Get To the Head of the Class with Back-To-School Shopping

Cotton Incorporated's Back-to-School Fashion Trend Forecast

Wednesday July 18, 2012
New York, NY

Parents are increasingly doing their homework on back-to-school shopping, looking ahead for the best deals while still outfitting their kids with stylish apparel for the new school year.

Cotton Incorporated’s Lifestyle Monitor™ Survey reveals that on average, those consumers planning to make back-to-school purchases plan to spend about $227, flat from last year. And parents this year are planning ahead; 89% of consumers intending to make back-to-school purchases will do so before the first day of school.

For those budding fashionistas, Abbey Cook, Product Trend Analyst, Cotton Incorporated, notes that children’s wear trends, especially for back-to-school, are typically simplified versions of what’s on point for menswear and women’s wear.  

“For the 2012-2013 school year, color definitely makes a comeback,” Cook says. “For girls, 90’s inspired brights are in, as are softer floral and petal shades. For boys, the inspiration comes from the outdoors, with colors like aquatic blues and mossy greens on trend this year.”

For parents keeping an eye on the bottom line, supplementing what children have worn all summer with just a few heavier-weight but season-less items will ensure kids are always comfortably and stylishly dressed for the school year.

“Classics like denim and corduroy are always in style and durable enough to last all year,” Cook adds, “but look for updated styling, like chambray shirts and jackets or corduroy in bright, brushed colors.”

The following is Cotton Incorporated’s overall back-to-school fashion trend forecast:


Overall color:

  • Quirky aquatic blues, violets and greens
  • Soft colors such as peach and various shades of white in combination with earthen greens and browns
  • Floral shades in more saturated hues such as wildflower pinks, oranges and lime
  • Revamped red, white and blue coexists with hyperactive brights in yellow, green and pink


  • Deep sea greens and blues
  • Bold urban 90’s brights
  • Mossy greens, inky blues and blacks


  • Saturated petal/floral shades
  • Neutrals in soft cloud and sand shades
  • 90’s inspired brights for accents on clothing and bottom weights



  • Mini me adult outfits made in miniature
  • Coated cotton in outerwear and bottom weights to give sheen and leather like effects
  • Denim with colored fill in fun bold colors
  • Chambray tops and jackets
  • Cotton French terry updates in more structured silhouettes


  • Quilted plaid shirts and outerwear
  • Sailor inspired looks
  • Corduroys in brights that have been heavily brushed


  • Feminine modern camouflage prints on tie dyed cotton
  • Color Blocking in sugary pastels
  • Paisley print in all categories
  • Smocked cotton denim dresses

Cotton Incorporated, funded by U.S. growers of upland cotton and importers of cotton and cotton textile products, is the research and marketing company representing upland cotton. The Program is designed and operated to improve the demand for and profitability of cotton.

For more information, please contact Shawn Steiner at 212-413-8350


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