July — September 2021
This summer quarter brings trends reflective of the American old west, nature and the outdoors, and old school nostalgia.
I have researched and tapped into several sources with top design experts — in fashion, printed goods, color and more — who disclose what they see as the up-and-coming trends. Some trends we see may continue for many months or even years, some may be new and barely detected, and some will be identified as past their peak and on their way to being obsolete.
Here are my top picks for what’s trending in Q3 of 2021!
Familiar to both streetwear and skate culture, the Americana story is continuing to inspire us. These western themes are surfacing cowhide prints, southwestern scenes and decorative patterns. Take inspiration from traditional American blankets, tapestry and Navajo designs.
Once a grunge print rooting from ’90s skate culture, checkerboards we’re seeing in this season are getting a makeover. To make new, experiment with scale, distortion and added elements within and replace the original black and white with pop pastel palettes.
Joshua Tree & Desert
This topic features desert landscapes, travel, and earth tones inspired by Joshua Tree National Park, CA. The iconic, bristled trees alongside rock formations and camping bring desert, nomadic vibes. Use dusty earth tones and vegetal greens to match the hot and dry landscape.
Totems & Global Arts
A growing appreciation of ancient wisdom and influence in past traditions is surfacing. Focus on totems, ancient masks, cultural patterns and global arts and crafts as key icons for this story. For inspiration, reference past artifacts, patterns, block prints, and batik techniques and implement in an imperfect and handcrafted look.
Ongoing Trends: Yin Yang, Retro/Nostalgia, and Positive Expressions
All seen picking up in the last year, these 3 themes continue to remain strong this season.
Rooted in Chinese culture, promoting balance and mental & health wellness, the yin yang symbol is being seen in both placement graphics as well as patterns. In efforts to bring reassurance to chaotic times, nostalgic and retro themes from the 80s, 90s and 00s are influencing anything from smileys, butterflies, colorblocking, Care Bears and more. Also in response to pandemic times, the need to spread optimism, positivity and joy is driving bright and confident expressions and colors.
Use dusty earth tones and vegetal greens to reflect the desert landscape complete with Americana vibes.
An appeal for simplistic and minimalistic lifestyle is impacting design and color choices today. For a rustic feel inspired by nature, use sun-baked clay hues and earthy tones. Consider lifting this palette with a soft blue.
Ongoing Color Trend: Power Pastels
Reported early last year, the power pastels palette remain popular and is perfect for a beachy, summer aesthetic also nostalgic with a 1990’s mood. This palette rides the line between soft pastels and mid-tone brights. With lavender leading as a key color for 2021–2022, pair with sweet pink, butter yellow and soft blues.