Earthy Tones: Autumn / Winter 2021 Sustainable Trends


An ode to nature: monochromatic browns, beiges and pastel colours were part of the earth tone palette that was a constant on this season's Autumn/Winter runways. After a much too hard year indoors, nature seems to have been the preferred inspiration for many designers. Alberta Ferretti, Victoria Beckham and Chanel all presented earth tones in their collections. In addition, lilac's popularity was perpetuated once again in exquisite garments from Patou and Jil Sander.


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Beiges, browns and stones were placed centre stage this season. Nehara, Y/Project and Auralee all used different tones of the minimal colour palette to create depth and dimension whilst maintaining a sense of nonchalance and ease. Even easier, Litkovskaya dedicated an entire look to a single shade with a warm brown, oversized coat that almost traverses from chin to floor entirely.  



Whilst monochromatic neutrals offer to bring an air of serenity and simplicity, designers including Patou, Preen and Jil Sander are approaching the monochromatic look from an amped-up pastel point of view, with lots of heartier shades of the lilac that we already know and love as well as lots of pink. As Nina Ricci has demonstrated, we think that pairing the two together - your neutrals and your pastels – is going to be big this Autumn / Winter.



Arguably green is the colour that most people would conjure up when you think of the environment. Maybe the presence of so much green, earthy tones is an ode to our collective struggle as a species to preserve green spaces that are being threatened and destroyed by climate change - to which fashion is a vacillatingly large contributor – fashion needs to go green, and it quite literally, is. 




The slow-made-ness of chunky knits and their multi-functional use as a thermal layer to keep warm in the cold months. From  Molly Goddard’s vibrant fair isle knit or Ganni’s pastel pink cardigan and waistcoat, it can even be head-to-toe affair with Loewe's all-knit outfit or Chloè's knit sliders - knit was ubiquitous. 




Through textures and irregular patterns or shades of colour, designers presented garments that were visibly imperfect and raw. Eirrin Hayhow’s psychedelic collection was made using plant waste and salvaged cotton amongst other reclaimed and sustainable materials; and Collina Strada used up-cycled materials from past seasons and recycled fabrics. This trend allows us to celebrate the use of more sustainable methods for making garments, and it promotes up-cycling through techniques like using up food or plant waste by turning it into clothing dye, and the re-working of tired clothing into something new. 



Designers are mimicking nature rather than using it up, this Autumn / Winter. We can see leopard prints from Etro and Dior, cow prints from Eckhaus Latta and a material whose pattern reminds us of enlarged fish scales from Chloè. This kind of inspiration from and mimicry of nature, is central to fashion’s larger movement to forge a more friendly industry that respects the natural habitats and living creatures that we share the Earth with.



Designers are incorporating nature throughout their designs as we have already explored - but taking it one step further, Vivienne Westwood and Dries Van Noten - and they're not the only ones - put plants right in the middle of their looks with bunches, and careful floral arrangements.



In the words of Ru Paul: “We were all born naked”. It doesn’t get any more down to nature than Act N.1’s final look.



+  Words: Niamh Heron, Luxiders Magazine 

BA Journalism and Media Graduate, based in Leeds, UK

Connect with her through Instagram @niamh.heron or LinkedIn