – Group Apparel & Made to Measure (MTM), Raymond Ltd. adds, “more fashion brands are planning for recyclability from the fiber stage like organic cotton, bamboo, tencel cotton, of the supply chain and many are harnessing sustainability through tech innovation in order to unlock efficiency, transparency, mission orientation and genuine ethical upgrades.”

AKS Multicoloured Ready to Wear Leheriya Print Lehenga & Blouse with Dupatta
AKS Multicoloured Ready to Wear Leheriya Print Lehenga & Blouse with Dupatta

Men Matter

The year 2018 had been a benchmark in bringing about a vast change in how men styled themselves. Tropical fabrics with self-embroided weaves did wonders in Indian and Western both. Pastel colors were and still are floating ahead for all occasions. ”Contemporary cuts and layers and gatherings became the trend among men of all ages. Talking about blends, cashmere blends with silk and linen came on the top of the wish list. Silk, the forever favourite pick, still held fort. Jacquard and printed silks, jacquard weave silks and jersey silks were the most demanded fabrics and apparels made out of the same were naturally popular,” says Sunil Mehra, Founder and Designer, House of Sunil Mehra. Likewise, the vertical stripe is now officially the menswear’s new go-to pattern. The best examples on show for SS18 were straight, narrow and deployed across T-shirts, short-sleeved shirts. 2018 was also the year of combinations. The monotony of regular apparel is broken by the inclination of men towards combinations of plain kurta sets with printed jawahar jackets or vice-versa. To create a more sartorial look, cashmere waistcoats with cashmere blend two piece suits became a trend for men this year.


Trend Check

Apparel trends in 2018 were largely concentrated on jacquard weaved garments, from shirts to suits. Figurative and abstract weaves also trended. High-collar and kiton collared shirts were a new thing. The most unusual trend however was the panel shirts, very rare to find as they are very tricky in terms of construction but once they appeal to you, it is something that you will stick to. Sanjeev Mukhija, Founder, Breakbounce Streetwear opines, “2018 saw the rise of simpler silhouettes, colour blocking and super comfy styles, which with a little twist could be adapted for all occasions. This trend is likely to influence the fashion trends in 2019 as well.” Metallic trends ruled the year, from the runway to streets the metallic looks were a raging trend this season. Nidhi Yada, Founder and Creative Head, AKS Clothings adds, “layering it up with capes and long jackets to spotting bold and vibrant hues in every season to adorning floral with ruffles in all dress materials, 2018 was all about experimenting that goes well with all feminine beauties. The gap between ethnic and western apparels almost came to an end and the beautiful collision of the two styles led to the birth of some drop-dead gorgeous trends that ladies have loved.” Coat cardigans for men have been an emerging trend that blends the conventional silhouette of a blazer with the comfort of a cardigan. “For women, coat dresses have made a comeback in the market that double up as an over coat or a dress when need be. Generally blends of classic silhouettes with a focus on comfort have been a big trend. Another trend that has been big this year was experimentation with varying types of stripes on a single garment – horizontal with verticals, varying widths and the like,” says Niharika Dubey, Stylist, PostFold.

Maxi Dress By AKS Clothings.
Maxi Dress By AKS Clothings.

The Personal Touch

As consumer values coalesce around authenticity and individuality, brands are valuing data even more to tailor recommendations, engage influencers and personalize experiences. “The year has been a pre-cursor to what we call as the new ‘age of the individual’. Personalization and specially curated content for each individual across mediums has been paramount importance to the customer,” says Saha. Consumers are increasingly looking to online platforms as the first point of search, attracted by their convenience, relevance and breadth of offering. Whether mass, specialist or premium, platforms continue to grow in scale and reach, compelling fashion brands to find ways of engaging more with these powerful sales channels.

Toonz Retail Casual Collection
Toonz Retail Casual Collection

Fusion Feels

Another interesting trend was the merging of classic silhouettes that created great hybrids. Subtle details like paneling, pleats, piping, contrast buttons are also something the consumers have started paying attention to now. The year 2018 witnessed an incredible work of fusion, giving a new dimension to the traditional Indian wear. “Whether it is the transformation of the typical ‘salwaar-kameez’ replaced by substitutes like long kurtas, palazzos, pants and leggings or sarees paired with asymmetrical tops, shirts, pants, crop or kimono tops, the way each garment has been experimented on and mix and matched, taking cues from the West, has been a treat to the eyes,” says Deepa Reddy, Founder, The Open Trunk. Street styling has always been in trend. This year this trend came along with a twist. “A glamourous outfit can be seen paired up with a casual outfit. This trend has made a statement this year and has also been loved by all.  Earlier, it was only about a plain shirt and a pair of pants. This has completely changed now. The designers these days are very experimental in nature, and it is because of this reason- we see various mix and matches these days,” says Sharad Venkta, CEO & MD, Toonz Retail Pvt. Ltd. Ashima Sharma, Owner of Ashima S Couture adds, “monochrome outfits also were a fashion favourite of many including some of the mainstream celebs. The monochrome was also seen donned at red carpet numerous times. Tassels and fringes were also a major trend that people have loved this season.” In all 2018 has been a comfort centric year with retro styles like volume sleeves, coat dresses having made a comeback. Comfort and modern functionality has been the most important feature for most of the garments. The people are becoming more aware of the choices made available to them so they are picking pieces that fit well within their aesthetic boundaries without compromising on their comfort or quality.

This story first appeared in Apparel Dec 2018 issue here: TREND TALK TRENDS RULING 2018

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