"2025... I don't know what's going,” was the disarming introduction to a trend seminar that proved that while trend researcher David Shah may not know exactly what's going on at the moment, he does have valuable insights into the future of swimwear and underwear for spring/summer 2025.
In a nearly two-hour long trend seminar at Mare Di Moda, a stretch fabric trade show in Cannes, Shah presented his predictions for the swimwear of the future, taking into account social parameters, pop culture, various design elements and catwalk trends - all with a huge dash of humour, wit and self-deprecation. FashionUnited has summarised the five overarching themes chosen by the trend expert for spring/summer 2025 and their underlying inspirations for you.
Exuberant: the exuberant world of swimwear
"Swimwear is no longer for swimming" – with these seemingly contradictory words, Shah introduces the first trend topic of the presentation. The theme is called Exuberant and the exuberant name also says it all visually, as the swimwear that it is paired with is designed for parties, festivals, cocktails and the pool, according to the expert. The first and most complicated trend for SS25, as Shah calls it, is glamorous, sexy and characterised above all by fabrics that are unexpected for swimwear – extravagant design elements and fluorescent, loud hues, which the expert describes as "shape-shifting hyper-colours".
The "wonderfully escapist and optimistic” tones are used in pieces with transparent layers, ruffles, flounces and appliqués to achieve the look of "airs and graces", says Shah. Sequins, lurex and a touch of couture are also a must, as this trend is all about recalling a past, more glamorous time and emphasising it in a new hyper-reality. "It can be hard, but you have to be open to a bit of glamour and glitz, even in these difficult times - especially when it comes to accessories."
Conscious: swimwear is brought to the fore
While cheerful, hyper-realistic, bright colours were previously the focus, the Conscious trend centres around a muted colour palette that adapts to the availability of resources. The trend picks up on the industry's current focus on sustainability and transforms it into colours and textures.
Upcycling and recycling is nowhere near as widespread in the swimwear sector as it is in other parts of the clothing industry, but washed-out délavé and threadbare effects have now arrived in swimwear, as have off-cut effects that were previously mostly the preserve of the denim industry. Of course, these are trends that are most likely to be realised in small production facilities and studios rather than large productions, but it says a lot about the underlying sense of nostalgia and desire for handmade, says Shah.
At Ease: Serenity meets romance and denim
According to Shah, people are currently looking for three things above all: comfort, serenity and romance - and the "At Ease" trend fulfils all three needs. The soft and neutral colour palette with its beige, grey, taupe and baby blue tones offers a sense of protection, comfort and self-empowerment, but what exactly is a bold red doing amidst these colours? Well, firstly because Shah wants a pop, as he joked during his presentation, but more importantly because romance is back in business. The red, as well as small but subtle details such as unexpected cut-outs, subtle embellishments and form following function, make what at first glance appears to be a minimalist trend into something special. "This trend is all about the subtle things, like a bit of frills and detailing in places you wouldn't expect, and all the lace-ups that are a bit longer. It's about basics with a twist and inclusion, but with a technical component."
This is also helped by a denim look, hence the blue in the palette, as denim could also play a role in swimwear for spring/summer 2025, according to Shah. "There's no escaping denim, so I'm not saying you use denim fabrics, but the whole concept of denim jersey, denim knit, indigo, all these things are becoming very, very important," explains the expert.
Magical: between nature and provocation
Although moss may not initially seem like the most fashionable of all natural phenomena, the green plant is one of the biggest inspirations behind Shah's fourth trend called Magical. "Everyone loves moss. And if you don't collect moss, you become spiritual," says the trend researcher, who uses these words to lay the foundations for this trend and its nature-inspired colour palette. The colours are reminiscent of the diversity of a forest floor, from shades of brown to khaki and green to dark purple, while materials often come from regenerative fibres such as mycelium, hemp and raffia.
This nature-inspired palette is mixed with a pinch of Gothic, shamanism and fetishism. Particular emphasis is placed on the use of lace, often in the form of layering, chiffon and a homage to Vivienne Westwood's so-called mini-crinis. Flowers and colours are also not used as such, but are reminiscent of a ghost of themselves, slightly faded or “bleeding” or "leaking".
Transformed: 90s energy meets AI
No trend seminar these days would be complete without a focus on technology and artificial intelligence (AI). Shah's fifth and final trend, Transformed, is a colourful and increasingly digital trend, reminiscent of 90s raves, because "the product can be boring, but if you present it in an AI-generative way, then it becomes sexy," says the expert. In terms of colour, this palette is reminiscent of a digital glitch in the system. They are youthful, diffused and sophisticated, but above all playful - in the truest sense of the word, as the world of gaming plays a key role in this trend.
"It's cheerful, it's playful, it's exciting, it's individual, it's really AI-generated, it's 3D-printed," Shah introduces the fifth trend, presenting bright, rubbery and eccentric fabrics that could be reimagined and repurposed for swimwear. For once, more is more, with inspirations derived from manga, cartoons, wild fantasies and the street style of Tokyo's Harajuku style.
"I know it looks crazy, but you have to realise that this is something that consumers, and especially young consumers, want," says Shah as he introduces the diverse and colourful sea of colours and textures, before ending his presentation with a smiley decorated swimming costume for children and the words "Let's go back to the old days of smiley faces" and a big smile.
FashionUnited was invited to visit Mare Di Moda in Cannes.