Ahh, 2017. What did we do to deserve you? Sure, the Grim Reaper didn’t swing his scythe quite as indiscriminately as in the 12 months prior, but we’d still have sacrificed Bowie and Rickman to avoid Trump and Russia, Charlottesville and the alt-right, and the constant gnaw that our nuclear annihilation is but a toilet-based Tweetstorm away.
But that’s enough doom and gloom. It’s time to crate up the year that was and bury it deep in that Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse along with jeans that are more rips than, well, jeans, head-scratching Supreme collabs and knitwear that’s just way, way too big. And to purge our collective conscious of the annus godawfulus now gone, we’re dusting off the crystal ball in the hope that 2018 has something better in store.
Below, menswear’s great and good break out the tarot cards, read the tea leaves and look at pictures from shows they attended six months ago, to predict the runners and riders for your future wardrobe.
The Men Who’ll Be Wearing The Clothes We Want, First
If 2017 was the year of anything, it was influencers. The traditional press continued to get bumped further from the front row and Instagram became the only place to launch and promote products. Which means that to stay in the know in 2018, you need to know who to follow.
“For real hype products, brands seed to musicians,” says Harvey Nichols menswear buyer Olly Smith. “From Skepta to your favourite Soundcloud rapper, we’ve seen previews of Balenciaga, Gucci and Supreme. That’s set to continue.”
Elsewhere, it’s about famous offspring, such as the Beckham Minis and son-of-Liam, Gene Gallagher. “He was wearing an old Umbro sweater on TV recently and I searched every high street store and auction site for it,” says MatchesFashion buyer Joshua Brinksman. File those alongside the Jenners and Hadids.
The Unavoidable Trends
For stylist Chris Tang, who has worked with the likes of Uniqlo, it’s about tops and toes. “Berets have slowly made an appearance, reinterpreted by designers like Gosha Rubchinskiy and Prada,” he says. “Chunky trainers will prevail next year too, but I hope people turn their attention to shapes like the New Balance 990 rather than those Balenciaga Triple S clogs.”
But all that hype could also signal a swing away from off-duty footwear. “I think there will be a return to a hard shoe which is slightly cleaner and smarter,” says Mr Porter buying director Fiona Firth. “Men have always appreciated good craftsmanship and the quality of a product, so I see the return of lace-up shoes and boots, both from traditional brands such as Church’s and O’Keeffe and also high-end fashion brands.”
Bertrand Thoral, head of menswear at second-hand designer store Vestiaire Collective, thinks men will reach for the classic silhouettes elsewhere, too. “Embroidered bombers and biker jackets will be the pieces of 2018.” It’s a sentiment echoed by Topman buying director Rachel Morgans. “It’s all about denim. If you have a pair of originals, with a turn-up, you’re set.”
Just make sure you nail the fit – 2018 will be the year that straight-cut and relaxed legs go mainstream. “It’s time for skinnies to fully disappear from wardrobes,” says Millie Rich, a stylist at online personal shopping service, Thread. “Trouser fits have been getting wider and wider for the last couple of years and, although we [have already seen] those in the know adopting a wide leg, I think it will be the year the high street embraces ditching the skinny fit.”
The 2017 Fashion You’ll Wish You Never Wore
As well as the platform of choice for thirsty fit selfies, Instagram is also an archive of all those misjudged fashion choices that you can now regret immediately, rather than waiting to discover a box of old Polaroids a decade later.
First up, delete any shots of you wearing pyjamas outside. “It was a trend that, if worn the wrong way, just looked like you’d forgotten to get dressed,” says Morgans. While you’re at it, get rid of anything you bought new, but which already looked really old. “All those men wearing jeans with a thousand rips and holes – sort it out,” says Tang.
In fact, step away from anything that bubbled up from the streets, blew up on social media and then got done to death by mainstream brands. “Logomania is over,” says Thoral. “It’s become overexposed and now people are looking for a new way to make a statement.”
Particularly if those logos are emblazoned on odd accessories, says Rich. “The bumbag is not going to age well. We’ll continue to see brands churn these out over the next season. But come autumn, they’ll be a thing of the past. One for the laughs in a couple of years time.”
Add to that list the dramatic sportswear silhouettes that have crept into everything. “I think we’ll see the end of the oversized fit,” says Brinksman. “Don’t get me wrong, it can look strong on the right guy, but I just think it’s been so widely pushed that everyone’s starting to both adopt and experiment with it.” And fashion hates ubiquity even more than bad fits.
The Key Pieces You’ll Need In 2018
Fashion being the mercurial thing it is, sportswear’s perfect when it’s in actual sportswear – even if you don’t wear it for sport. “Track pants will become an essential,” says Brinksman. “We’ve seen them at the luxury end, but I think there’s been a shift and they’re now socially acceptable on a mass scale.”
But if the most dressed-down you get is taking off your tie, there’s still an unexpected fabric for you. “Get some cords,” says Brinksman. The trend that made a surprise resurface in the autumn isn’t going anywhere just yet. “Rock them with a sweatshirt or knit and [you’re] done.”
The Designers Who’ll Change The Game
For all the Rafs and Alessandros who broke new ground at big brands, 2017 was a year that saw small labels and underground names punch through into the wider consciousness. Perhaps it’s the democratising nature of the internet, or just fashion fans seeking something new, but you no longer need to be at a 100-year-old fashion house to change the conversation.
“[Bulgarian designer] Kiko Kostadinov has been really exciting this year,” says Tang. “He’s had projects with Stüssy and became the first-ever creative director at Mackintosh, plus has an upcoming collaboration with Asics. I’m sure he’ll shift the landscape of fashion in many ways.”
It’s a similar story for Alan Shikverg, founder of the un-Googleable label A Brilliant Brand. “His level of research and love that goes into producing sustainable and low-intervention garments is nothing short of inspiring,” says Brinksman.
“For me, it’s [London-based] Paria Farzaneh,” says Smith. “She’s young, full of energy and loves going against the grain.”
Although, of course, some people can be both under- and overground. “It’s all about Demna Gvasalia,” says Thoral. With Vetements to house his odder experiments, and Balenciaga undergoing a transition into the most innovative old Parisian house, expect Gvasalia to continue leading where everyone else follows.