17 Fashion Inspirations By Li Edelkoort


The year 2012 in the ancient Mayan calendar signalled the end of time. Many people thought this also meant the end of the world, but its actually the end of the organisation of society as we know it. Our current systems are now obsolete and that’s creating a crisis, leading us to a transition where we need to create new systems and organize society differently. This transition is causing people to be extremely creative in how they approach this new system. It’s making people more ‘spiritual’ in how they find meaning in everyday things and chores. Small things can now take on spiritual meaning. For example, gardening, ironing and other seemingly meaningless jobs have begun to act as chores that focus oneself. As with any fashion genre, there is always variety, and we are currently seeing a move towards both a natural, organic look as well as a geometric, styled look.



1. The gift of light

Light and illumination hold a major appeal for many people right now. Light colours, home illumination, the sun and the stars. White in particular is emerging as the biggest colour, pin-tucks and the play of light on texture will all become important fashion looks. Natural fabrics, such as cotton and linen will be in demand. Fabrics are light, simple and tailored. Lightness and simplicity is a sign of optimism and this will reflect in the clothes that you wear. Tailoring in shirts, for both women and men, will make the T-shirt redundant as people seek more security and structure in uncertain times. Shirts will be very big with a war waged against T-shirts. For women, the shirtdress will fulfill this look.


2. The meeting of spirits

Clothes will become far more tactile and layered, still in light and white colours. Lots of folds and pleats, very controlled. One designer who is currently doing this is Celine. Fabric which are stiff and stand away from your body will emerge, with tailored geometric lines.


3. Bliss of Home

People are moving back to a place of safety and security. Your house has become your sanctuary, along with family and friends. The simplicity of the items you choose in your home will reflect in your clothing too. For example, the stripe and check of table linen might appear on your clothes. Household fabrics will influence the fabric used for clothing too. Lots of simple colours and shapes along with bright colours blended with white. Embroidery will give a sense of authenticity and exude the simplicity of handmade things. This will translate into clothing too.


4. The nursing of Plants

Gardening and nurturing nature sum up this trend. This relates to fashion in how we might separate our clothing items for such chores, such as a skirt and top. A mass of blooming flowers equates to how you will dress under this influence. A layered, chaotic and irreverent sense of styling – like wild flowers growing in a garden. Lots of small flower motifs will appear on clothes.


5. The caring of others

The touch and tactility of things. Textures, such as embroidery, encapsulate this trend, People are far more tactile than they have ever been. Fabrics must be soft and welcoming and create a feeling of being surrounded and safe.


6. The breaking of bread

The next big trend in food is bread. Whole meals will be around bread: the baking, the eating, the breaking of bread with family and friends. I have attended dinner parties where the only food was bread and butter. Natural linens and cottons, rustic materials, are the ‘bread’ of fashion. This signals the end of individualism – everyone wants to feel part of something bigger and be a part of a ‘cause.’

7. The thread of togetherness

People want to feel connected. There’s a movement in the Netherlands and Europe where people use knitting to ‘weave’ themselves together. We’re seeing a strong resurgence of knitwear and knitting, especially mohair, for both small threads and chunky sweaters. The same styles apply to both men and women and knitwear is now something to be worn in summer and winter. People want to be inside the box, not outside the box, where they can feel more in control and creative. This is coming through in fashion through strong tailoring and functional detail.


8. Longing of repetition

A longing to be contained. People feel safe within the repetitiveness of colour and shape. Patterns such as stripes represent this. We’ll see lots of stripes in all forms – rainbow colours and black and white.


9. The talent of creation

Big blocks of bright colour on clothes and accessories.


10. The science of lightness

Material from sports clothes which is very light and futuristic will become more prevalent. Colours will be a bleached fluorescent and white with a washed out fluorescent colour. These clothes will have an architectural design about them, taking after the functional, competitive designs of sports clothes. White will be the dominant colour, along with metallic colours such as silver and gold.



11. Movement of bodies

Dance is a big new trend and this influences fashion in the form of the dancing dress. Free flowing, not tight fitting will dominate this look. Flat dancing shoes made from soft leather and white denim will be a very strong emerging trend.


12. Escape of fashion

A reaction against the severe tailoring of fashion: lots of wraps, neutral colours, unfinished, frayed edges and simple embellishments.


13. The beauty of undone

Summed up by the influence of the East. Think Japan and the kimono. The West shoes appreciation for the strength of character of the East. The nuclear and natural disasters in Japan have shown a resilience which many want to emulate.

14. The sampling of cultures

All around the world, folklore and indigenous clothing has become very appealing. There are no longer distinctive styles based on cultures. Everyone is becoming more multi-cultural and adopting these styles of dressing, such as scarves and turbans. Flee-flowing is a key word.



15. The spirit of the earth

People are beginning to acknowledge the spiritual aspects of the earth, outside of mainstream religions. Africanism will become a major influence. Many conference’s in Europe are discussing the influence of Africa on the world. It’s the next continent to watch. Fashion is becoming increasingly influenced by Africa.


16. The foolishness of fashion

Best portrayed by the image of the pierott clown. Hats, flowing clothes, geometric black and white patterns. Bowties for men, frills, piping, graphic motifs and edging.


17. Celebration of life

A large Scandinavian influence can be seen, symbolised by a rebirthing. Lots of white and simplicity.

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