Li Edelkoort, one of the world’s most influential design forecasters, joined Gap Inc.’s cross-brand product teams this week for her fourth session in the last year. Hosted by Old Navy’s Sarah Holme, this session was part of the overarching Create With Audacity program in partnership with design leadership across Gap Inc.
Li shared her forecasts for Spring/Summer 2022 inspired by the simplicity of the Blank Page and the power of using our time in lockdown to our creative advantage. The topic on everyone’s mind was on re-focusing comfort in the post-Coronavirus era, and what customers will want to wear. Li discussed the possibility of a Roaring Twenties era balanced alongside a hesitance to let go of the cozy mentality; the tension of a wish for something new and a growing fatigue of “house garments” alongside a hesitance to embrace more structured clothing.
She also discussed one of the upsides of the pandemic, which is the collective pause button that many of us were forced to hit. As a society, we are in a place of renewal—coming out of lockdown, an election and a year of uncertainty and fear. How do we use this moment to inform our thinking for future seasons? To this point, the blank page—both physically and metaphorically—is serving as Li’s primary inspiration for Spring/Summer 2022. It represents a future with unlimited possibilities to create something new and uncharted, a fresh perspective on dressing for a new way of life.
Create With Audacity
"The energy of what you all put into these new collections is what will make or break the season. Customers can really feel if there is a lot of creativity in the making process, right? And I've found that, in the last few shows I’ve seen, they were better than the first ones in lockdown because you feel that taking this time was really good for people. They became really creative. So, that's really nice to see that that works. All this energy you have not been able to use this past year, you have to pour into your designs, and then people will recognize it."
"In any case, it's happy this season. It's happy, it's hopeful, it's ‘make-do with what we have’. It's not extravagant. It's not asking the moon. But it just asks you to be happy, I think—to create out of a happy place. That is very important."
A Super-Moment for Concentration
“Big brands are completely to reinventing themselves. We seem to be in a moment where everybody is soul-searching: who am I? What are we doing? Why should we continue?
It's a "super-moment" for concentration, asking ourselves the right questions and reinventing a new world. The opportunities we have now are amazing. We can set a new tone, and I see the future as a very exciting thing—albeit very difficult.”
A Study in Contrasts
"Lot of romanticism, lot of black and white. I think it's becoming bigger and bigger as we go, especially after seeing recent shows. That for sure you can bank on. It's important for all of us - on dresses and shirts, on different types of cutouts and multis. Important in white and other soft colors like grey, pink and neutral. What I liked about some of the shows is the element of punk with romanticism. If you throw a leather jacket on top of a dress, and of course really big shoes - it really becomes quite fashionable, actually."
"Reading is coming back with a vengeance. We are into books, and books are an inspiration for color. They're an inspiration for more classic, studious nerdy type of fashion. Trench coats, shirtdresses and so on."
The Resurgence of Styling
"I believe that, for the future, styling will become a very big thing. Do you remember that? Styling? So, you have 30 very boring garments, and you have to make them amazing by putting them together. This is where we can gain a lot of lead way. It should be very, very funky. Garments haven't moved the last 20 years. The denim pants, the shorts, the leather jacket, maybe a skirt. There's not much fantasy in all this. The way you sort of pull together is really what's going to make it. It's no longer going to be ok with denim and sweatshirts, it needs to be better. It needs to move, it needs to live, it needs to TikTok! We need to make the garments as good as we can, and then we need to toy with them. That's how you change the rules."
Re-Positioning Comfort and the Future of Hybrid Work Dressing
"I would find it difficult to have a comeback of real rigid clothing. Remember that before the pandemic, we were still dressing in athleisure. It's emphasized now, but it was already there a lot before. In a way, and I don't dare to say this, but I don't think fashion will be any more what it used to be in the time of really constructed clothes. I think workmens clothes can be a nice bridge between the casual and formal. Bring the trends together—a sweatshirt with embroidered elements, training pants with woven elements. They're there, but you bring them in a different way. A hoodie on a romantic dress. Styling that goes against the norm is still cool. It's in the detail where we can completely innovate. I would use those type of tools to make this transition."