Li Edelkoort: the Emancipation of Everything


In a follow-up to her Anti-Fashion manifesto earlier this year, trend forecaster Li Edelkoort has brought forth a proclamation of a second movement, one that she’s entitled “The Emancipation of Everything.”

She explained that fashion will begin to move with the drastic changes we’re seeing in society and gave particular attention to the rise of a matriarchal society, the feminisation of men, and the inevitable decline of the boundaries between generations, thus creating a reversal of dress codes.

“Radical change is needed to give shape to the 21st century, at last! A huge wave of innovation and rethinking needs to be set in motion, emancipating everything for everyone, every step of the way. We can review a colour, rethink a textile and rekindle a style as well as revolutionising the retail system of retail from within. With the parting of the old ways, the rupture with tradition and the detachment from generalised greed, we can envision a new departure with a disconnected and removed way of working, giving room to intuition and inspiration, free from self-imposed conventions and self-invented logic.” – Li Edelkoort

A common thread is simplicity. Edelkoort hypothesizes that there will be an upswing towards  basics and the way that simple clothes can reflect a stronger and more conceptual culture. There’s  a firm emphasis on going back to basics in the construction of garments. We can start afresh after the death of the fashion norms we’ve all been living by. Our world is in major flux and the only way to reinvent ourselves is to rethink everything we do and relook at the very essence and rhythms of life. We need to collaborate with each other to create new systems that fulfill the needs of a new way of thinking.


Considering current affairs in the world, the call for peace has become more central. Wearing white will be seen as aligning yourself with an integrity and mindfulness based in a joint spirituality driving us towards a future with an integrated sense of hope. Beige will be elevated and is a new colour, especially for evening wear, also leading us into the spices: browns, cinnamons, deep reds and burnt oranges. We are going to see the emancipation of dark shades of brown, particularly combined with red and white.

Green is becoming overwhelmingly important as it continuously brings us back to Mother Nature and our role in saving the planet. Yellow has been confirmed as a colour of optimism, worn in an unabashedly monochrome way.

Black is finally retreating, the ISIS soldiers dressed in black are influencing the way we see and use this colour.

The Elevation of Basics

The original idea of simple, well-designed clothing has been taken over in recent years by conspicuous consumption and fast fashion. Thankfully we are moving back to a simple uniform in our clothing. People don’t want to be consumed by “what to wear” so are adopting a standard look for themselves. Think Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. Therefore our basics need to be beautiful, luxurious and well made from fabrics such as linens, chambrays and wool.

The Urbanization of Rural

As our level of consciousness increases regarding our impact on the planet, people are blurring the lines between rural and city living. City dwellers have food roof gardens and their way of life has become simpler and more rustic. Styling in their homes and fashion has become more ruralistic, and colours such as your browns, beiges and whites predominate. Fashion is inspired by minimalist and pioneer living, with linens and Jacquards taking pride of place.

Denim Redefined

Denim is going nowhere although the look and feel of it will be very different. It’s going to become more frivolous and feminine using different washes and cuts and adorned with lace.

The rise of the Southern Hemisphere

It’s our time to shine! The Southern Hemisphere is coming creatively to the fore in all aspects of design. We can teach the North about how colour can free us, how to mix prints, how too embellish and create crazy combinations that illustrate the expansiveness of our creativity. We have an innately free quality to our styling and it shows a confidence in ourselves, contrasting to the increasing identity crises that the Northern Hemisphere finds itself in.

Customization of Creation

Slow fashion, handmade, craft and couture. These are ideals we are increasingly cherishing and finding ways of protecting and incorporating back into our daily lives. Our clothes show aspects of embroidery, hand stitching, hand woven fabrics and real beauty.

Feminization of Man

For the first time we see men involved in the nurturing and upbringing of children. Men are also having children on their own. This has seen the “softer side of man” evolve. They have become gender fluid wearing softer fabrics with feminine prints and colours, enhancing the feeling of tenderness. Men’s fashion has grown with 65% in the last ten years.

Confirmation of Craft

We had an innate need, that has been suppressed for a while, to be connected to the people and the process of making. We yearn for handmade clothes that speak to us of integrity and sincerity and a simpler way of life. We recognize that crafters and their art need to be protected and revered and this is being celebrated by incorporating embroidery, crochet, knitting and hand-sewn features into our clothes.

The Coming of Age of Age

People are increasingly less aware of how old someone is. Knowledge and experience are being valued as irreplaceable qualities. Young people are copying the way older people dress, borrowing from a more structured and conservative look and the older generation have become more experimental. Older people are more confident in their individuality and it shows through their fashion choices. The 2016 catwalks, such as Gucci, were filled with “granny” clothes.

The New Female

Although we are slowly turning into a matriarchal society, the journey has left woman in a dichotomous state, negotiating the murky waters between the male and female worlds. Society has to reinvent rules for woman. This dichotomy is illustrated in the way we dress, sometimes assertively, sometimes conservatively. A masculinity creeps into our fashion choices and a new hybrid uniform is being created, at once combining elements of male and female,  creating tension between the push and pull of strength and softness.


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