Gap Inc.

September 15, 2020

Li Edelkoort is one of the world’s most influential design forecasters, inspiring our design teams with her futuristic thinking season after season. 

Several months back, Li shared with us her perspective on the power of green thinking, and her predictions for post-COVID clothing. 

This season, Li once again treated our designers and merchants with an exclusive virtual look into the future of conscious consumption; including the pace, the ways in which we live, and how conscious clients will make more precise choices. Her presentation, including a personal real-time Q&A, touched on how people will embrace and cherish nature through their design in upcoming seasons, and a closer look into how people are consuming less, while collecting more, of the things that draw out personal fascination and excitement. 

Photos above by Daniel Costa. Photos at top by Juliette Chrétien & Daniel Costa.

Stillness:  Recapping Autumn/Winter 2021-22 
“The white season is all about peace; peace of mind, peace of family.  Having time to read, play, and create a new future.  We want to live ‘more still’, have less, have a new pace, be more concentrated, and incorporate still colors.” 

Everday Couture 
“Essential clothes have become more important, making sure you include a signature detail, like stitching. The materials are like bedding: linen, wool, cotton blends.  The styles are more domestic but still good enough to go into the streets. 

And most importantly, although we are living in a dire moment, we are not without hope and humor, dancing, and celebration.  We want to have things twinkle a bit under the surface.  Veiling, dust, foam to make things fluffy, lace, sugar coated colors, and fantasy fashion.”  

Conscious Consumption:  2021-2025 
“We are an endangered species, at the end of a certain road, and we must change our ways to survive. The future of this new way of looking; having the luxury of laziness and time, has allowed us to rethink our priorities and live amongst nature more.  This will influence where you put your stores and how you dress.” 

The Search For Grounding Design 
“We’re going to have a huge desire to understand our roots, where you’re from and where you are currently. We’re looking for grounding experiences, like physically putting our feet on the ground, barefoot, every day.  It’s this idea is that you need to touch the ground to discharge and reset your body. We’re seeing this through earth colors, silks and linens, all inspired by the stillness.” 

Unnovation and Innovation 
“Conscious Consumption is the new kind of luxury we’re looking for.  It’s all about being genuine and thoughtful with beautiful materials and finishes, sober and simple proposals.  It includes muted colors, which give a colorful image to your store or pages on the web, but is not overly bright.  You want materials that are organic in their construction.  But the most important keyword for the next year is ‘unnovation’. To stop innovating, and instead digest, observe, take stock of what we do, and not try to progress.  We don’t know where we’re going and how this is going to play out, so therefore it’s time to take a step back and breathe and just let it be.” 

Animal and Vegetal 
“Our materials for accessories can be animals still, as long as they’re treated decently and ecologically.  Craft and design will go hand in hand and continue to inspire us.  Ancient and contemporary at the same time, through the use of paper.  We need to be comfortable and sustainable.  Things should be natural and tinted using natural dyes, by using things like tea leaves and seaweed.” 

Exclusive and Inclusive 
“As designers, we need to be exclusive and inclusive.  This is one of the big topics of our time that needs to be handled with care.  It needs to come from a very deep need you have as a person, a group, or company to break even with others and include others.” 

Clothes In Common 
 “Fashion is not our first and most important thing to do. Clothes have a role, but it’s possibly less important since we no longer go out to be seen.  I explored the idea of fashion that’s similar, so instead of being unique you dress like everyone else.  But when everyone else dresses like that, you dress a little bit different within that idea.  So your difference is minor, because you want the comfort of being the same.  There is a comfort in the similarity.” 

High End And Low Style 
“You’re seeing this through classic and cult and couture and craft; like corduroy with romantic blouses, something you’d never do, it’s very inspiring.  In the first few years we won’t have enough fabrics and there will be a hole in the production process where we’ll have two competitors using the same fabric. Bring your extra fabrics together, patch them together, please…go there.” 

Masculine and Romantic  
“The romantic is underlaying all these things, so in your proposals, it can’t just be shirts, jackets, all stiff. It needs to have some play, but it shouldn’t be all put together. The romantic stuff should be associated, put in between. It’s responsible, sustainable, adorable, sexy, a silent luxury. It’s clothes you can hand down and recycle.  It’s all about quality, beauty, serenity and beautiful finishes.  Think about one piece for the long haul.” 

Advancing Metals 
“We are advancing in important, unruly metal.  Sometimes it’s shiny, matte or bronze.  All my students put more and more stuff in their ears, so that’s a growing tendency!  We also want to see metal in our fabrics, and elevating the craft. The ear has become a focal point, perhaps because of the masks.  I think the eyes might become more important.” 

To learn more about Li and her cultural forecasting, visit her at Trend Union. 


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