Avery Faigen

August 2, 2021

Trend alert: Harnessing the power of the checkerboard pattern

Understand the four reasons contributing to the popularity of the checkerboard pattern and how you can make it your own.

Preppy trends and prints like houndstooth have taken 2021 by storm. Now with the combination of 70s inspired fashion, checkerboard is becoming the next viral trend to invest in. 

Cult brands like Lisa Says Gah back the trend, while the runway offers longevity through 2022. We analyze why this bold check has gone viral, the cult brands that support the trend, successful styles in the market and runway inspiration for Spring 2022.

Reach out for a demo to see the data backing the checkerboard pattern. 

Why you should invest

1. Celebrities and influencers back the trend

Hailey Bieber graced the June/July 2021 issue of Vogue Magazine in a knitted checkerboard top, while Gigi Hadid posed in a two-tone green bathing suit that matched her daughter's swimsuit on Instagram. Olivia Hirst is among several influencers who have posted themselves wearing the design in recent weeks - a relaxed-fit denim and short co-ords are of note.

2. The style feeds into nostalgic themes from the runway

Designers continue to be inspired by the 60s and 70s, expressed via checkerboard looks across the Fall 2021 runway season. Giambattista Valli supported the return of the mini dress, adding a nostalgic puff sleeve to the small-scale check style, while Daniel w. Fletcher imitated the iconic large scale disco floor in a skirt and jacket set. Continue reading to learn more about how this pattern will translate into Spring 2022.

3. Checkerboard works across fabrications

Crochet has been highlighted as one of the season's hottest trends, spanning product categories including loungewear. Retailers like Emmiol and Zara have married this trend with checkerboard designs. On Instagram, PacSun added head-to-toe checkerboard denim looks, while for high summer, Urban Outfitters showcased sunny yellow checks designed in linen.

4. It's gone viral across categories

Checkerboard was a runway trend that has already infiltrated the homeware sector, with the pattern popular across home decor on retailer Instagrams. Brands like Monki have coupled nostalgia with classic white and black checks across footwear and accessories. The label reached back to the Y2K era to design into the memorable shoulder bag while offering 60s gogo boot-inspired shoes.

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Images via Instagram - Olivia Hirst; Instagram - Hailey Bieber; Instagram - Gigi Hadid

The cult brands on board

Lisa Says Gah

Lisa Bühler started the San Francisco-based company in 2015, offering products from independent, female-owned brands and Lisa Says Gah styles. Bühler focuses on sustainably and ethically made clothes. Fans of the vintage-inspired assortment have reached celebrity status, including Sophie Turner and Olivia Rodrigo.

From wavy designs to retro floral graphics, Lisa Says Gah has evolved the traditional checkerboard. The brand has also maximized the pattern by applying it to knit sweaters, socks and hair accessories. Color combinations range from browns to greens and purples, with black and white styles sprinkled in.

Holiday The Label

In 2017, Sydney-based designer Emma Mulholland created a space where customers can find 80s and 90s-inspired looks that extend summer vacation all year round. Sustainable practices run throughout the company. It offers pre-orders for popular items to minimize over production and repurposes deadstock to create smaller pieces like scrunchies. Checkerboard is applied across textures from silk to soft terrycloth with Instagram posts featuring head-to-toe patterned looks.

Wray

Items are designed in NYC but are produced ethically at fair-trade operations in India, Hong Kong and Peru. The brand also offers sizing from XXS - 6XL and 0 - 24. The website has a dedicated page for checks, spanning apparel, accessories and home decor with blue, red, yellow and black checkerboard items commonly displayed on the brand's Instagram.

Top moving silhouettes

To further emphasize the 60s and 70s-inspired aesthetic, retailers like Nasty Gal and ASOS have had success with checkerboard boot-cut trousers, while wavy designs from SHEIN offered a psychedelic spin on the pattern.

With co-ords a vital product category heading into 2022, SHEIN has already seen success for both woven and knitted shirt and short sets. Consumers are still buying into crop tops, moving well at Fashion Nova and Motel, while browns proved a popular colorway overall.

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Images via Motel, ASOS and Shein

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Images via Nasty Gal, Shein and Nasty Gal

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Images via Intimately at Free People; Beach Riot at Free People; and annorlunda at ASOS 

Runway inspiration for SS22

The Pre-Spring 2022 runway shows proved that trippy prints, including checkerboard designs, are a commercial trend for now and through to next year. Be inspired by how Anna Sui refreshed the graphic with contorted checkerboard pieces. With Y2K a theme for next spring, consider Gen Z green and brights for the season's color palette.

Update small-scale arrangements with exaggerated ones or mix-and-match for a contemporary take on the trend. Combine checks with other prints and patterns for hero pieces. Consider working with padded, quilted and denim fabrics to construct checkerboard products, as these fabrics will be a strong focus for Spring 2022. On the denim front, investigate natural dyeing solutions for an eco-friendly option.

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Images via Ahluwalia Spring 2022; Anna Sui Pre-Spring 2022; and Versace Pre-Spring 2022 

checkerboard pattern

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