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Power product: the styles driving the high street

Pretty little thing spring 19 (1)

Leading high street designers share the top-selling products and trends of the season, and give a taste of what is to come for autumn 19.

Rebecca Clarke, head of design, Nasty Gal

Nasty gal autumn 19 (12)

Nasty Gal autumn 19

Spring 19 has been all about the hair accessories, clips, slides and hair bands – in plain or printed satins, decorated in pearls or encrusted in jewels. The more extravagant the better.

In clothing, the bias-cut skirt has become a wardrobe staple, and a stand-out key volume driver for us this season – animal print styles are a particular favourite with our customers. Square necklines on blouses and the puff sleeve have also emerged as top performers.

Satins have been popular across all categories, especially within skirts and dresses. Mesh, for that true 1990s grunge that is iconic to Nasty Gal, has had a particularly good season. In addition, as sleeves are getting bigger, organza fabrics are becoming increasingly popular to create the perfect silhouette. I can only see this growing both in size and popularity into autumn 19 as the shoulder focus gets bigger.

Strong silhouettes have generally done well – emphasising the waist and exaggerating shoulders, to create a new femininity. Neon, tie-dye in fresh colours, dark florals and a 1990s “desert grunge” hybrid in stains, meshes and neutrals have also been successful.

Strong use of colour in unexpected 1970s and 1980s silhouettes are emerging [as a trend] for autumn 19. The 1980s puff shoulder silhouette is getting us particularly excited – the bigger the better. This strong silhouette shows a return to power dressing and is a refreshing step change into smarter dressing after a casual few seasons. The return of dark, romantic grunge is another trend we have confidence in.

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Karen Peacock, design director, Warehouse

Earthy tones, natural fabrics and linen blends have been top trends for spring 19. Utility and also soft romantic looks. In particular, utility jumpsuits, new tiered shapes in dresses, soft skirts and denim dresses have done well.

For autumn, there will be more sleeve focus – voluminous sleeves and strong shoulders. Midi-lengths are still important, but a shorter length is becoming more relevant.

Leather and fake leather will be big, too. Utility details continue from spring, as do voluminous dresses with romantic details. We’re particularly excited about our fake leather jumpsuit, statement knits and crowded floral dress.

Primark spring 19 (5)

Primark spring 19 (5)

Steve Lawton, group product director, Primark (menswear)

With menswear being heavily influenced by streetwear at the moment, it’s no surprise that the two trends that performed best for us were both rooted in the streetwear world.

We have had a really good time on pastels this spring summer, particularly when styled in retro 1990s garments. Additionally, we are seeing a rapid re-emergence of the military-inspired utility trend among high-end brands – and have nodded to this in our spring range in a trend that was grounded in a palette of blush tones and earthy neutrals.

One of our stand-out items was a cut-and-sew NASA crew neck with pastel colour pops. It really captured the updated retro styling that has been so popular among streetwear brands recently, and put an unexpected twist on the NASA licence by using pastels.

Another style that performed really well for us is our cuffed cargo trouser – which you can see becoming a staple item among some of the key menswear influencers.

In terms of fabrics, viscose has been really popular for us in shirts – in a range of prints from muted florals, to vertical stripes and bold tropical motifs. Linen has also been very strong in shirts and shorts, which is a trend we see continuing to grow.

With regard to shapes, our 1990s boxy-fit tee, which is done in a heavy organic cotton, has performed really well – but we are still seeing great sales on our muscle-fits and curved hem shapes.

On bottoms, we still sell a lot of skinny fit – but the customer is beginning to migrate to our slim fit as the trend moves towards more relaxed styling. Colour-wise, neons have emerged as a one of the must-have trends this season. Neon green in particular us resonating with our customer in T-shirts and leisurewear.

For autumn 19 we are launching with a really bold statement, focused around neons, animal prints, and 1990s-inpired denim. This mixes streetwear styles with tailoring pieces for a really fresh look. We then move into a very pared back utility-inspired story, which is accented by reflective details and light ochre colour pop.

The biggest shift between our spring 19 and autumn 19 trends, is the introduction of a 1970s inspired menswear story, including collegiate crests, heritage checks, and a colour palette featuring jewel tones anchored by earthy neutrals.

We have a ton of really exciting styles dropping this season, starting off with several neon-accented 1990s-inspired items including a tracksuit, jackets, and chunky trainers.

Moving into our winter range – we are really excited about our checked puffer jacket, which puts a heritage spin on a modern staple item.

We will be offering a holiday party range – including a brocade bomber, suiting with sateen details, as well as some surprises: for example a fur-trim collar on one of our smart coats.

Catherine Donnelly, senior ladieswear designer, Boohoo

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Boohoo spring 19

This season, our customer has been buying heavily into neon, from plain colours through to neon animal print. She has also been loving a cool utility vibe for going out and festivals. The Boohoo customer loves to build a summer holiday wardrobe, so white and broderie anglaise prove popular, as well as linen-look fabrics and pastel colours.

Soft tailoring and co-ord dressing have been hugely popular both on social media and with our customer. Graphic tees continue to work well and off-the-shoulder and prairie styles have really stepped up as we go more into the high summer season. Utility styling has been a growing trend, and our customer has been buying in to boiler suits to reflect this.

Neon, white, yellow and pastels have been huge for spring 19. Prints have also proved to be key – animal prints and chain prints on satin bases really resonate with our customer.

For autumn 19, we are going much more in to textured fabrics and exploring new colour palettes. We are particularly feeling earthy tones, tonal dressing, sage and winter pastels.

Going-out trends are really central for our customer and we’re exploring new voluminous shapes and taking inspiration from retro 1980s and 1990s silhouettes. We’re excited about our customer wearing head-to-toe colour, going big on bling – the more rhinestones the better – and new print messages such as winter tie-dyes and landscape prints.

Shane Chin, menswear design manager, Boohoo Man

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BoohooMan spring 19

Following our launch with [American rapper] Quavo this season, some of our top-performing trends have been heavily centred around streetwear: festival tees, utility vests and matching track sets have all been key.

Top-performing styles have been our staple T-shirts and tracksuits, in particular, our branded “Man” range. For the festival season, denim, bright colours and oversized silhouettes have been popular – oversized garments are definitely favoured over slim fit.

Our key trends for autumn 19 are split into two. “Space and Cyber” combines futuristic and technical elements with bold colourways. “Urban Nomad” is more of a smarter folk vibe. Both trends keep a consistent sense of youth and street style to fit the brand’s ongoing aesthetic.

We have a range of outerwear, mainly jackets, coming out in various reflective and foil materials for autumn. We also have a range of matching sets including smarter and more causal styles. Our customers love a matching set or co-ord.

Vanessa Spence, design director, Asos (womenswear)

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Asos spring 19

A trend that’s proven popular for us this season is all-natural colours: summer whites, oatmeal and biscuit tones in textural fabrics such as linen and cheesecloth. We love anything broderie anglaise in true cotton and  lightweight fabrics, with the addition of blouson sleeves to update dresses and blouses.

In contrast, hi-tech futuristic styles have also been in high demand. Reflective metallics and sheer materials in a vivid neon palette are key for us this season, and we love it when the two trends collide. For example, natural fabrics dyed in highlighter tones or mesh and nylon in a pared-back palette.

Bestsellers have included the Asos satin maxi-dress with a scarf neck and extreme sleeves, which sold out in less than a week in both the UK and US

Short suits have been a strong performing category for womenswear this season, and we saw a sales lift of 400% in March.

Our neon snake print swimwear, with more than 20 mix-and-match shapes available in either green or pink, has been a bestseller this season, and several options sold out over the Easter bank holiday weekend.

The autumn 19 season at Asos is very much a futuristic take on nostalgic styles. We see the return of grunge alongside references to signature 1980s silhouettes such as dome shoulders and banana-leg trousers.

Bold, neon colours and contrasting prints are prominent in the new-season collection, styled with reflective fabrics, high-gloss vinyl textures and acid-wash denim. We’ve mixed in tie-dye and slogan jersey pieces for 1990s rave nostalgia.

Embellishment is also key for autumn 19: metal and hardware give a tougher edge to floral dresses, while western-inspired crystal fringing and rhinestones add a hint of drama to 1990s-inspired going-out dressing.

Oasis 2

Oasis spring 19

Pandora Anderson, design manager, Oasis

Our top performing trend this season has been “Toile de Joie”: a range of delicate printed dresses and a selection of skirts. Animal print in the form of leopard and tiger have also been key for us, along with textured prints. Accessory trends include natural-tone straw in interesting shapes, along with bamboo and wooden styles. The espadrille wedge has proved popular.

Casual, lightweight fabrics such as linen and viscose are big throughout summer months for us and continue to work well. Button-through utility items have also been really central, helped by the brown, beige and natural colour trend of the season. Pretty, delicate summer dresses also continue to be very popular with our customer.

Moving into autumn 19, our key trends include a variety of rose bloom prints, spots and conversational prints. Suede and leather feature heavily throughout in chocolate, toffee and tan tones.

Slouchy knits combined with skirts and leather jackets over midi-dresses are also a leading style for us. Knitted co-ords make an appearance, too.

In footwear, we have created must-have wardrobe essentials – the ultimate court shoe is given a block-heel update and the classic heeled boot is updated in an array of fabrics and colourways feature varied heels from block to cylindrical. Key accessory colours include winter whites, forest green, chocolate and rust tones.

The pussy-bow blouse, the slip dress and knits with details and materials such as sheer fabrics, shirring and midi-dress ruffles will all be important for autumn.

Christopher Parnell, design manager, PrettyLittleThing

Pretty little thing spring 19 (1)

Pretty little thing spring 19

Neon has been such an exciting trend across all categories this season, and we continue to see this develop. We have also seen pastels come through.

Swim has had an amazing season and there have been so many holiday hits, but our lime green neon triangle bikini is still performing incredibly well.

In addition to neon, we’ve seen ditsy florals becoming a hit with customers this season and have overtaken animal prints, which were big in autumn 18. Skirts and dresses remain popular for the “girly girl” customer.

For autumn 19 there has been a huge resurgence of opulence and historical themes from medieval to English heritage. We have also seen a big presence of western, and new approaches to punk through skin prints and hardware.


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New Look spring 19

Anica Wislawski, senior head of fashion, New Look

Prints have been a big trend for us this spring: particularly spots and animal print. We also continue to see a strong performance from midi-skirts and dresses, whether it’s a wrap style floral print or a button-through printed style.

We’ve seen a good reaction to the paper-bag waist, particularly on shorts and miniskirts.

Our customer is buying into the neutral palette for a more understated look this season, but adding pops of colour. 

Paula Dumont Lopez, group product director, Primark (womenswear)

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Primark spring 19

Utility has been the stand-out trend for the season. Within this trend we have seen commercial success with the neutral palette, casual and loose-fit styling, as well as natural and textured fabrication.

In addition to the utility trend, soft romance has been very successful, offering an endless selection of pretty “meadow floral” print options in long floaty lengths, and sitting back with swathes of dainty cutwork and lace looks.

A lot of the top-performing styles have come directly from these trends. Within utility, we have had great success with the boilersuit and the cargo trouser. In the soft romance trend, the floral midi-dress and midi-skirt were top performers.

Natural fabrics  such as cottons and linens, oversized and loose fitting silhouettes, and simple neutral colours like camel and khaki were all popular.

Neutrals continue to evolve in autumn 19. This consists of every shade from bone white to beige and greys through to caramel browns. We are specifically looking at head-to-toe tonal dressing within this palette.

Cosy is a big seasonal trend with fleece and borg re-emerging as key fashion fabrics

Checks are extremely important – from traditional heritage checks all the way through to bold mono checks and punk tartans. 

Autumn 19 shifts towards smarter looks. Faux leather, lace and satin are all key fabrications. A strong grunge influence is adding a new twist to the traditional heritage look. The soft romantic florals of spring are evolving into dark bold blooms.

Following the amazing success of our sustainable cotton jeans for spring, we are really excited about expanding the width of the sustainable range on our denim department for autumn.

Our outerwear and knitwear departments have had a big step up in quality, texture and fabrication, and these categories lend themselves effortlessly to the neutral colour palette for the season.

Finally, we are really excited about the breadth of our international collaborations with influencers, as we’re working with more than ever before.

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Emma Wisden, MD, Urban Outfitters (menswear and womenswear)

Urban outfitters has seen great reactions to Trek gear and rich heritage pieces. Tie-dyed, bold prints and illustrative tees have created diverse impressions alongside workwear and nylon utility.


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