Pitti Predicts:
Edition 101
Pitti Predicts is your connection to Instagram archivist Samutaro who’s here to talk you through Pitti 101’s main themes and the future trends you need on your radar.

After almost two years of living with the constant threat of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve been forced to recalibrate almost every aspect of our lives. The conditions of shelter-in-place orders radically morphed our outlook on fashion and materialism, and as a result, we’ve willfully changed the way we buy, how we style ourselves, and the experiences we expect from brands.

They say every crisis generates innovation and the fashion industry's response to the pandemic is a testament to that. The limitations forced upon us have resulted in out-the-box thinking across the board, fueling the rise of disruptive technologies, re-commerce, and genre-breaking designs. Moreover, the shifting of cultural tides has pushed brands to reconsider their behavior, engage in dialogue, and offer products that align with a new set of consumer values and expressive needs. 
Now more than ever consumers expect inclusivity, social compliance, and deeper relationships with brands. Any brand that has refused to participate in that conversation over the past 18 months, it would seem, has all but disappeared. But the ones who have authentically cracked the code have helped to shape an exciting new era of fashion — one that has put consumers' appetite for new names and innovative designs at an all-time high. The accelerated interest in discovery speaks to the expressive needs of younger consumers who lean towards genderless style, trans-seasonal proposals, and creations that say something about who they are and what they stand for. 
It's this aspect of aesthetic exploration and research into new brands that Pitti Uomo has put at the center of its Superstyling section. The destination features a selection of international, avant-garde brands created by young designers that put eco-responsibility and cultural and social conversation at their core. Local Italian designers like C.9.3 reimagine timeworn classics through a contemporary lens with various color and material treatments, while more technical-focused brands like Object X offer experiment-based and uniform-inspired goods.
Our collective learnings from the climate crisis have encouraged us to rethink community and personal responsibility. One of the core messages for shoppers and brands has been to consume less and create less waste, primarily through recycling and resale programs. Through this, our wardrobes are becoming more dynamic and more intentional. We are experiencing a genuine evolution of generational taste in which seasonless fashion and self-styling rules.

But that doesn’t mean our collective realignment has to be subtle — some consumers like to flex their commitment to an eco-conscious agenda through the design itself. Pangea, for example, pledges responsible design innovation and presents that approach at the front and center of its garments through logos and slogans that explicitly detail its eco fabrics and dyes. The brand’s collections don’t rely on trends or seasons, rather its collections of botanical tracksuits, flower down puffas, and nettle denim are scientifically manufactured to work as close as possible to Mother Nature's resources. Perhaps this is why its clothing commands sell-out times that rival Supreme.
The increased awareness of supply chain waste has also propelled resourcefulness throughout the fashion industry, spawning the development of garment takeback programs and the number of brands incorporating upcycling and recycling within their work. Christopher Raeburn has helped pioneer this movement with his RAEBURN collections that turn deadstock garments into covetable classics. Each design is created by meticulously deconstructing the original and reworking the materials into unique and ethical garments. Swedish menswear label Our Legacy takes a similar approach with its WORKSHOP platform, which uses creative design solutions as a way to tackle its own waste. The brand updates leftover garments and fabrics of seasons past with dye treatments, novelty prints, and refined crafty touches.

The one-of-one nature of these garments encourages men to move toward an era of personal style rather than following a brand's singular vision. Much of the menswear conversation over the past five years has relied on a culture of nonstop novelty, and as a result, the wardrobe has somehow become the least considered part of fashion. But in a post-trend world, men are increasingly looking for smarter and more responsible ways to shop where personal style is favored over a specific look and long-term investments replace impulsive trend purchases.
Elsewhere, the global lockdowns heightened a sense of experimentation with personal style. #wfhfits became a trending hashtag as people began feverishly chronicling the bizarre and over-the-top looks for zoom meetings. That eclectic, do-as-you-please spirit extended into the RTW collections of brands like Loewe whose Eye/LOEWE/Nature FW21 capsule featured a range of eclectic styling cues that blended elements of vintage, outdoor and military styles with sportswear elements to produce totally vibrant outfits.
Demna Gvasalia’s Balenciaga offered audiences a chance to escape the restraints of their homes during lockdown by exploring the brand’s FW21 collection via an online gaming experience. The virtual fantasy world allowed players to travel through a future world, passing avatars dressed in strange, sometimes surreal pairings like ripped jeans and metal-armor boots. Balenciaga often features models dressed in hugely complex layers of vintage-looking garments that are intended to reflect true street style; an extension of what’s already happening among the climate-emergency-aware generation. “People will keep wearing clothes they love until they fall apart. I do myself. So things look quite destroyed, worn-in, pre-crinkled,” Gvasalia told Vogue.

In an era where fashion trends are becoming increasingly fractured and consumers are becoming their own stylists, it has never been more important for the fashion industry to broaden the range of personalities it’s intended for. The Gen-Z demographic is known for embracing their individual identities and expects brands to do the same. For years, the fashion industry has relied on molds of consistency for audiences to fit themselves into, but as identities become more fluid, these old formats become ineffective.

Instead, brands should act as their own aggregators of personal style, by cultivating their own communities and empowering their audiences to embrace individuality. Now more than ever, the focus should be about making fashion work for the individual rather than the other way around. New modes of commerce like resell and upcycling are helping consumers do this as the product is inherently unique and offers them a way to stand apart from the masses. Capsule collections, unexpected collaborations, and diffusion lines are other avenues brands can explore to capture multiple personalities. 
While it might be too optimistic to suggest that we will move away from fast fashion and throwaway trends in the coming season, these shifting mindsets have to lead to many collections that are genuinely worthy of celebration. And it’s those creations that Pitti is championing in Superstyling.

Words Samutaro
Pictures Julien Tell