The pandemic killing off fashion trends? No, they're alive and well


  • Style
  • Friday, 13 Nov 2020

Photo composite (from left): Burberry, Lanvin, Versace

When the pandemic hit this year in March, fashion labels began decrying the system of fashion seasons. The idea was that the industry has to slow down.

In the weeks after that when countries begin implementing restrictions and lockdowns, harried designers were asking for the frenetic calendar of fashion weeks to be revamped (or even abolished).

In May, Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele announced on Instagram that the Italian brand will permanently limit the number of fashion shows that it produces every year down to two.

“We will meet just twice a year, to share the chapters of a new story. Irregular, joyful and absolutely free chapters, which will be written blending rules and genres, feeding on new spaces, linguistic codes and communication platforms, ” Michele said.

Read more: What do Malaysian designers think about the call for fashion to go seasonless?

Michael Kors similarly announced in June that he is leaving the traditional New York Fashion Week schedule. He will be opting for standalone presentations instead.

“I have for a long time thought that the fashion calendar needs to change, ” Kors said in a statement. “We’ve all had time to reflect and analyse things, and I think many agree that it’s time for a new approach for a new era.”

Months after, it seems that the cycle of Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter seasons is staying put. The industry in general is maintaining its status quo – where most labels are concerned.

CelineCelineThe show must go on it seems. Seasonal trends are alive and well too. Although, you could say that they are being influenced by our drastically changing lifestyles.

Lockdowns and work-from-home orders have really changed the need for different clothing items. They way we are embracing fashion is vastly different too, with practicality being given its due consideration.

Practicality and optimism

For Autumn/Winter 2020, the fashion trends to note are the ones to do with the way we live our lives. Comfort has suddenly become a staple in fashion. The whole notion of dressing up when you have nowhere to go is a game changer.

Fashion labels have also rolled out pieces that can (hopefully) inject a little cheer into a person’s day. Colour is a big factor, with vivid shades being the pick of the season.

But it is not all just loungewear. Pretty little dresses, and cute tops and skirts are a big hit on runways. They serve as a reminder of better days to come, and that what we are experiencing now will pass.

Read more: Fashion explainer: What is 'upcycling' and how did it become a style trend?

With the popularity of upcycling (another trend that grew during the pandemic), old favourites are brought to the fore again. However, some classic pieces like the suit is being discarded or updated to fit this new era’s lifestyle.

Although the season’s collections were presented at the start of the pandemic (early March, and some, in February), the apparent trends still reflect the current situation.

Bold, classic or comfortable?

Amid the doom and gloom of a tumultuous year, designers saw it fit to inject some vibrancy. This comes in lots of colour. From fierce red to sunny yellow and pretty pink, it offers a pick-me-up of sorts.

While you are still encouraged to stay indoors and work from home, it doesn’t mean that your wardrobe should be deprived of a much-needed refresh. Adding colour to your dressing can help banish the everyday blues. Checking in

Checks has become the go-to print of this season. In terms of recycling trends, it is hugely popular again – in different and wonderful ways. Perhaps that old checked outfit you have in the back of your wardrobe can be pulled out and worn again?

From subtly embellishing classic designs to appearing as giant prints to embolden a look, they are everywhere. And they come in so many beautiful variations too. Gingham, plaid, windowpane, tartan, houndstooth, graph and much more.

Read more: Pyjamas not just for bedtime anymore, as the pandemic rewrites fashion rules

ChloeChloeThe rise of casualwear this year is simply phenomenal. In part due to work from home, everyone has suddenly realised the importance of comfort when it comes to dressing up. And have no doubt – you can still look chic too.

As it is, cardigans proved to be a runway favourite for Autumn/Winter 2020. Taylor Swift’s eponymous song may have had a hand in the sudden rise in popularity, but the trend can also be tracked back to the trending Danish and Norwegian term “hygge”, which is related to a feeling of cozy contentment.

Changing tastes and needs

With the traditional suit taking a beating from the pandemic, everyone is keen to present their own reinterpretations of it. The classic design now comes in the form of a softer, less constrained version.

Various labels are pairing blazers with skirts. Forget the power suit with its crisp pants, the current idea is that you can look just as strong, bold and confident while embracing your femininity.Go for gold

Gold as a commodity has witnessed an upsurge this year. On its tail is the fashion trend of embracing shiny metallics. Not so much party looks, but more like evoking the idea of armours.

Designers also played with texture when using metallics. From tassels to fringes, it gave the looks a little extra drama. Again, while you’re confined indoors it doesn’t mean your outfits should be dreary. Think of it as partying outside in spirit.

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