Trend Settings SS18

Exchange SS18 Magazine Out Now
April 23, 2018
Viva Mexico City
April 27, 2018

Trend Settings – Spring/Summer 18

Every new season brings with it another clutch of trends, colours and looks seemingly every week. If you’re struggling to separate the fads from fabulous our regular style commentator, Nottingham designer Susi Henson, offers a few helpful pointers in this edition’s Trend Settings.

Susi Henson – photo by Marcus Holdsworth Photography

The trends for the coming season offer a riot of glorious colour as well as an explosion of nostalgia with key influences coming from the eighties and nineties.

There’s so much going in fashion this season that you need not rely on the weather to bring out the sunshine – all you will have to do is open the doors to your wardrobe and allow a kaleidoscope of colours to spill out like a box of crayons. That being said, with the snowy start to Spring keep a pair of snow boots and a snuggly jumper to hand in your wardrobe just in case. If you want to refer to any of the catwalk looks this season, take a look at Versace’s Spring Collection which was designed as a tribute to the late Gianni Versace, who dies 20 years ago this year, and quite possibly includes every trend going!

The looks for Spring / Summer 2018 are as fluid and changeable as the weather. For every trend there is an opposing one – so literally something for everyone. If any season is the one to have fun and get creative with your wardrobe, this is it. The colour palettes are so varied you may as well take your pick from a Pantone book! The Eighties is still a huge influence and if colour is your thing you’ll find a huge array of stunning pieces on the High Street. Make a statement with bright jewel colours such as cobalt blue, canary yellow, emerald green and pillar box red, or pretty your wardrobe up with a myriad of pastel shades. Take your pick of decade too from Eighties structured power dressing to Nineties unstructured and deconstructed looks. This is a season of opposites; for every bright colour there is a softer version; for every stiletto heel, a pair of comfortable chunky trainers; for every bum bag (yes you heard that right!) there is an oversized Tote. In a nutshell, this season have fun and don’t take your fashion too seriously – it’s a great time to play ‘dress up’ and get away with it.

Here are some of the key looks for the season ahead…

Great Eighties

The Eighties have been a big trend for the last couple of seasons and the look is still going strong. If you need a power dressing 101 then fire up some classic Dynasty on You Tube to get bang up to date.

Big shoulders are a key ingredient in 80’s power dressing; padded shoulders in jackets, big puff sleeves on shirts and dresses and large bellowing sleeves are a good way to start, as are boxy tailored jackets and trouser suits. Think of an inverted triangle as your silhouette and you have it right. Whilst the shoulders are big, the waist is wasp like and legs are long. High waisted trousers and skirts with wide belts to nip the waist in. Pencil skirts are also back and always a flattering look for workwear. Team with a pair of stilettos and red lipstick and your look is complete.

Bold colour blocking is a big trend still, with a spectrum of rainbow colours to complete the look. Bold and bright reds, yellow, green, orange, purple and blue are in all of the shops and if nothing else, whilst there’s so much colour on the high street, it’s a perfect time to stock up on items in your favourite colour. Karen Millen and Warehouse have a great selection of pieces to follow this trend and some of these fabulous colours have caught the eye of Jack Wolfskin, who have a stunning selection of jackets for both men’s and womenswear in these bright colours.

Pretty Pastels

The Eighties trend carries on with a thoroughly beautiful palette of pastels. If primary colours aren’t your thing, then update your wardrobe with a selection of pieces in ice cream shades of lilac, soft pink, powder blue, mint green, peach and lemon yellow. These delicate sugared almond shades can be found for lightweight summer jackets, floral dresses, denim wear, lingerie and footwear. If a pastel twinset and pearls isn’t for you there are plenty of options for more edgier pieces, such as Karen Millen’s pastel leather biker jackets and a scrumptious selection of boots and shoes at Dr Martens. Radley also have a new range of bags and accessories that capture this trend perfectly.

Double Denim

No wardrobe is complete without a pair of denim jeans and this season denim is set to be huge. Although you can find your jeans in an array of colours it’s the traditional indigo denim that’s hot for Spring – and there’s a fabulous selection in the stores that are bang on trend, including some gorgeous dresses, pencil skirts, jackets and lightweight tops.

The Trench Coat

The trench coat is another seasonal favourite, with the High Street reinventing Burberry’s classic version for years. This year, with colour being such a huge trend, take the opportunity to pick up a trench coat in a bright colour or pastel. The trench is the perfect coat for the Spring; lightweight but smart and looks great for both work and casual wear. Find this season’s take on the trench coat in Jack Wolfskin and Karen Millen.

Go to Print

The nineties trend carries over from last season, which means floral print dresses are everywhere and you can dress them down with a pair of comfortable chunky trainers or boots. The print looks this year are to be worn in a comfortable and relaxed way whether you opt for bold or ditzy prints. It’s not just floral tea dresses that are big this season, other print trends include checks and tartans, beach and tropical prints, spots and stripes. Wear print with print or mix it up with denim or bright blocked colours. Tutu have a great selection of printed pieces in store.

Wet Look

The catwalk shows brought us the wet look to the extreme with lots of transparent plastic pieces. Fortunately, the high street is more forgiving and the wet look in stores is a little more wearable. From some very convincing faux leather pieces, such as pencil skirts and biker jackets, to real soft leather pieces and brightly coloured plastic rain macs, there’s something for everyone. Karen Millen have some luxurious leather skirts and jackets, and you’ll find a range of leather accessories at Tutu and Radley, with Dr Martens featuring a fabulous collection of reflective metallic leather footwear and accessories. Look out also for coated jeans for a more subtle take on this trend.


Accessories this season are bold and over-sized. If adding lots of colour to your wardrobe isn’t your thing you can add bright pops of colour by accessorising. Jewellery is big with large brightly coloured statement pieces, such as a large necklace, chunky bangles or big earrings. Don’t wear them all together though and remember – the bigger and bolder the better.

Bags are oversized, with the Tote a very popular style again this season. Waists are nipped in and belted with wide waist belts which look great with a pencil skirt or floral dress. Shoes and sandals are flat, chunky and super comfortable and bang on with the nineties trend. Dr Martens and Tutu have some great chunky trainer-inspired shoes in store. On the flipside, stilettos are also back in fashion and timely for the big eighties influence, with Karen Millen SS18 Collections featuring some classic styles that transcend seasonal trends.


The silhouette for menswear this season is loose and unstructured and many of the above trends also play a big part in key looks for the male wardrobe. Indigo denim is big news which also translates into shirts, jackets and footwear. Vertical stripes and checks are major print looks across menswear, as are beach and botanical prints.

Tonal colour blocking is the way to wear colour this season, whether this be neutrals or pastels, and add a pop of colour with a funky t-shirt or brightly coloured jacket. Technical jackets are also huge this season, so look no further than Jack Wolfskin who have a new collection of jackets made from recycled plastics, available in a great selection of colours.