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Rewriting the rules with a rebellious pen: These are the denim trends for AW25/26

By Sylvana Lijbaart


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(From left) Acne Studios, AW24; Sacai, SS24; Loewe, AW24. Credits: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

Denim fair Kingpins is not just about denim shopping and networking. Every edition, visitors can also attend the Denim Dudes trend presentation by Amy Leverton and Shannon Reddy. The seminar room on the first floor of the exhibition venue SugarCity in Halfweg, the Netherlands, fills up half an hour before the trend presentation, with interested parties even looking for standing room on the side. Evidently, everyone is hungry for a sneak peak of the denim trends for AW25/26.

Leverton and Reddy tell their trend report through four stories: with Generation Z entering the business world, political statements being made, a yearning for 2014 and individual style becoming more important than ever. The common thread of the four stories reads: We shouldn't ask ourselves when things will be okay, but how we navigate our way into the new normal without getting burnt out. In short, we are going to reform the rules.

Avant activist

Stamm, AW24 Ready to Wear. Credits: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

In 'Avant Activist', Generation Z rewrites the rules. The generation of young adults, now aged between 12 and 26, enters the field of work and explores "the death of the old world and a new beginning". In this story, rose-coloured glasses are taken off and give way to feelings of instability, disillusionment and frustration. Rewriting the rules ushers in a new chapter in fashion history, focusing on eclectic designs, self-expression, meaningful items and the conscious sharing of stories with a rebellious edge.

Leverton and Reddy cite the retirement of Dries van Noten in this story. The Belgian fashion designer announced during his departure from his eponymous fashion label that it was time to "give space to a new generation of talent to bring their vision to the brand".

'Avant Activist' builds on the 'Resurgence' trend from the SS25 trend presentation, with Generation Z already redefining 'design' by delving into the archives of brands such as Sean John and Karl Kani. The rule now is: let your self-expression speak for itself. In denim, that means playing with proportions, but also making room for experimentation in terms of craftsmanship, details and creative twists. Fashion brands no longer serve as role models. One brand that already highlights this trend well is the Danish label Stamm.

Reframed archives

(From left) Dries Van Noten, AW24 Ready to Wear. Image 3: Tommy Hilfiger, AW24 Ready to Wear. Credits: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

This story ties in with 'Low-Key' flex from the SS25 season where people were still trying to keep pace with their richer counterparts, but were 'drowning' as a result. It was time to break the endless capitalist cycle.

'Reframed Archives' goes a step further and lets go of all the reins. It talks about an 'anti-trend movement', pitting celebrity fashion, consumerism and instant pleasure against personality and authenticity. It means fashion history is being reshaped by a rebellious and open-minded generation. People are exploring the world around them.

For clothing codes, this means: garments should be easily accessible and exude authenticity. Whether it's personal details, brands being reinvented or the jort (jeans short) - boot combination, an outfit should be wearable and comfortable for everyone. Dries van Noten and Tommy Hilfiger already showed this in their latest AW shows.

Terminally online

Acne Studios, AW24 Menswear. Credits: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

For 'Terminally_Online', as expected, we step into the digital world. Online, trends are set faster and more powerfully than on the catwalk. And while the trend cycle seems to be accelerating, various fashion trends from history are being repeated. The result: a movement adopting an 'anything goes' mentality when it comes to personal style and everyday wear. This should include bold and extreme aesthetics.

In fashion terms, this refers to futuristic looks with a nostalgic edge. Thus, in AW25, mid 00s jeans make a return, 'swag' becomes a main topic by combining graphic shirts and skinny jeans, and curved seams are also typical of this trend story. FashionUnited dives into Acne Studios' archives to illustrate this trend.

New normal

Sacai, SS24 Ready to Wear. Credits: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

How long does it actually take to create a fashion show or garment? It is a question that people are increasingly asking. Quality is chosen more often than quantity and young designers are noticing this all too well. They are attracting attention by putting their creativity at number one, thereby informing the old hands in the business to improve their basic designs to connect with consumers.

So creativity comes first. In 'New Normal', that means deconstructing pieces, adding playful volume and occasionally sculpting garments. For this trend story, fluffy details and layers are also a characteristic. Sacai and Diesel already have a clear grasp of this trend.

Diesel, AW24 Ready to Wear. Credits: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.NL. Translation and edit by: Rachel Douglass.

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