To put it plainly, 2021 was the year of the cutout, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the various iterations from Jonathan Simkhai’s iconic waist cutouts to Euphoria-esque G-string pants. This year, what the cutouts reveal is just as important as the cutouts themselves—hence I dub the evolution of this trend “negative space.” While cutouts imply something being taken away, the negative-space trend focuses on what fills the void. Whether it be vignettes of the human form or an interesting web of shapes created via layering techniques, this trend plays tricks on the eyes, often leaving you with more questions than answers.
Many refer to this evolution of cutouts as subversive, drawing on the tradition of Rick Owens and others who subvert the industry’s notions of beauty to create something beautiful themselves. It feels very continuous in this tradition while also extending the field of market options to include traditionally pretty versions of the trend too, so there’s truly something for everyone.
Keep scrolling to see my favorite six ways to get in on the trend. Trust me—you’ll understand why every designer is tapping in.