Lidewij Edelkoort’s Labour of Love: Rethinking work and clothing

RECAP “After ‘Anti-Fashion’ and the ‘Emancipation of Everything’ it comes down to the clothes. And it is all just about the clothes, then it has to be the starting point of us finding new ideas within clothing,” said trend forecaster and futurist Lidewij Edelkoort in her new trend presentation ‘Labour of Love’, in which the clothing of the working man act as the starting point. “Workwear is one of the domains in which many new details, forms and developments are going on.”

Edelkoort previously proclaimed the death of fashion , and during her last presentation the forecaster linked the world events in all disciplines. Now workwear is central to the discussion. “Work wear was already a theme last season, and now ‘labour’ is more important than ever before. There is a reconsideration underway of work; because have a jobs is seen as something very appealing. This is most likely due to the crisis and the immigration/migrant problem. The thought ‘how nice that I’ve actually got a job’ has ensured that we think differently about work. We also have more respect for simple and basic occupations,” added Edelkoort.

Workwear was one of the trends in her former presentation, however, now workwear is the comprehensive theme in her trend forecast. She refers back to previous signals, which are now confirmed: more and more young people are buying old factories and bringing them back to life. “Linen is being woven in London for example, clothing is being made in New York and carpets are being woven in Boston, and much more. There is enough data present to see that the young generation is eager to produce.” But the factory is no longer being used to make ‘huge volumes cheaply’ but instead to make ‘special and very beautiful’ small batches. The industrial aspect extend the human min and behaviour. We see that the machines are being used to make new and beautiful things to be discovered. It is special and exciting.”

Lidewij Edelkoort’s Labour of Love: Rethinking work and clothing

The revaluation of work goes hand in hand with freedom. The freedom to divide your own time, to produce items on your own. At the same time, Edelkoort see that the new ideals of production call for more options. “There is enthusiasm after handcrafts to ‘enlarge’ the hand, and we need machines which can do more. At the same there is new technological developments, such as laser cutting, which we can also use to make a new type of production.” However, manufacturing will be brought home again more often as the declining dollar makes it less attractive to produce overseas.

Edelkoort: “Workwear demands a new aesthetic”

The new focus on work will lead to a renewed focus for workwear. The uniforms, suits and overalls ask for new aesthetics, innovative designs and ingenious textiles. Within this shift, several different trends are highlight by Edelkoort. “Work shoes will become a whole new category. They will have wrinkled details and the colours can be dirty. shabby, washed out and faded. Much attention will also be paired to aprons and gloves. The textiles used will be heavy and see cotton mixed with wool, but will become softer and flexible after numerous washings. The trend forecaster also predicts an ‘absolute return of corduroy.’ Materials will be ribbed or have a coating, as long as it looks ‘somewhat dirty.’ Edelkoort also refers to the salopette, the wide, three-quarter length pants whose name stems from the French word ‘to make dirty.’ In particular, blue workwear will take an important step forward. “It does not need to be denim, but it will be uni-blue. Fading will become another important element here as different shades of blue come together.”

Lidewij Edelkoort’s Labour of Love: Rethinking work and clothing

The new trend for work wear has different forms. Tv-series such as Downtown Abbey and Victorian influences on the catwalk have lead to a return of the ‘chamber-maid look.’ This is translated through materials such as leather and linen, with emphasis places on handicraft. “Think of chokers, high neck-lines and smocks,” explained the forecaster. In adding there are elements from historical workwear coming back, drawing references from the farmer’s hand and traditional country life, although it will become more complex through a new form of layering with romantic fabrics. “For example, think of a blouse with a corset worn over it and the many motifs that come together.” The outdoor lifestyle will also translate to the love of gardening and its correlating clothing and accessories. In addition to work shoes and gloves Lidewij Edelkoort has spotted a striking amount of aprons. “A man can pretend his is wearing a dress through wearing an apron, which makes it an important item of clothing,” she said. In this way men can express themselves in almost a dandy-like fashion, with corduroy and small floral patterns.

Lidewij Edelkoort’s Labour of Love: Rethinking work and clothing

One trend which has kept Edelkoort particularly busy is knitwear. It should be above all nice and big, and in the future it will be even bigger and oversized. But it must be done in a more creative way then just the average stitching and knitting, thinks the trend forecaster. “Think of 3D needs and felted coats. Blankets will also become an important item, as they are nice and comfy and offer a ‘cozy way of being.’ Of course, the silhouette will change with the ‘big, bigger and biggest’ shapes. “Stop with ‘skinny’! It is not selling any more,” calls Edelkoort. “ Really stop! I keep hearing stories about huge stocks. The public has no interest in buying skinny or slim, as wide-cut trousers have changed the silhouette.”

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