AW18 Trend Analysis For SA Fashion Handbook

SA Fashion Week started last night, the 24th October, at the beautiful Sandton City rooftop venue. While I unfortunately was unable to attend, I did frantically stalk my Instagram feed to see the who’s who of the South African fashion industry make their appearance. Check out the SA Fashion Week website to see images from the evening, as well as the runway shows: and follow me on Instagram where I will be posting my favourite runway looks.

I was asked to write an article for SA Fashion Handbook highlighting the latest upcoming AW18 trends. Please see my article and trend analysis below (if you don’t have time to read the full article, scroll down to the bottom to catch my must-have items for the upcoming season!). Featured On CTInsider

In a time of increased global connections, social media influence, political upheaval & the dissolution of traditional fashion as we know it, the AW2018 season is an exciting and thought-provoking time for the fashion industry.

There is growing importance surrounding conscious consumption with genuine & hand-crafted pieces, that honour the maker and are ethically sourced. Fashion that is sustainable with long-lasting appeal is integral for this way of thinking. There is a strong mend-and-repair attitude, regenerating heritage garments and transforming them into this season’s wardrobe staples.

There is also a big pull between local vs global – what does local even mean anymore? With growing connections and multi-cultural worldwide inspiration, we are seeing more and more layered influences, ranging from the way we dress and accessorise to how we decorate our homes, the music we listen to and the food we choose to eat. The boundaries are blurring as design & style become globalised, feeling simultaneously familiar yet new and fresh. With the rise in globalised street culture and the need to be “woke”, we see how influences from across the world are shared, reposted and reimagined to create a fashion direction that is youthful and expressive, while remaining localised in interpretation.

There is a growing desire to be heard and make a statement, this is taken quite literally as a key trend for the season. High visibility slogans & branding, teamed with bold colours are an important trend direction for mens & ladies. Branded tee’s or cheeky slogan accessories, casually styled and paired with an urban-cool attitude are a must have for the season. Gender-neutral utility details seen in accessories such as sporty lanyard clips and key chains, and circular metal hardware details on belts & handbags, are key to complete this look. Slouchy silhouettes and experimenting with garment proportions add to this androgynous trend direction. Classic, hand-me-down items add a nostalgic touch, with timeworn pieces revived and worn as treasures. The more authentic and worn-in the better, think distressed leather jackets, classic sportswear tracksuits & roll-neck jerseys.

Contrasting this is a softer, retro approach with an emphasis on simple, functional designs. Nerdy “geek chic” styling for ladies is an essential fashion direction. Long-length cardigans paired with ankle-grazing pants or skirts and sneakers, with luxe fabric detailing elevate this casual look. Comfort dressing is important for this trend, influenced in part by the growing home-work lifestyle. Lingerie-inspired silky lace tops continue to be a big trend; and teaming them with tactile velvet can add a touch of casual decadence to update this look. The menswear direction has a more retro romantic influence, with ornate patterns and embellishments upstyling preppy tailoring. Gucci is a major influencer here with intense prints & decoration combined in a rebellious yet tailored approach. Ivy-league styling in exaggerated silhouettes, accessorised with sporty motifs finish off this look for menswear.

With the rise and influence of new technology advancements and augmented reality, this opens the door to a greater acceptance of unusual aesthetics. Creative design and opulent escapism is expressed in fashion, embracing individuality and challenging the norms of mainstream beauty. This more-is-more approach with an OTT design element is supported by rich metallic tones and a futuristic feel. This decadent trend is complimented with tactile details like embroideries, sequins and floral appliques, with subtle hints of sci-fi fantasy styling in apparel and accessories.

Must Have AW2018 Items For Ladies:

  • Tracksuit set
  • The slip dress
  • The oversized puffa jacket
  • Smartphone pouch
  • Handheld ring bag
  • Gemstone earring set
  • Heritage pendant stacks
  • Pointed aviator sunnies


Must Have AW2018 Items For Men:

  • Ski-style bomber jacket
  • Baggy skater chino
  • Crossbody Bag
  • Key Chain
  • Safety goggle sunnies
  • Anchor chain necklace
  • The unisex ring belt

Overall, key to remember for the upcoming AW2018 season is functional form with commercial silhouettes are important. Minimal utility details are an accessory highlight, and cinched waists for ladies, whether it be waisted belts or high waisted pants, make for a simple yet dramatic statement. For menswear, relaxed, comfortable fits that tone-down tailoring or elevate sportswear that can take you from day to night, updated with seasonal colours, prints & fabrics are essential to keep you up to date and on trend for AW2018.