【IT】Between Nature and Science: footwear trends for the S/S 2023 season on stage at MICAM

MICAM Milano, scheduled for 18-20 September at the Fiera Milano (Rho), prepares once again to showcase footwear trends for the following Spring-Summer 2023 season. A fascinating and highly variegated range of themes is presented exclusively by WGSN through the narration of three macrocosms, three worlds, each with its own rules and peculiarities. From the playful anti-conformity of the Full Spectrum trend to the wiser world of Design Wise, more attentive to the future of the planet, right up to the return to nature and its endless allure with the Soul Space trend.


Full Spectrum acts like a collective sigh of relief following an unprecedented period of global constraint. It’s an almost- anything-goes, anti-conformist direction that champions a variety of differing perspectives and radical self-acceptance.


Contrasting elements are a recurring theme in this trend, and they are mixed and matched in spontaneous, fun ways. Sporty styles are joyful and frivolous (more roller skating and hula-hooping, less boot camp); outdoor items fuse high functionality with high fashion; and transhuman and digitally enhanced looks are admired as a new aesthetic in the physical world. Community is key, so brands and products that enable people to connect around authentic and respectful local and global stories, shared aesthetics and values, will have a stronger impact.


Colour is used in unambiguous, unapologetic and unexpected ways (pink palm trees, purple lip gloss and synthetic sunsets all have a home here), and product shapes range from fluid, mercurial forms to more theatrical and extravagant designs. Textures can be super-smooth, gloopy and gummy, and prints and graphics are maximalist and meme-friendly, encompassing clashing patterns, paint daubs and subversive slogans.


In 2023, consumers will be hungry for products and experiences that bring extravagance to the everyday, and will want to have them in their unfiltered, full-spectrum forms.


Design-Wise is driven by a growing expectation and demand for products, experiences and systems that are smarter, simpler and more sustainable, as organisations and individuals explore how to build a more equitable world. It champions democratic and inclusive designs that work harder, last longer and can be used in multiple ways, and calls on creators to think not only about how a product will be used in the present, but also how it will exist in the future. Innovative materials and ingredients (think self-cleaning fabrics and molecular scents) have a natural home here and so do simple, architectural forms that map the body or highlight functional details. Colour is used with confidence and clarity – either all over or prints and graphics are underpinned by a sense of meaning, where patterns are derived from data maps, mathematical sequences or arcane symbols. Craftsmanship is also important, but it is viewed through a technological filter that prizes the iterative work of digital design on a par with the painstaking skill of handmade items. At its heart, Design-Wise presents a clear-eyed and responsibly minded vision of what good design can be and do, where products and processes are intelligent, thoughtful and full of optimism.


Soul Space

As the dust settles after the upheaval of the past few years, Soul Space explores how we can find balance and happiness, both individually and collectively. Here, self-examination and fulfilment are part of the same path, and a wide range of inspirations are linked to a yearning for meaning and solace, whether it be through the romance of rural lifestyles, the comfort of home, the appeal of faraway places or nostalgia for past times.


Products that support wellness, self-care and healing rituals will be especially relevant, as will natural ingredients and processes – think wild foraged pigments, raw, excavated textures, and regeneratively sourced materials and packaging. Indeed, the mottled and unpredictable outcomes of nature will become new indicators of rarity and luxury. Science and tech will also be important as bio-innovations become more present, resulting in petrochemical-free designs that work with the environment, not against it.


Colour is used emotively in this trend, from tranquil blues to reassuring ochres and uplifting pinks and oranges. Prints and patterns encompass a range of styles, including florals (both chintzy and oversized), celestial motifs, and homely ginghams and tablecloth checks, signalling increased interaction between interior design and fashion.


As we adapt to change and follow our happiness in 2023, products and experiences that feed the soul and nourish the spirit will not only be more appealing – they will also be more necessary




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