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Minimal by Design. Quiet sportswear upticks

Updated: Jul 14, 2020

As part of the in-conversation with LTP series, the team and I discuss how fashion is falling out of love with maximalism but the new streamlined look isn’t necessarily simple or basic

The coronavirus crisis has provided many brands the time for self-reflection. A creative reboot and wider industry reinvention is on the cards whilst also ushering in a new quieter, pared-back look.

Many trend forecasters look to the 2008 recession to explain the return to minimalism. The financial crisis put a stop to a decade of extravagance, post-Covid a similar shift is expected. Francesca Muston, Vice President of Fashion at WGSN told BoF

“In the age of anxiety, consumers are looking to strip back and focus on what is really important”

The move to minimalist looks was already in progress before Covid-19 as brands like Gucci began simplifying their maximalist baroque look. The current global crisis has accelerated the adoption of this philosophy. Highsnobiety’s recent survey of subscribers ranked “minimalist styles” highest in terms of post-pandemic aesthetic attractiveness, with 53 percent of survey respondents stating they found the style more attractive than six months ago.

Alex Ingildsen, CCO at LTP Group and trend forecaster Chantell Fenton discuss what this means for the sport and outdoor industry for Autumn/Winter 21/22.

“The sentiment of buy less, but better has been growing for some time. Sleek, minimalist designs will resonate with future consumers but these styles won’t necessarily be simple or basic.”

states Fenton. Brands will imbue timeless staples with innovative technology, material and function-driven design. For Autumn/Winter 2021/22 these sentiments will become deeply embedded into consumer purchasing. Bare essentials will be stripped back and reconstructed with an emphasis on quality, construction, and detail. Products must deliver on multiple levels, hybrid styles are designed specifically for multiple end-uses from work-to-play or sweat-to-everyday. Products do more with a look that speaks to the sentiment of less.

Detailed below are three key themes from our Autumn/Winter 2021/22 forecast, developed by trend forecaster Chantell Fenton in collaboration with the LTP Group.

Tailored Minimalism: Transitional styles for both work and play

As companies encourage a better work/life balance through flexible hours, shorter weeks

and workers are opting to run or cycle commute we will increasingly see active designs adapted for more formal purposes. Fuse performance fabrics and design principles with a pared-down sophisticated aesthetic for Lifewear collections. Use welded and glued details. Sculptural pleats with laser-cut edges enhance standout styles. Design for longevity with minimal seams and muted colours including heather grey, white and navy which forms the bedrock of a non-seasonal wardrobe.

Foundation wear: The modern wardrobe, one style, multiple end-uses

As buy-less-but-better remains a key principle for A/W 21/22 brands must reevaluate the very foundations of an activewear wardrobe. Products must deliver on multiple levels resulting in the fusion of sports, intimates and swimwear. A sports bra that doubles as underwear or swimwear is ideal for athletes on the go. Time-pressed consumers want to turn-up in their kit for their lunch-time session. Adjustable support is key for 24/7 wear. Draw inspiration from Prism’s newly released “swimtimate” collection, which is essentially underwear you can swim in. As well as researching Karoline Vitto, who designs with the ethos that it's not about size, but form.

Travel 2.0: Sleek designed imbued with the latest NASA approved innovations

As consumers return to flying and designers look to space tourism for inspiration, performance wear 2.0 emerges to make travel and transitional apparel more comfortable.

Innovations from the Cryscold cooling shirt to Sony’s wearable aircon are ideal for multiple climates and long haul travel. Layers should be lightweight and crease-free for enhanced comfort and crossover appeal. No-sew seams are also important. Multipurpose products will emerge; a padded shirt that can transform into a pillow or functional pockets that allow garments to compress for travel purposes are key initiatives.

About LTP

LTP is a Danish owned garment manufacturer for +60 premium brands within active sportswear, outdoor, athleisure and sustainable fashion. LTP was established in 1991, and is probably the biggest Sport & Outdoor garment manufacturer in Europe with bluesign setups in Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Vietnam

LTP consists of two divisions; LTP Garment and LTP Contract Furniture producing in ten fully-owned factories.


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