Sharon Graubard of MintModa. Photo courtesy of MintModa.

Apparel trends for 2018 are fueled by a return to comfort and utility: think of billowy blouses, slouchy trousers and the resurgence of tabs and drawstrings. Albeit upcoming color and textile trends tell a different story as saturated pigments, graphic colorblocks, shiny fabrics and patent leathers are projected to appear on the runways next year.

At MintModa, a New York-based provider of brand-centric trend forecasts for fashion and design-related industries, researchers look beyond design and into the psychology behind material choice and color to deliver apt trend projections. The firm’s founder and creative director, Sharon Graubard, is armed with a long-established career in trend forecasting and has held creative director roles at The Tobé Report, The Doneger Group, ESP TrendLab and Stylesight/WGSN. She founded MintModa in 2017 and leads all creative direction for the firm. 

Here, Graubard talks to WWD about color trends for 2018, what’s in the pipeline for dyed yarns, wools and blends and shares her insights about the psychology behind color and textile trends.

WWD: What color trends can we expect to see in dyed yarns, wools and blends?

Sharon Graubard: For yarn-dyes, men’s wear shirtings are still trending, so we see an evolution of blue-and-white stripes, fresh ginghams and plaids. For these items, the fabric/patterns are classic but the shapes are reinvented with experimental cuts. We are seeing a renewed interest in black-and-white Prince of Wales plaids (glen plaids) — so many designers showed them on the fall runways; they are sure to impact spring 2018 in tropical wools and blends.

We are also seeing an infusion of yellows, from sunny shades to golden ochres and oranges. Saturated pigments like deep bottle green and lipstick red look right, especially when used with shiny fabrics and strong, modernist silhouettes. Pinks are key, and purples and magentas are trending up. Blue is also gaining momentum, and will be key for fall, especially the vivid Yves Klein-influenced ultramarines. And strange combinations of chalky tones, like pale greens and blues mixed with an offbeat peach, update graphic colorblocks.

WWD: You predict that ath-leisure will transition into the fashion-forward category “Glo-Mad.” Would you elaborate on what’s driving the mix of deep vegetal tones, silvers, golds and neons in this category?

S.G.: The concept of ath-leisure will infiltrate all categories. Consumers have made it clear that they want comfort and casualness in their clothing, but items here have been mostly limited to basics like spandex-infused leggings, a cropped T-shirt and a zip-front hoodie. The category will expand to include wrapped or draped dresses, billowing tops, slouchy trousers and voluminous windbreakers. Drawstrings and tabs will make shapes convertible. Deep tones bring newness and urban sophistication to the active category, especially for warm weather, and mirror-finish silver and electric brights provide Instagram-ready visual punch and give it all a futuristic spin.

WWD: Why is fashion leaning toward featherweight techno fabrics? 

S.G.: Featherweight techno woven and jerseys are key here because we are all becoming global nomads. As the “stuff” economy moves toward the experience economy, the new consumer owns less and travels light. Clothes need to be weightless and versatile — lightweight layers that are packable, washable and quick-drying. Linings and structured tailoring are no longer synonymous with “well-made.” Clever cuts, interesting details, easy care and multifunction are the things that bring value now.

WWD: What is the psychology behind the mix of browns, blues and neutral pinks in “atelier” trends, which MintModa described as the new movement toward workwear and artisanal apparel?

S.G.: Atelier is a fusion of craft and workwear, like an embroidered peasant top worn with canvas work pants. The blues and brown signify practicality and are the inherent colors found in the trend’s shirting stripes, simple ginghams, denims, un-dyed canvases and supple leathers. Neutral pink is key because it expands and softens the expected workwear palette, and underlines the gender-fluidity of boxy silhouettes of this trend. The ubiquitous “Millennial pink” moves toward the warmer bisque-tone casts, and works as a neutral along with the tans and indigos.

WWD: What else is in the pipeline for color trends and textiles?

S.G.: Shine. Satin and other shiny fabrics move forward. The trend toward dry-handed linen-y rustic weaves seems to be giving way to more fluidity, more synthetics and more shine. This is not the dressy idea of satin or charmeuse — instead these shiny materials and silhouettes take their cue from boxing rings, vintage basketball shorts and sleazy cowboy shirts.

It’s about questioning the idea of taste, and re-embracing sensuality after recent interest in modesty. There are also ciré nylons, glazed velvets, rubber-coated cottons and wet-look finishes. The shiny patent trench will be a must-have. As designers and consumers understand that synthetics can be more earth-friendly, sustainable — and even more breathable — than organic cotton, the attitudes towards them will shift. These New Age synthetics will lose their plastic-y polyester reputation to become perceived as more advanced, more creative and even more luxurious than their “natural” counterparts.

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