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Tuesday 16th October 2018


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Corporate Clothing Fashion Forecast 2011
Feature: 11/10/2010


FABRIC: Introducing adventurous knitwear

Knits are high on the agenda next year, driven by inspiration from this summer’s designer collections. Soft suiting and layering were all over the catwalks and we intend to introduce a lot of classic, stylish knitwear in our new ranges going forward.

At Incorporatewear, we are taking this a step further. We are combining knits with another big trend in fashion, bold prints, and offering our customers printed knits. This is a very adventurous move in the corporate clothing industry.

In menswear we are getting much more adventurous with fabrication. We are planning to introduce hi-sheen fabrics with styling trimmed down to a neater silhouette.

There was plenty of lace, faux fur and velvet gracing the fashion weeks for winter 2011. Although fur and lace may not hit the work wardrobe any time soon, I think velvet is a possibility. Dolce and Gabbana showcased rich velvet at fashion shows around the world for winter 2011, mixing elegant 50’s style dresses, mini polka dots and fitted jackets. I certainly wouldn’t rule out seeing velvet in some specialised corporate wardrobes next year.

Some of our customers are more adventurous than others when it comes to fabrics, and there is more scope for adventure in some work places than others. We are currently working on a very upmarket look for the Club House, Virgin Atlantic’s first class lounge. Although the project is under wraps for the moment, I can reveal that we are using top quality luxury fabrics with no expense spared when it comes to getting the look perfect.

Concern for the environment has lead to the development of more eco friendly fabrics. We have sourced fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles, hemp, corn, milk and even seaweed.

Although it is early days for eco friendly fabrics in corporate clothing, Incorporatewear already supplies a fleece made from recycled plastic bottles to the national bus company Stagecoach, and we are always looking at new ”green” textiles and garment innovations. Our designers have created a library of everything from recycled sportswear and suiting to buttons and linings. Eco friendly fabrics can be more expensive, but we can now offer our customers a complete wardrobe from recycled materials.

Another growing trend in corporate clothing is the use of technical fabrics. Incorporatewear’s clothing has been revolutionised by nanotechnology. Nano-Tex allows clothing to become stain resistant without changing how clothes feel. Spilt liquids like wine, juice, coffee and salad dressing bead up and roll straight off the garment. It offers minimal creasing in tailored suiting.

Incorporatewear has created an exclusive “bionic” suit based on this technical fabric, which we expect to continue to gain in popularity next year. It offers a smart tailored look, it’s lightweight, stain resistant and offers great crease recovery. Fabrics that can create a price advantage through long life will be more attractive as organisations continue to fight the economic challenges next year.

COLOUR: Add a flash to subdued palettes

In menswear, subdued colours will be the order of 2011 on the high streets but, of course, for most men and women wearing corporate clothing, the colours of their wardrobe will continue to be dictated by the corporate palette that changes far less frequently than high street fashion colour trends.


Navy, grey and black are the most dominant colours used in tailoring in the corporate environment. These colours are chosen for their practicality and versatility. However, highlight colours chosen from the brand palette can lift the whole wardrobe to a higher platform. A flash of colour from a jacket lining can add a new dimension to the boring old navy suit.


STYLE: Bespoke collections provide inspiration

There is no shortage of essential fashion looks to provide inspiration for the corporate sector in the forthcoming bespoke collections.

Prada’s summer collection boasted bright orange, green and purple jumped to life against a stark backdrop. Colour-block stripes provided the base colours to v-neck dresses, swing jackets with dropped, rounded shoulders and either straight pencil skirts or those with a flamenco kick hem.

Emporio Armani created a sportier, more dressed-down silhouette for spring summer 2011. The byword for classic elegance, Armani relaxed his silhouette by adding transparent jersey pencil skirts and leggings under blousons and bandeau tops. Racer-backs were added to shift dresses, nylon was used on shirts and bright yellow ankle length trousers. One key look that could work for our customers were the fitted blazers - some cropped, some with tails, all with sculpted shoulders - city shorts for the more adventurous!

Double breasted, belted jackets and details like exaggerated shoulders and lapel shawl collars worn with calf length tapered pencil skirts are a significant trend, and some of these could certainly find their way into more corporate wardrobes in the next year or two.

Swinging Sixties-inspired fashion is making a return on the high street. These pieces emphasize curves and promote femininity. Think A-line skirts, cinched in waists, fitted short cardigans – a return to prim and proper elegance.

We will be welcoming the return of fuller figures and longer hemlines. Marc Jacobs’ latest collection for Louis Vuitton killed off the cult of the super-skinny teenager in a micro-mini as a barometer of 21st century style. His collection of corsets and halter-neck-dresses emphasised the voluptuous curves of real women.

Not a skirt showed a hint of knee; all were full, graceful and down to mid-calf or the floor, accessorized with elbow-length glove, bow-trimmed shoes with crystal-stack heels, and the new, neat "Speedy" handbag. This could make the transition from catwalk to corporate wear quite easily. It’s comfortable, smart and most importantly, practical.


Celebrities continue to influence corporate wear design. As a result of Victoria Beckham’s latest collections, calf length tube pencil skirts are becoming very popular in the work place. We’re seeing many wearers demanding 1960s shift dresses, but these straight dresses are tricky to fit, as the wearer needs to be a perfectly balanced overall size.

Menswear will be taking a huge step back through time - to the 19th century and the “Gangs of New York” era. Victorian references are apparent in tailoring with three-piece suits back in the shops. The 1960s is apparent here, too, with mod silhouettes part of the plain and simple creed. Expect to see v-neck shirts, relaxed straight trousers and single buttoned coats and jackets.

The key pieces that will most definitely be appearing in corporate wardrobes in 2011 will be hi-sheen tailoring, sculpted shoulder lines, ditsy prints and knits, pussycat bow blouses and fitted waistcoats.



Author: Catherine Christie
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