Condolences to Minimalists—These 6 Fall Print Trends Will Reign Supreme


(Image credit: Courtesy of Vivienne Westwood; Courtesy of St. John; Courtesy of Edeline Lee; Courtesy of Retrofête)

If someone were to peek inside your closet, what insights do you think they'd glean? Whether we like it or not, our wardrobes can say a lot about us. Nothing, in my mind, speaks more to someone's personality than what they choose to wear (besides astrology). Our clothes are putting our values on our sleeves. They can display what we put a monetary value on—whether we're investing in designer bags or supporting Black-owned brands—and what matters most to us. Most importantly, they put our whole personality on display.

You can push a few hangers to the side in anyone's closet and immediately tell if someone is pragmatic or enigmatic simply by seeing if their closet is filled with neutrals or colors. You can tell if someone follows trends or likes standing out from the crowd based on the kind of printed clothing they wear. Basically, prints can speak long before we've opened our mouths. They're a powerful tool for self-expression, and no one understands that better than designers. 

While previous seasons may have been all about color trends or extreme hemlines, fall/winter 2022 collections made it clear that prints (in all forms) are back and louder than ever. To prove that point, I've rounded up the six biggest print trends to know about this fall. Whether you're a minimalist or a maximalist to your core, there's a print in here that will speak to your soul. 


(Image credit: Courtesy of Yuhan Wang; Courtesy of Ami; Courtesy of Versace)

As an editor, I always spot one trend at a preview or fashion week and immediately know it will be everywhere. This season, it was houndstooth print. This motif has come in and out of style since it was popularized in the 1930s by Christian Dior. But don't be fooled. Just because this print has a long history doesn't mean it feels dated for fall. I saw designers giving the print fresh takes. 

For fall/winter 2022, the return of this print is all about the details. Raw hems paired with the houndstooth print were spotted in Yuhan Wang's fall collection. Ami's collection focused on sharp tailoring and long hemlines. Valentino took the pattern into the future by creating cutout dresses, miniskirts, and long coats with frayed edges in vibrant hues. The result is a print that is as timeless as it is trendy. 

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Sacai; Courtesy of Versace; Courtesy of Stella McCartney)

Not all prints have to be overly loud. Case in point: pinstripes. While this pattern is more demure than most, it should be noted that it has whispered the story of women and the working class over history. This print was first popularized in the early 19th century as a staple among men working in the banking industry. It wasn't fully seen as unisex until the '80s when offices were filled with men and women donning this print. While the diversity of the workforce has evolved, what's remained the same is the poignancy of this print. 

Sure, you pretty much had to use a magnifying glass to spot this print trend on the fall/winter 2022 runways, but that's the point. This subtle motif was about adding a little edge to traditional tailoring. Just look at the full-length pinstripe outwear in Stella McCartney's fall collection and the suiting separates at Versace. Pinstripes proved once again that they do the work and have earned their rightful place in our fall wardrobes. 

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Etro; Courtesy of Roberto Cavalli; Courtesy of Michael Kors)

Consider this your warning: This fall is about to be wild. Animal prints were huge on the fall/winter 2022 runways, but none ruled over the kingdom like leopard print. Love it or hate it, this motif has always managed to make a roaring comeback every few seasons. In part, that's due to this pattern's long history. It was popularized by Christian Dior in the '50s and has become a symbol of class or dowdy based on where the cultural and fashion zeitgeist stands then. 

Some may wish this motif would go extinct, but fall runways showed us that this print continues to evolve. We saw designers try to balance this print's sultry and classic elements through full-length cutout maxi dresses (see: Etro's fall collection) and crisply tailored outerwear (see: Roberto Cavalli's and Michael Kors's fall collections). These designers made clear that, when done right, leopard can look indeed look luxe. 

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Maryam Nassir Zadeh; Courtesy of Roberto Cavalli; Courtesy of Marine Serre)

Of all the print trends in this story, tartan arguably has the longest-standing history in fashion. Various tartan motifs have been traced back to 17th-century Celtic tribes in Scotland to distinguish between different regions and families. It wasn't until the punk movement in the '70s that we began to see this print take off as a "trend" outside the previous cultural and historical relevance. This woven fabric has always been used as a way to speak (either about your tribe or against the powers that be), and since then, this print's gotten even more vocal. 

You can see how designers and the culture at large's general angst are vocalized through the villain-era aesthetic and, more specifically, the return of grunge on the runway. Considering the rebellious history of this print, it's only natural it reappeared. But unlike the former iterations of this print trend, we saw a total takeover. There was an emphasis on styling this print (which you can see through pops of tartan at Maryam Nassir Zadeh and Vivienne Westwood), and there was also a focus on tailoring (seen through head-to-toe patchwork looks featuring multiple tartan patterns at Roberto Cavalli and Marine Serre). The result is a print trend that's edgier than ever before. 

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Balmain; Courtesy of Akris; Courtesy of Loewe)

Anyone following fashion has probably realized that sultry body-baring pieces are big as of late. That's partly because runway collections of the past few seasons have been filled with cutouts, sheer fabrics, and micro hemlines. And while these trends will continue to be prominent for fall, if you're more modest or generally don't want to freeze once temperatures drop, baring it all isn't exactly practical. Luckily, one print trend can allow you to have your skin in the game without showing it all, and it's body-inspired prints.

Some designers took a more metaphorical approach to the rise of skin-baring pieces by creating motifs inspired by the human form in their fall/winter 2022 collections. You saw this through the thermal-like naked-body prints spotted in Balmain's and Y/Project's collections, but you also saw more impressionist iterations focused on other body parts like the face, hands, and general silhouettes (see the collections of Loewe, Ahluwalia, and Akris). This print trend is making showing off our figures easier this fall. 

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Dsquared2; Courtesy of Ulla Johnson; Imaxtree)

You've made it to the last trend of this story, and if you have not been convinced yet that prints are big for fall, consider this the nail in the coffin. Fall/winter 2022 collections championed every pattern under the sun, but the most significant indication that prints would replace other bold fashion trends was the emergence of what I call "the clash." At brands such as Dsquared2 and Ulla Johnson, we not only saw bold prints pop off on the runway, but there was also a clear focus on styling them all together. 

You saw this through patchwork pieces combining unlikely prints into coats and dresses and runway looks with excessively layered pieces in various patterns meant to clash. It's a look that's all about doing the most. Frankly, I'm not mad about it. After how tough the past few years have been, what better way to say "I'm back, honey" than by donning multiple prints? Some say it's maximalism; I say it's making the most out of the situation. Either way, it's clear that prints will reign supreme this fall, so you might as well embrace it. 

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Next: What's Your Sign? 12 Fall Trends to Match You and Your Zodiac Energy This Season

Jasmine Fox-Suliaman

Jasmine Fox-Suliaman is a fashion editor living in New York City. What began as a hobby (blogging on Tumblr) transformed into a career dedicated to storytelling through various forms of digital media. She started her career at the print publication 303 Magazine, where she wrote stories, helped produce photo shoots, and planned Denver Fashion Week. After moving to Los Angeles, she worked as MyDomaine's social media editor until she was promoted to work across all of Clique's publications (MyDomaine, Byrdie, and Who What Wear) as the community manager. Over the past few years, Jasmine has worked on Who What Wear's editorial team, using her extensive background to champion rising BIPOC designers, weigh in on viral trends, and profile stars such as Janet Mock and Victoria Monét. She is especially interested in exploring how art, fashion, and pop culture intersect online and IRL.