Lab Notes

What’s Trending? Where Fashion Meets Interactive Design

The intersection between fashion trends and web + mobile design

Fashion is found not only in shoes and dresses, but in language, ideas, and how we use things.

So in watching the recent Fashion Week trends emerging, I started noticing fashion correlations with what’s happening in mobile and web design. I’m a nerd for both of these areas, by the way.

Now I don’t pay attention to all fashions that emerge, and I balk at some interactive design trends that surface because they simply don’t appeal to me. But from stripped-down sites and plain white tees, to a conspicuous return to heritage, design and fashion are making waves in the same pools.

Minimalist

Who else is excited about the return to Minimalism? Considering I usually think less is more, I’m happy that this style – both in design and fashion – is making a comeback.

Apple’s new iOS 7 is a great example of the return to simplicity. The older systems have beveling and embossing in the buttons, creating a lifelike feeling of dimension. The new interface’s icons are flat, creating stark contrasts that appear one-dimensional. You’ll find the same trend in websites, with lots of white space, flat imagery and clean lines. Think Google. When you land on these web pages your eyes know exactly where to look first.

This pared-down, minimalistic look is making a comeback in fashion as well. I’m seeing a lot of blues spanning from navy to midnight to denim. Speaking of, denim pants and shirts are a mainstay. Simply classics.

Plain white tees layered under darker hues of charcoal, black or navy is popping up everywhere. Color on color – black on black, for example – is something I’m seeing more of.

Heritage

designandfashion_heritage

A lot of branding is harking back to its heritage. The throwaway society ($20 jeans at H&M anyone?) is dissipating while the durable classics are making a return to peoples’ wardrobes.

Men’s work wear, like chambray shirts, leather goods and denims. Skilled craftsmanship and artisanal pieces are becoming more common items, even if pricey.

Midwestern men have pretty much always been inspired by what our dads and grandfathers wore. Flannel has always been hipster chic, but it’s returning to the rest of society, too.

What’s particularly great about the return of heritage style is that if you like to experiment, you can always return to your statement pieces while adding in components from current fads. This keeps you up on trends while staying classic. You can throw on your pair of Red Wing boots (another statement piece that’ll never die) and pair them with seasonal bits, like a scarf, and you’ll have yourself a stylish ensemble.

The return to antiquity isn’t just in fashion, however. Take a look at design sites and you’ll see a definite return to classic labeling, emulations of wax seals and handwritten typography. Not unlike the pared-down fashion trends I discussed earlier, you’ll see a big return to simple colors – blues, charcoals, whites and blacks.

Stay True to You, Stay True to Users

Whether talking design or fashion, it’s important to root ourselves in fundamentals. You can always mix and match with bits and pieces of trends, but when you’ve got a good foundation, you’ll never stray too far from what you know works. In interactive design, that means making the user feel comfortable and confident with what they need to do. In fashion, same thing.

Creative lead Adam Ramerth is hyper-focused on superior user experience and interface design. Completely zen in his approach. Adam greets every UX/IA challenge with a "Namaste," kinetically pushing boundaries and asking a heckuvalotta of questions that make us all go, “Hmmm.” Natural habitat: out and about in our great city, or simply enjoying his back yard.