As this year winds down we’ve recapped its highlights to bring you the best of 2017 in fashion, sneakers, music and more.
The internet and social media have sped up the trend cycle so much that it seems like fads die just as quickly as they’re born these days. Some trends have staying power, of course — 2014’s all-red sneakers craze lasted a lifetime, urgh — but these days it feels like something’s dead by the time it hits Instagram.
Nine times out of 10 a trend isn’t actually anything new, just something that’s been recycled from the past, which kinda makes the whole process seem a bit silly. If you wear mega-puffy DC skate sneakers in 2017, are you 15 years behind the times, or the first person to bring them back?
This time last year, we listed the biggest trends of 2016, and had a guess at which ones would stick around, and which ones would be dead 365 days later.
So, now that 2017 is drawing to a close, let’s take a look at which trends from last year are still going, which ones are on their way out and which are dead already.
Post-Soviet Designers Killed It
Then: “The USA, Europe and Japan are generally considered to be the world’s fashion capitals, but 2016’s biggest power moves came from somewhere else entirely: the former Soviet Union. Demna Gvasalia and Gosha Rubchinskiy — from Georgia and Moscow, respectively — have had outrageously good years, and they’re now two of the most talked-about names in the business.”
Now: It’s been business as usual for Demna. While Vetements had a pretty quiet year, the Georgian designer’s world domination continued at Balenciaga. Gvasalia’s irony-laden, internet-savvy rejuvenation of the once-fading couture house has dominated the conversation this year, and that’s reflected on the house’s sales, which have reportedly shot into the stratosphere this year.
Rubchinskiy, meanwhile, kept up the pace with his brand’s ongoing adidas collaboration, and his work was knocked off by the lamestream. A H&M rip-off is a pretty sure sign that you’re popping. Although Gosha and his team could probably have done without the straight-up fakes that turned up in Urban Outfitters.
Vintage Band Tees Were Huge
Then: “Streetwear is having a bit of a rock ‘n’ roll phase these days. We called the trend grungewave a while back, and one side effect of the genre’s newfound love of guitar music is that vintage band tees have become a must-have for fashion, rap and streetwear types.”
Now: This one hit saturation point way back — we declared it dead in April 2016 — but it definitely, definitely, died this year, right when Kylie and Kendall Jenner got sued for their use of Michael Miller’s iconic 2Pac photos in their self-titled merch line.
Tour Merch Got Serious
Then: “It wasn’t just old-school rock tees that killed it this year. Some of the biggest names in the rap and pop business leveraged their ~personal brands~ to create concert merchandise that were more like fully-fledged labels than one-off souvenirs.”
Now: If 2016’s merch game was dominated by Kanye, Rihanna and the Biebs, 2017 was the year everyone else caught on. 21 Savage, Kid Cudi (via Virgil Abloh, no less), Lana Del Rey, Vince Staples, Kendrick Lamar, Lil Uzi Vert all merched themselves, and Travis Scott even did a Halloween collection. Given that there’s stupid amounts of money to be made from the merch game, don’t expect this one to let up anytime soon.
The adidas NMD Was a Smash Hit
Then: “The adidas NMD has all the hallmarks of a mainstream hit: it’s catered to modern tastes, with a clean silhouette that’s easy as hell to wear, and it’s available from tons of retailers. adidas started off sending sneakerheads crazy with limited edition drops of the shoe, before it hit the big-name footwear chains and sold in the thousands to regular guys and streetwear heads alike. The NMD was, far and away, the biggest sneaker of the year — or, at least, the biggest one that you could actually get your hands on without selling your kidneys.”
Now: While fashionistas lost their minds over the Balenciaga “Triple S” and everyone under the sun bought a pair of Vans this year, we’ve not seen the last of the NMD. The shoe is still a go-to for sneakerheads, thanks to a slew of big-hitting drops in 2017. The City Sock variant of the shoe was particularly successful, while sneakerheads literally had to beat each other up just to get their hands on a pair of Pharrell’s “Human Race” NMDs.
Orange Was the New Black
Then: “The tedious all-black-everything street goth craze is now well behind us (thank god), and that means color has once again returned to the streetwear landscape (thank god). Pink was the vibe in 2015, but this time around it was orange — bright, neon, hi-vis orange — that was the urban peacock’s color of choice.”
Now: Colors always fall in and out of favor, that’s just how things work these days. Orange is still popping, but it’s starting to slip in favor of yellow, which is slowly encroaching on streetwear‘s palette in the same way that hi-vis orange tones did this time last year.
Half-and-Half Tees Became a Thing
Then: “One curious micro-trend that emerged this year was the half-and-half T-shirt. The concept is pretty simple: cut two tees in half and stitch one side of each together. We saw lots of Frankenstein-style tees this year, and they were often stitched together from different sizes to create jagged, uneven silhouettes. The real fun, though, came when designers clashed two completely different ideas together.”
Souvenir Jackets Came Back
Then: “Menswear is forever looking back in time; we don’t really design new garments these days, just new versions of the same old classics. This year, one particular piece of style history was brought back from the dead: the souvenir jacket. Tons of brands did their own spin on it this year, producing plush satin and silk versions in wild colorways, decorated with all sorts of Oriental designs.”
Now: Retailers stocked up on the souvenir jacket last year — especially at the luxury end of the spectrum — but the trend never really went stratospheric in the same way that the leather biker jacket or ripped jeans did. This one might have died a bit for retailers, but that doesn’t stop souvenir jackets from looking great — a classic silhouette, plush fabrics and lavish embroideries is a dope combo no matter what’s trending.
Things Got Furry
Then: “Last year, the streetwear scene played with heavily washed fabrics and muddy, muted hues (you can thank Kanye for that one). This time around, though, we had lots of shaggy textures, from faux fur to wooly fleece and luxe sheepskin. Speaking of which, shearling was declared the fall season’s must-have outerwear piece by the menswear illuminati, despite (or maybe because of) the fact that it’s outrageously expensive and jackets made from the stuff cost thousands.”
Now: While corduroy enjoyed a resurgence of sorts this fall, furry, shaggy fabrics will always be a move for when temperatures drop. Shaggy zip-ups are a great layering piece (here’s 14 of our favorites), and obscure made-in-USA label Mazmania accidentally out-stunted the competition with this wolf-adorned banger. Style god Jason Dill killed it in Supreme x Schott’s faux-fur peacoat in GRIND magazine, too.
People Did It Themselves
Then: “Social media and online shopping have created a paradox where we have more choice than ever, but it’s getting harder and harder to find something that’s properly unique. The struggle for individuality probably explains why people — both shoppers and brands — altered their clothing en masse this year. This was a ground-up, DIY trend that was all about people reworking their own garments rather than designers showing them on the catwalk. ”
Now: This one’s still going strong, and it’s a pleasure to see people getting their hands dirty and doing things themselves. DIY riffs on fashion grails were spotted on the streets of Seoul, while custom artist Luke Vicious unveiled loads of gorgeous hand-drawn pieces and A$AP-affiliated artist Pauly Bomonelli, aka himumimdead, one-upped everyone else and doodled all over an actual shop.
Let’s not forget the doodler-in-chief, Virgil Abloh, who basically scribbled his way through 2017, writing all sorts of things on his Nike collab (and Highsnobiety‘s office, too).
Combat Boots Were a Hit
Then: “People seem to be growing out of sneakers these days — or just getting bored of them — and a lot of guys are turning their gaze to something a little more chic. While last year, the shoe of choice for many style-conscious guys was the always-sexy Chelsea boot, things got a little more rugged this year, courtesy of the combat boot.”
Now: This one was pretty YEEZY-focused — Kanye made the combat boot trendy, and while they’re still part of the YEEZY aesthetic, the trend kinda fizzled out this year, much like Kanye’s brand itself, which never really set the world on fire in the same way that his sneakers did.
Here’s the 10 biggest trends of 2017 and whether they’ll still be around next year.