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What products are driving the high street?

Boohoo man autumn 18 (3)

Drapers speaks to some of the UK’s biggest retailers about what consumer trends and key pieces are driving autumn 18 sales, and what will have an impact for spring 19.

From the rise of sportswear to the trend for holiday shopping, high street retailers and pure play online players reveal the trends, themes and stand-out items that are proving most popular this season, as well as what they have backed for spring 19.


Asos womenswear

Asos menswear

Nasty Gal





Reiss menswear


River Island menswear

River Island womenswear



Primark menswear

Primark womenswear

Steven Andrews, womenswear head of design at Asos

asos aw 18

We’ve seen a big return to fashion suiting this season. With power dressing back, sharp shoulders, boyfriend and dad silhouettes are really coming into their own. Asos customers love wearing statement blazers over dresses, as well as head-to-toe tailoring. Checks and cord have been especially popular in suiting for autumn 18. We’ve seen cord suits sell out and have sold over 22,500 checked trousers.

Animal prints have had a great season. We’ve seen sales increase by more than 200% since last year. The Asos Design bias-cut skirt in leopard print sold out in a day. We’ve also seen a lift in neon colours, which we are predicting to be a key trend through to the spring. In footwear our customers are loving chunky soles, whether on “ugly” trainers or hiker boots. When paired with casual dresses they have sold especially well.

We think neon, broderie, sheer fabrics and natural fabrications will make a big impact next season, as well as 1980s silhouettes and utility and safari trends. We’re really excited about utility and combat styling, the peasant dress and the short suit for spring 19.

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Nick Eley, menswear head of design at Asos

Asos menswear autumn 18 (7)

High-low dressing is dominating sales at the moment; think smarter trousers with oversized sweats, chunky trainers and puffa jackets. Our partywear is returning to the 1990s with a trashy mix of baroque and animal prints, high shine fabrics and heavy embellishment.

Our customers are loving textured knitwear, borgs and fake furs across leisure and outerwear, lots of check wool overcoats, check and striped trousers often in tapered fits, animal prints and chunky trousers.

The transition to more natural fabrics, such as linens, slubs and mesh, as well as heavily washed and laundered tie dyes and printed co-ords will be a huge story for us across different departments in spring 19. We will focus on revere collar shirts, short shorts, bucket hats and cross-body bags.

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Leanne Edwards, in house senior designer at Nasty Gal

2018.10.16   nasty gal1795 rt

Currently, our customer is getting excited about print and texture. Bold prints and fabrications across tailoring and outerwear are overtaking solid colours, and this is something we will be looking to continue into spring 19.

Industry wide, animal print has saturated and over-performed for autumn 18, and this is no different for us. Across apparel and accessories, leopard has been a key driver for the season. Knitwear is performing well, especially where there is an oversized element or a pastel tone used, and our customer is styling knits with satins and vinyl.

The biggest impact for spring 19 will be the change in direction to a softer silhouette from what we’ve seen previously. Streetwear and utility still have a strong presence, but as the season rolls on and the heat increases, we will see a shift to new peasant necklines, volume sleeves, ruffle detailing and fluid fabrications. We will be backing textured fabrics, boudoir tones and summer metallics for spring 19. Keep an eye out for romantic dressing and tough-girl leathers.

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Jocelyn Seeley, design manager at Boohoo

Boohoo (1)

Soft tailoring is becoming an everyday wardrobe essential. We particularly love it when it’s paired with a chunky trainer, and we don’t see this trend going away any time soon.

Animal prints have performed well for us, particularly leopard and snake prints. This was a huge message on the autumn 18 runway shows, and we gave this product to our customer at the right time. She’s stuck with us throughout the season while we updated our options.

Head-to-toe colour dressing seems to be strong for spring 19 and we are starting to see this gain momentum now, with celebrities favouring tonal colours – it’s demonstrating to our customer how this trend should be worn.

We loved the spring 19 shows and feel there are so many exciting new trends to offer the Boohoo girl. We’re particularly keen on the safari and utility trend, and of course we’re giving a continued focus to soft tailoring.

So many of the spring 19 catwalks showcased voluminous sleeves and we feel this will look fresh and exciting for the new season. Also, with the rise of tonal dressing, we are keen to offer two- and three-piece co-ords.

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Shane Chin, menswear design manager at BoohooMan

Boohoo man autumn 18 (4)

For us, streetwear in all of its forms is a massive consumer trend, with the likes of Jaden Smith, Travis Scott and Justin Bieber, among others, influencing a generation. Sportswear sits alongside this and when mixed with tailoring and smarter items create unique looks amongst our consumer. This is why we create such a wide variety of product: so that our audience can mix and match and experiment with fashion.

Denim is a strong performer, alongside matching sets. Those items really appealed to our audience this year. More casual looks including tracksuits also performed well.

The above trends will continue to grow for spring, however utility, festival and oversizing will make the biggest impact. Leg silhouettes including straight-leg shapes, slouchier fits and full-legged 1990s looks will also be key. All oversized silhouettes, sportswear and sage and lime green colourways are key for us. We will have a lot of co-ords, a mix of neutral tones and clashing patterns [for spring 19]. Bowling shirts will also be in.

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Sarah Welsh, brand director at Oasis

Oasis autumn 18 (1)

We’ve seen a more relaxed approach to dressing [for autumn 18]. For example, styling a suit with a slogan T-shirt or a printed midi skirt with a T-shirt and trainers. There has also been growth in loungewear.

Animal print has performed extremely well this season across all product areas: dresses, knitwear and jersey in particular. Florals such as patched floral midi-dresses and ditsy flowers on prairie-style dresses have also been key. We’ve also seen a fantastic early reaction to our Christmas partywear range, especially across rainbow sequins and foil spot embellishment.

For spring 19 we’re backing utility, including pocket details, drop shoulders, D-rings and epaulettes. The boiler suit is a key style for us. Animal also, particularly leopard and snake. Alongside that, there is an ultra-feminine trend, so pretty patched florals, coloured broderie, tiering on skirts and dresses, ruffles and prairie styling, and scarf prints in patched prints, paisleys, tropical and jacquards.

[Bestsellers are predicted to be] drop-sleeve T-shirts, utility shirts, boiler suits, utility jackets, the vest, floral jumpsuits, printed co- ordinated sets, including matching top and skirt, tiered skirts and midi-dresses, broderie detail tops, midi-shirt dresses, kimonos and relaxed-fit shorts.

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Karen Peacock, design director at Warehouse

Warehouse autumn 18 (1)

We’re seeing lots of new colour [for autumn 18], and 1970s tones have been popular. Versatile clothes for more than one situation are also key – work, weekend and evening in one. All things animal – prints, knits and fake fur coats – have performed well. Also midi lengths, cord, paisley prints and we are predicting lots of sequins for the party season.

There will be a more relaxed approach to dressing in the spring, with more linen and cotton fabrics. There will also be lots of longer lengths in dresses, more soft skirts, utility styling and pastel colours. The slip dress, slip skirt and the utility shirt or shirt dress will be key items.

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Alex Field, menswear design director at Reiss

Reiss autumn 18 (3)

Event dressing is always a big focus at this time of year, and men have been seen to grow in confidence, being bolder with colour and taking risks with fabrics and details. Celebrities such as Bradley Cooper, Eddie Redmayne and Harry Styles, to name a few, have been standing out on the red carpet, upgrading the classic black tux with white velvet fabrications, colourful jacquards and double-breasted styles.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the rise of casual dressing, choosing to wear trainers not only with jeans and casual trousers, but also to dress down tailored trousers. People are willing to spend more on trainers to be worn outside of the gym, as they are now considered a trend statement.

We’ve seen success across a number of categories including interest knitwear with chunky zips and subtle branding, which offers new ways to make things different and evolve the brand. Printed shirts continue to do well for us, allowing men to show a fun, flamboyant side to their style.

For spring 19, holidaywear will continue to grow as guys now shop specifically to go on holiday and to suit the destination. They are often more adventurous when other men around them are dressed similarly, for example dressing up for festivals or a party destination.

Other trends such as larger silhouettes, baggy sweatshirts and oversized coats will filter down into summer, as the skinny and “skin-tight” look is a thing of the past. [Men will be] having more fun with colour and statement prints be that retro, humorous or parody options. Sports worn casually will continue to grow as leisure and lifestyle hold more of a retro 1990s feel rather than just technical.

A versatile blazer, unstructured and with softer shoulders, will be key for spring 19. Double-breasted blazers that can be worn anywhere – dressed up with a tie or down with a T-shirt and trainers.

Short-sleeved printed camp-collar shirts in lightweight viscose and silk blends. There will also be looser trouser silhouettes – a loose waist with tapered leg will be the new chino. Drawstring trousers, pleated at the waist, with a looser fit around the seat will also be key.

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Sarah Moore, senior buyer at PrettyLittleThing

Pretty little thing autumn 18 (1)

Animal is huge for us at the moment – on any item. Whether it be dresses, tops, shoes, swimwear or coats, it’s big. Also for autumn 18, tailoring toned down with casual items such as cycling shorts are key, as well as cargo trousers. Styling these cooler items up with heels and thigh high boots is also working well. Neon is popular in evening and more daytime styles, and pleating within occasionwear styles is also big for us.

There will be a focus on key festival pieces and an updated animal print in bolder and brighter colours for spring 19. Swim trends will be even bigger than last year, with matching cover ups to bikinis and swimsuits, while sportswear will be carrying through.

Dusty blue hues and mustard tones will be coming in early spring, alongside broderie anglaise and cotton shirting. The 1980s will also be a key trend – think bigger shoulder pads, bigger origami folding and brighter colours.

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Lucy Moller, womenswear design controller at River Island

River island womenswear autumn 18 (1)

We’re seeing men’s and women’s clothing trends align more and more across the catwalk, street style and high street.

Animal prints have been seen everywhere this season and continue to perform well. Our leopard print midi-skirt and our vinyl brown trench coat were both sell out items.

Spring 19 will focus on all things 1980s and a modern heritage look. Animal prints are also definitely still strong for spring 19, with snake, zebra, leopard and tiger prints being seen across all styles. We’re loving the co-ordinated gender-neutral look which was seen on the spring 19 catwalks. Midi skirts and matching sets will be key.

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Matt Braun, menswear design controller at River Island

River island menswear autumn 18 (2)

We’ve seen a shift to a smarter way of dressing, for example checked trousers have been the item of the season. This has had a knock-on effect with the tops they are being styled with, for example- roll necks and smarter polos. On the flip side they can also be worn styled with sportswear for a more dressed down look. The Olly Murs collection is perfect for this – we love the check trousers with the shearling jackets for a day to bar look.

Historically, heritage has been really good for us but we see this moving towards a more athleisure look. We feel cosy cold weather product is looking new again, with chunky-knit jumpers teamed with shearling jackets. Plush premium fabrics such as cord and velvet offer a rich look.

Matching sets are key across the board – for example crombies with matching accessories. We are also championing prints by using the same ones across all departments.

Our customer buys into embellished and premium tops, so we made a conscious effort to launch an ornate look for October, with T-shirts and shirts for day-to-bar dressing. Baroque prints and logo loyalty will be key, where we embellish on top of prints and push new application techniques. The 1970s are the decade of the season, with brown heritage checks on the more causal side. As men become more adventurous with party dressing we have really indulged in this for our occasionwear.

Customers are becoming braver with their choices. Celebrities such as Harry Styles are always pushing the boundaries of tailoring and we love Travis Scott’s style with partywear.

For spring 19, Los Angeles has become really exciting again. This will see us move to new techniques in washing, embellishment and shape. This will also drive key prints such as rock T-shirts, leopard print and tie dye, which we are really excited about. Colour will be an overriding message, from pastels, to neons and primary bights. Within the menswear market there are many collaborations going on, which spur us on to mix trends to create something new.

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Anthony Cuthbertson, global design director at Topshop/Topman

…on womenswear:

Topshop autumn 18 (6)

As we move into the festive season, we’re seeing our customers invest in the perfect look to see them from their day in the office to the after-work party. We’re loving daytime sequins: a glitzy sequin skirt, paired back with a chunky knit or a long sleeve sequin top with our bestselling satin midi-skirt. Our highly anticipated Topshop x Halpern collaboration has just hit stores and has all the essential pieces to achieve this luxe, glamorous look.

We released a new collection called Idol this season, which our customers loved. The premium 1970s aesthetic with luxe layering of rich textures, prints, fake fur and sequins proved really popular. Our mainline Topshop satin midi has also been a huge piece for us – we feel that’s because it’s flattering for all figures, can be styled in hundreds of ways in formal and casual looks and is a really good price point at £29.

We love being inspired by art and the artists themselves, so for spring 19 we’ve looked to the iconic figure of Frida Khalo. Expect vibrant prints on tiered dresses and skirts with added cutwork and embellishment, as well as lots of volume, shape and texture. We’re also bringing back colour to linen with brightly hued pigmentations.

Following on from the success of Idol for autumn 18, we’re also launching another collection named Gold Rush. It speaks to the Topshop girl who wants a feminine look with a tough-girl edge. Think all-over retro florals with antique gold embellishments and chunky beaded necklines and cuffs.

Sportswear is still big news, ours is focused on femininity and strength with clean, elongated lines, displaced stripes and print-clash chevrons. We’re also seeing lots of metallic finishes and highlighter neons with a real techno influence.

Finally, we’re looking back to the iconic style of Diana, Princess of Wales: her influence can be seen in billowing tulle blouses and dresses prettified with pearls, diamanté lace collars and embroidery.

The statement shearling jacket, the dungaree in laundered linen and, as we move towards summer, the elevated Hawaiian shirt.

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Anthony Cuthbertson, global design director at Topshop/Topman

…and on menswear:

Topman autumn 18 (1)

Fashion exists in cycles and we are seeing the return to tailoring as an alternative to the recent streetwear explosion, especially as we move into the festive season. While our skinny fit suit continues to perform well for Topman, it is important for us to innovate and offer our customers a wide choice of tailoring, so we’ve explored into new looser fits. We’ve also recently collaborated with designer Charlie Casely-Hayford on a collection which has brought a youthful but elevated feel to evening wear.

Celebrities such as Harry Styles and Jared Leto have become the poster boys for the statement suit and have influenced our customer to be a bit braver in their choices.

We’ve seen a big rise in the popularity of maximal dressing over the past year, characterised by rich fabrics, colours and bold prints. Our mainline Topman skinny jeans and chinos continue to perform well – styled in both formal and casual ways.

Despite the resurgence in tailoring, sport and streetwear continue to be popular with our customers. In our Northern Quarter story, rave references blend with sport elements to create a real homage to the 1990s. For spring 19, you’ll find block velour tracksuits and lightweight outwear in technical fabrications, as well as return of the legendary shell suit.

We’re also seeing a move towards a more rocker aesthetic with teddy coats and biker jackets toughening up our spring collection. The teddy coat, colour block tracksuits and, for the warmer summer months, tailored suits in subtle linen blends will be key items.

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Steve Lawton, menswear trading director at Primark

Primark menswear autumn 18 (14)

Streetwear mixed with tailoring has been evolving over the last number of seasons and is key for autumn 18. Our collection is influenced by elements of the 1970s that are mixed and styled with the new era of streetwear and tailoring. There has been an emergence of a rich autumnal colour palette across fabrics such as corduroy, shearling fleece, borg, suede and plaid.

With the strong influence of the 1970s inspiring current trends, heavy handle and warm texture fabrications are our top performers. The shearling fleece jacket, borg trimmed outerwear, checked crombie coats, corduroy trousers and fine gauge knitwear have all performed well.

Streetwear will continue to grow for spring 19 with a fresh, modern palette. It will be grounded to black and white with injections of bold colours and neon pops.

This will be a key trend for festival season with a 1990s grunge influence. Print will be important: vibrant tropics, ombre effects, neon palms and flame prints being key. Fabric techniques will play a big part, looking at different acid washes, mesh panelling, tie-dye and bleaching.

Print co-ordinates will be the statement for the spring 19 season. The resort shirt will feature all over prints and placement prints. Other strong print direction within shirts will be photo print, flame print and neon palms.

For jackets we see the introduction of new shapes such as the cagoule and overhead. The transparent rain mac is a new addition for festival and will be a key piece for us. Styled over a jacket or leisurewear, the utility vest evolves into a key statement piece.

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Paula Dumont Lopez, womenswear trading director at Primark

Primark womenswear autumn 18 (5)

Streetwear and sportswear continue to heavily influence current fashion trends. We’ve seen this on the catwalks, where every day functional items like rainwear and trainers are now desirable fashion items. We’re also seeing a revival of tailoring.

Animal, cord, checks, fur and teddy or Borg are key trends that have performed well this autumn.

Layering, high necks and roll necks worn with pinafores, skirts and more tailored trousers are big themes.

We see a move away from more traditional jeans shapes towards mom and straighter styles, that include ripped detailing. Wrap front details and midi length dresses have sold well and are particularly popular in animal print. Texture is big right now, with chenille, mixed yarns, teddy, borg and fur featuring strongly. Padded jackets and crombie coats are also in high demand.

Spring 19 is setting up to be a season of contrasts. A clean and natural look will continue further into 2019, to create an elevated utility look, anchored in neutrals and khakis. In stark contrast to this we see a vibrant, hyper and unreal trend emerge. Anchored in the 1990s and 2000s, colours are vibrant and unapologetic, with neons at the forefront. Print and pattern will be influenced by dye effects like ombré, tie-dye and acid wash. Styling is bold and brave.

We are excited to offer neon colours, not just in solids, but as ground colours to animal prints. Utility is also emerging as a key detail on staples and 1990s surf tie dye is returning with a nostalgic and playful take.

The 1990s continue to be an era that excites us and drives bold colour. We have introduced acid wash denim, tie-dye prints and the fashion essential cycling short. We really like washed floral prints on dresses worn with trainers. Finally, to make a strong statement, we love tone on tone colouring.

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