Commercially relevant runway trends for Spring/Summer 2020 retail

As buyers and merchandisers prepare to look ahead to what the consumer will want for Spring, Stylus delivered its key call outs from the global catwalks during its Decoded Futures event in NYC. Here is what their forecasters have identified as the most commercially relevant trends for SS 2020.

Commercially relevant runway trends for Spring/Summer 2020 retail

Images: Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors SS20, via Catwalkpictures


Head-to-toe white will dominate especially in crisp poplins and linens but pretty pastels––lavendar, cornflower, mint, citrine––will be present for easy separates and even suiting. All the way on the other end of the spectrum, colors have been ramped right up so tangy oranges, saturated greens and teals, and neon brights will offer the head-to-toe option for the bolder consumer.

Commercially relevant runway trends for Spring/Summer 2020 retail

Images: Courreges and Ottolinger SS20, via Catwalkpictures


Denim remains a high end influence whether slashed and patched or frayed and frilled, but it for a more dressed-up option than previously as seen on super-feminine designer Molly Goddard’s runway. Casual jean separates are overdyed to participate in the pastel trend. Gingham for suiting, patchwork for dresses, and crochet for everything, will be popular. Raffia moves from accessories to apparel, and head-to-toe lace is infused with the season’s boldest colors. Satin and taffeta are also perfect vehicles for the high hues, while decorative brocades and jacquards offer opulence primarily in suiting. Lush draped jersey returns to dresses and pastel leather is appealing.

Commercially relevant runway trends for Spring/Summer 2020 retail

Images: Fendi and Louis Vuitton SS20, via Catwalkpictures


Daisy chain and micro florals are set to remain but large diffused florals offer the antidote to the demure especially in three-piece suits, trench coats and muumuus. Tiered ankle-length dresses patching multiple florals as seen at Anna Sui and Marc Jacobs in New York, while artsy paint stroke prints were scenestealers on European runways along with the retro sixties vibe seen at Louis Vuitton and Paco Rabanne. Paisley, stars, animal, and botanical are other enduring themes for the exhibitionist while for a softer aesthetic ombré returns for hemlines and allover placement.

Commercially relevant runway trends for Spring/Summer 2020 retail

Images: Marc Jacobs and Simone Rocha SS20, via Catwalkpictures

Key Looks

Historical Romance comes in ultra-feminine tulle with delicate embroidery detail or in burnished florals and rich clashing prints. Global Traveler celebrates ethnic craftsmanship from around the globe in multi-layered silhouettes. New Minimalist marries transparency, pastel layers and precise cutting.

Commercially relevant runway trends for Spring/Summer 2020 retail

Images: Burberry and JW Anderson SS20, via Catwalkpictures

Key Items

The updated trench coat will be significant, the statement raincoat and biker jacket incorporating the bold fabric and color options of the season, while the safari, tuxedo and cropped models are also jacket options. Patterned pantsuits, pajama sets and short suits are natural vehicles for all the surface interest on display. After-dark glamour returns in the all-in-one jumpsuit often one-shouldered, patterned or in satin, while its daytime counterpart exists in denim or utility-influenced material. Gathered hem trousers and paper bag waist pants provide interest along with a wide-leg option. Full 50s style midi skirts contrast with mini-crinnies, often adorned with an assortment of bubble hems, ruffles. 80s style ruching enlivens jersey knits, the little black dress emerges with more artsy detailing. and we’ll end where we began with a white bookend: the white shirt.

Fashion editor Jackie Mallon is also an educator and author of Silk for the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry.

Main photo from left to right: Comme des Garçons, Dolce & Gabbana, Christopher Kane, and Dries Van Noten, SS20, Catwalkpictures