As fashion editors, we’re always looking forward—we’re scouring collections to anticipate next year’s biggest trends or scrolling through Instagram to find the next It bag, It brand, or influencer of the moment. It’s rare to reflect in fashion, but luckily for us, we here at Who What Wear have one annual tradition that allows us a chance to go down Nostalgia Lane: The It List. Formerly known as our Street Style Awards, The It List is our version of Spotify Wrapped, but for fashion.
How did it go down exactly? We had compiled the trends, brands, and pieces that dominated the runways and our social feeds and then had our team of editors vote for the best of the best. Once we came to an agreement, we had a panel of critics weigh in on the favorites for each category. The result? Well, you’ll have to see for yourself, but rest assured, if this recap taught us anything, it’s that 2022 fashion will go down in history.
Speaking of critics, let’s meet them. This year, we’re excited to present our four critics, or panel of judges if you will, who each represent a different perspective of the industry: Brie Welch, fashion and wardrobe stylist; Chazz Inniss, fashion social media strategist; and, of course, Kat Collings, our very own editor in chief. Each of them weighed in on the biggest trends, brands, and items as chosen by our team of editors and chatted with us about why they made their mark on fashion this year. From the trend of the year to the rising brand we should all have on our radars, it’s officially time to present to you the winners of the 2022 It List. So sit back, relax, and enjoy our official year in review.
“How low can you go?” This is a 2000s-era question that the fashion set has truly pushed the limits of. It felt like celebrities were going back in forth in a street-style matchup to see who could step out in the lowest of rises. Some of the top contenders most notably include Bella Hadid, who popped out of her New York City apartment for coffee on a daily basis wearing something low-rise, to Rihanna, who wasn’t afraid to announce her pregnancy while baring it all.
Panelist Chazz Inniss was quick to remind us of who did it first, “Christina Aguilera, Manny Santos, and Britney Spears brought it to popularity and now it’s popping back up to remind us to embrace our own inner sex appeal.” Meanwhile, Who What Wear editor Kristen Nichols noted that in modern times “Chanel, Valentino, and Christopher Esber also made a case for super-low things on the runways in the form of midriff-baring tweed skirts, sharply tailored trousers, and satin maxi skirts.”
The buzziest items that take over the fashion community usually come with a steep price tag, so you can imagine our surprise when the item in question doesn’t even reach double digits. I’m talking, of course, about the Adidas Sambas. The soccer sneakers have been spotted on the likes of Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Zoë Kravitz, Kaia Gerber, and just about every one of fashion’s coolest insiders. “Everyone loves a good old school sneaker story, and 2022 really belonged to Adidas Samba sneakers,” insists senior editor Allyson Payer. “Once Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber started wearing them on repeat, the rest was history.”
The Samba’s retro appeal is a big part of their popularity. After the rise of throwback sneakers by the likes of New Balance, Nike, and Reebok in recent years, it makes sense that this pair would be next. And between perpetually-sold-out collabs with Wales Bonner and Gucci, the sneakers shot up to the top of every fashion person’s wish list this year. “Sambas are having their moment,” Inniss declares.
Throughout the duration of our careers as fashion editors, we’ve never seen a brand capture every eyeball in the room the way that Miu Miu has with their past few runway shows. Having earned a repost on Instagram from nearly every industry insider, we’ve reached a point where there isn’t a person who hasn’t seen their jaw-dropping collections that poke fun at country club and prep school attire with a modern twist that would guarantee you a uniform infraction.
You know something is good when a Who What Wear editor buys it right off the runway. We may be online shopping 24/7 but we’re extremely picky when it’s time to swipe a card. Our editorial director Lauren Eggersten was quick to commit to a pair of Miu Miu ballet flats, which happen to be runner-up for It Item of the Year. “The second I saw these Miu Miu ballet flats come down the FW22 runway, I knew they would be my next It purchase. In no time, these satin slippers would grace the feet of celebrities and influencers everywhere. They not only surprisingly go with everything, but they make any outfit instantly feel elevated.”
No matter what happened in the world this year, fashion’s cyclical nature is one thing we could always rely on. From platform shoes to low-rise everything, Y2K fashion is nearly inescapable these days with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Its latest accompaniment is none other than the archival finds from Italian designer Roberto Cavalli. The RealReal reports that Millennials searched for vintage Cavalli 195% more this year versus last and 149% more in the case of Gen Z. “Fashion buffs are likely acquainted with the rise (and fall) of the historic Tuscan fashion house,” recounts editor Jasmine Fox-Suliaman. “But like a Phoenix from the ashes, we’ve seen the brand reemerge to it’s former heights, thanks to the creative vision of Fausto Puglisi.”
Whether or not many of us were emotionally ready for it, the early 2000s came roaring back into the fashion spotlight, and there’s no better way to pull it off than to reach into the archives for the pieces that were the most iconic of the era. Enter Cavalli, whose larger-than-life animal prints were staples on red carpets in the early aughts. Who could forget the zebra-printed dress that Aaliyah wore to the MTV Music Video Awards in 2000? Or when model Paloma Elsesser recreated the look this year in the same dress from the fall/winter 2000 runway? “This whole list is my high-school self realized 20 years later,” Welch reminisces. “Anything Aaliyah wore, I support to this day. I just purchased a vintage Cavalli top last week from The RealReal.”
Perhaps our fascination with the Cavalli designs of the early aughts is because they’ve been “out” for long enough to come back again, or maybe it’s because they serve as the antidote to the austere minimalism that’s reigned supreme in recent years. Inniss argues the latter, noting that “it makes for a big contrast to the minimalistic ennui we’ve been facing the past few years.”
Inniss said it best, “I love that everyone can have their very own Bratz doll moment.” If you dreamed of being a real-life Barbie when you were growing up, the wait is over. Fulfill your fantasies with the shoe trend that we’re calling the style of the year. We love wearing high heels but the act in itself is even more fun when you can actually walk in them. Buying into the platform trend has made that dream of ours a reality.
This shoe trend also has historic roots with Welch calling out that, “It’s giving Pamela Anderson in the best way.” Like every other big trend this year, it has its roots in the runway. Fashion editor Copelyn Bengel reminded us that, “Valentino and Versace made the two most iconic pairs and they could be seen finishing off every influencer and celebrity night-out or red carpet look.” You can’t go wrong with finishing off a look with this shoe.
“Five years ago, the idea of Diesel being a headliner during Milan Fashion Week and one of the internet’s most viral brands would have elicited far more disbelieving scoffs than nods of approval,” notes editor Eliza Huber. Indeed, the Italian denim brand seems like a random pick, but after the appointment of Y/Project founder Glenn Martens as creative director, all eyes have been on Diesel and their exciting comeback. “Right out the gate at his first runway show for the brand, Martens debuted a handful of buzzy items, including the now-famous belt miniskirt, which he popularly brought back in new colorways for SS23,” Huber added.
Already no stranger to a bit of controversy, Diesel’s belt-skirt has already been the subject of hot debate on social media but no matter your thoughts onit, there’s no denying that it’s put the brand on the wider fashion map, along with another It item, the brand’s futuristic 1DR bags that launched this fall. “Diesel feels more interesting now with Glenn Martens at the healm. He’s imbuing a bit of creativity and a new, more fashion forward, archetype. It’s very original,” effuses Welch.
Who remembers that night at Carbone that ended up on the cover of Interview Magazine? Yes, we’re talking about the intimate date night between Kanye West and Julia Fox that made her the name on everybody’s lips. Our Editor-In-Chief Kat Collings said it best, “Ms. Fox knows a thing or two about publicity.” Fox moved fast and capitalized on what most expected to be a 15 seconds of fame situation and still manages to have our attention to this day. Of all the Julia Fox discourse online, it’s hands down her signature ultra-low-rise denim ensembles—some of which were quite literally created with a single pair of jeans, scissors, and a dream and inspired an endless stream of Halloween copycats—that are cemented into fashion’s story this year.
At first, most people were iffy about whether or not they wanted to give Fox their full attention but she managed to win over even the biggest haters with her impossible-to-forget style and unfiltered sense of humor. Who What Wear editor Yusra Siddiqui stated that “It’s safe to say I’m now a converted Julia Fox fan.” All of us at Who What Wear look forward to seeing what she does next.
Up Next: Prediction: These 8 Fashion Micro-Trends Will Be Everywhere in 2023