AW 2023/24 Geographic Focus
In this publication…
Exploring our AW 2023/24 design directions 1969, Soon, Heartbreaker and Find from a regional perspective and a spotlight on regional designers encapsulating the spirit of the story.
1969 shares drivers with Fury (SS 2023), not least the background of unrest, social change and civil rights tensions. But where Fury was dark and nihilistic, 1969 is more hopeful, celebrating how music, art and performance bring people together to promote positive activism.
Some future trajectories are clearer cut than others, 1969 is one such direction developing important cultural, political, and behavioural themes. The role of public art in raising awareness for marginalised communities is evident across regions. In Europe and North America, inclusion of more diverse faces and voices can be seen in marketing campaigns and high-profile exhibitions.
The drivers for Soon are undeniably global; climate change affects every country in the world. However, specific regions have their own localised challenges, making for marked variations in approaches.
While designers play a major part in communicating the need to prevent further damage, projects designed to ameliorate the effects that are already with us are notable from those in regions most acutely affected by rising temperatures.
With the rate of summer temperatures twice the global average, the Middle East is one of the world’s worst affected casualties of climate change. While the drive for wealth and economic security exacerbates the ongoing extraction of carbon emitting fossil fuels, pioneers combining mashrabiya cooling with bio-engineering techniques are a growing trend.
Heartbreaker takes a craft-like, slow design approach, arguing for thoughtful design that rejects inbuilt redundancy. Put simply, if we make something beautiful enough, it will continue to be cared for and appreciated, so helping to stem the tide of thoughtless, throwaway purchases.
As the home of couture, this story resonates strongly in Europe. The direct references to Japanese aesthetics and the proud, past traditions of Asian craft see regional iterations aligned with cultural heritage.
Our designer focus for Europe, Jessica Light, captures this design direction perfectly. As London’s last passementerie weaver, Light’s work utilises both traditional and unusual materials like horsehair to bring an ‘anarchic sensibility’ to this endangered heritage craft.
In contrast, the final design direction for AW 2023/34, Find explores waste from diverse perspectives. The role of designers in tackling issues around waste bridges the practical and political, from utilisation of waste in design to raising awareness through creative storytelling.
Even before the pandemic, the world was producing 2.1 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste every year, of which only 16 per cent is recycled. The growing unease is influencing the design landscape in Asia where Design Shanghai featured sustainability as a core driver of the show, and nostalgia towards defunct tech like VHS tapes sees them ironically repurposed.
Of note, our designer focus for Asia, Yohjiro Takagi creates sustainable garments using deadstock fabric informed by his Japanese ancestry.
Members can access our full publications including Geographic Focus, Signals, Global CMF Forecast for AW 2023/24, Design Impressions for SS 2023 and Design Directions for 2024, available now on the website.
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Image credits from top to bottom:
Mash.T Design Studio | Bright Light Sculpture | Photo Sarah de Pina; Jessica Gianelli | Jess’ Eyes | Papiyon Series; Juliette Minchin | Fractale | Image courtesy of the artist & Galerie Anne-Sarah Bénichou; SL Rasch | Madinah Piazza Shading Project; Hannah Jensen | Lillies; Jessica Light; Yohjiro Takagi | Graduate Collection | Photo Sirui Ma