Last year technology bloomed. Things like Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) emerged and took the world by storm. Each year trends in web design were defined by technological advancements, and this year will be no exception. With faster internet speeds and devices that pack a more powerful punch, what we know to be possible is being redefined each day. Our main focus here will be fashion websites, but most of these trends will be dominant in other industries as well. The fashion industry has been very swift in jumping on the opportunity of using new technologies in retail, and they won’t stop there. They’ll continue pushing on into the online world. However, we’ll be seeing some of the more down-to-earth, traditional trends as well. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty, shall we?
Pictures, pictures, pictures!
Might as well start with a trend that has been the hallmark of fashion website design — high quality images. Most fashion websites out there use picture and video to show off their goodies. This trend isn’t going anywhere any time soon. We believe that it will stay as relevant this year, if not more. We mentioned earlier faster internet speeds, and more powerful devices, but compression has gotten better, as well as programming languages themselves — so the quality has been going up. Depending on which other trends brands decide to follow we’ll be seeing full page, half-page, quarter-page (you name the increment) images, sliders, all sorts really. Maybe even some gifs and short animations running in the background. These websites usually have a slim navigation menu at the top, or in a corner somewhere. Video is also becoming more prominent, basically for the same reasons. Besides, it’s nice getting an inside look at a photoshoot or at your favorite model sporting just the outfit you’ve been looking for.
All the colors of the rainbow, or just two?
We’re really excited to see which way brands will sway this year. So far the bigger, more established, names have mostly gone with black-and-white. The safe, elegant, option. However, a more vibrant trend has started to emerge. Some designers are describing it as an “80’s inspired” color palette. This has been reserved for the more adventurous of brands, but it’s likely to spread. Of course, titans such as Gucci or Versace aren’t likely to make such a bold move, but you never know. As there are more and more companies on the market, uniqueness is becoming harder to come by. We believe that many brands will turn their attention towards this vibrant, and playful, expression through color. Maybe even do a bit of cross-breeding, bringing the two styles together. Our eyes are in for a treat no matter which direction becomes dominant.
Doodles and sketches
Now this is an upcoming trend we’re really excited about. It just gives websites such warmth and personality. Custom illustrations won’t by any means replace pictures of clothes and accessories, but they can certainly add to a brand’s image. Nice illustrated logos, custom icons for navigation, or just sketches next to clothing items showing the idea behind them. The possibilities are literally endless. Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) made it easy to implement custom illustrations and icon fonts, so that’s not a worry. This too will probably be more in the ballpark of “indie” brands, but depending on how well received it ends up being, larger names might start picking it up.
Our favorite example of this style: @meandoli
Say no to clutter
Flat design made a huge appearance in 2015, and it’s not going away any time soon. Since most fashion websites put focus on their products with images, for them flat design is a match made in heaven. With no clutter on the page, information wise, it’s going to be easy for audiences to focus on what’s important — the fashion. This design is good for big and small brands alike. If you combine it with a couple others we mentioned (black & white color, pictures) you can achieve a high level of elegance. If a brand has the mentality of “less is more” flat design is definitely the way to go. This is one of those trends that’s not exclusive to the fashion industry, and we’ll definitely be seeing more of it across the board.
Interaction is the way to go
Wow, where to begin? We mentioned briefly how new technologies are going to play a massive role in fashion website design, and this trend is where it’s at. From integrating social network functions, to making custom tools that use AR, the possibilities are just mind boggling. But not just that, simple functions that give users more control are really going to improve the user experience — something the fashion industry isn’t exactly famous for. So it’s not just about keeping up with the times, it’s also about telling a story. Visitors will be able to “try on” accessories by turning on their webcams, share that on social media, or watch their favorite model from every angle sporting the latest creation from a beloved brand. Some retailers have already implemented body sized scanners in their stores that allow customers to try on items without ever needing to go to the changing rooms. It’s only a matter of time before this gets to the folks that prefer ordering online.
Buying wherever, whenever
This particular trend has been around for a while, and it’s going to be here for a while longer. There are some brand that are resisting this change, but less and less as time goes by. Being present online, and not just for show-and-tell is essential nowadays. Luxury brands aren’t going to be an exception, they just might have to work a little bit harder on their shops. Mostly because many people no longer have the time to spend hours going from store to store just to buy one item. We shop from our desktops, laptops, phones, you name it. That’s why we think even those that have been resisting so far are going to cave this year, or soon after.
This particular trend is perfect for a sign off. In recent years, longer even, we’ve seen a surge in brand storytelling. That’s because they’ve realized that people have come to expect more than just a good product, they want a way of life. And if you think fashion, you are likely to think of a way of life. What makes this trend special, is that it uses all the others we mentioned to make a story exceptional. Keep an eye on your favorite websites this year, they are sure to break out some breathtaking stuff.
If you take a closer look at all the trends we picked out you’ll see that they can all work together in one way or the other, and we just find it so exciting. There’s no way that variety and uniqueness in design are not going to go completely bonkers. Write to us and let us know if you think there’s a trend worth mentioning, or just to tell us which of these is your favorite one. We’re looking forward to it.