A WGSN Trend Forecaster Explains Why Tonic Youth Will Be Huge in 2018

Psychotropical, youth tonic, kinship and slow futures aren't new indie bands, they're upcoming trends.

Futuristic outfits in the '60s.
Futuristic outfits in the ’60s. (Photo: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Trend forecasting agency WGSN recently revealed the major trends for spring/summer 2018–and if you’re a fan of advance shopping or simply want to know what you’ll be wearing in a few years, there are four to watch: psychotropical, youth tonic, kinship and slow futures. If none of those sound familiar, don’t despair–you haven’t totally lost touch. It’s because they’re all brand new and sound like indie band names. Luckily, Lisa White, the lead on “WGSN – The Vision: Spring/Summer 2018″ broke down the major trends for Observer, so you too can relate to cool teens.

While it might seem like trend forecasters have some kind of crystal ball, the truth is that years of research go into making four spot-on predictions, with input from influencers in art, design, food and technology. Below, Ms. White explains why people want less seasonal looks and how cultural barriers are being broken.

How do you see seasonal fashion changing, now that there’s been such a transcendence in fashion? We are rapidly moving towards more seasonless fashion, as the market demands it. Today, people are looking for constant newness, no longer as driven by changes in weather or catwalk schedules. They want to wear their favorite items all year round, mixing them with new items as the weather gets colder or warmer. And with people traveling more than ever before, they sometimes need a bikini in the dead of winter to visit the tropics or a light down jacket in the summer to travel to Australia or Iceland (or just to be comfortable on a chilly flight anywhere).

Lisa Frank could definitely be psychotropical...
Lisa Frank could definitely be psychotropical… (Photo: WGSN Instagram)

What will the “psychotropical” trend look like? Exotic, bright and printed, from high-definition digital nature prints to mixed prints of plant and animal hybrids–from peacock feathers to psychedelic camouflage. There will also be intelligent use of recycled plastic and post-consumer waste–fabrics will be highly innovative.

Does “youth tonic” mean more adults will be inspired by what teens are wearing? Adults are inspired by teens, and teens are inspired by eras that they have never experienced, such as ’90s club culture. With so many generations living longer, there is a lot to choose from in vintage inspiration, and we will see eras blending in new ways. More older adults, the Boomer generation and above, are wearing brighter, more daring clothes as they stay fit and curious.

Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century
Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century was definitely high-tech. (Photo: YouTube)

Does the “kinship” trend mean there will be less of a divide between looks in different cultures? We are already seeing this now, with fast fashions popping up all over the globe almost simultaneously. People get inspired from what and who they see online, and this goes beyond whatever culture they are living in. Thankfully, there will always be local style and taste, but people will be influencing others like never before.

Project Jacquard Everyday objects such as clothes and furniture can be transformed into interactive surfaces.
Project Jacquard transforms clothes into interactive surfaces. (Photo: Project Jacquard)

Is “slow futures” a shift from the super high tech athleisure looks we’ve been seeing? Actually, athletic clothing is going to get even more high-tech, and the innovations there will filter into the fashion realm, and the world of design in general. Design and technology are becoming more seamless, and thanks to projects like Google’s Project Jacquard we will soon have clothes with technology woven into the textiles, giving us constant information about our health and performance, as well as an interactive surface with which to connect with others.

A WGSN Trend Forecaster Explains Why Tonic Youth Will Be Huge in 2018