The fashion trends no one could have imagined this time last year


Consumers seem to have thought that if you're going to have to wear a face mask, you might as well do it with style, with plenty investing in trendy models or designs. Photo: AFP

Covid-19 has shaken up our daily lives, from ways of consuming to ways of working. It has also proved a major influence on the year's fashion inspirations, as highlighted by the Stylight Fashion Recap 2020.

For example, the protective face mask has become the must-have accessory of 2020, something no one could have imagined this time last year.

Bandanas, XXL jewelry, belt bags and platform thigh boots: they were supposed to be fashion's stars of 2020. But the pandemic soon put paid to that, changing the plan for designers, brands and major ready-to-wear chains.

While certain pieces, fabrics and colours managed to defy the various waves of the pandemic, most faltered in the face of lockdown measures and even more so with the rise of the face mask.

Read more: You have a face mask, you have a dress? Uh! Face mask dress!

In fact, masks became one of the year's hottest accessories, way ahead of the stilettos, jewelry, it-bags and other items proffered by fashion's big-hitters.

Such is the conclusion drawn by the global online search platform Stylight, which has just published its traditional Fashion Recap 2020.

Consumers seem to have thought that if you're going to have to wear a face mask, you might as well do it with style, with plenty investing in trendy models or designs to match their outfits.

While sales of masks rose with the end of spring lockdowns, it was in August that searches peaked, with a spike of +864% clicks compared to the month of May.

Comfort is king

The quest for comfort inherent to the pandemic gave rise to new trends that may never have flourished without the public health crisis.

As people bunkered down, activewear proved a major hit of the year (+40% clicks on leggings and +52% for sports bras), not to mention loungewear (+56% clicks), with particular interest in pajamas (+59%).

Similarly, the cottagecore trend – which sees the return of clothing in romantic styles and/or inspired by nature – has boomed this year.

Read more: Fashion explainer: What is cottagecore and how did it become a big trend?

This is reflected by strong interest in floral dresses (+141%), Peter Pan collar blouses (+62%) and cable-knit cardigans (+56%). Comfort and relaxed styles, plus the need for functional pieces, also largely drove the utility wear trend.

Shoppers were particularly keen on boiler suits (+ approx. 1,000%), combat boots (+224%), cargo pants (+104%) and even bucket hats (+81%), despite being banished from womenswear wardrobes for more than a decade.

Making fashion more sustainable

In 2020, consumers were keen to dress in ways that are more sustainable and more environmentally friendly. And while leather was the star fabric of the year, it was vegan versions that proved particularly popular with web users.

In fact, vegan and eco-friendly fabrics in general – whether sustainable or recycled – found favour with consumers in 2020, as well as upcycled collections, like Marine Serre's, which proved a hit worldwide.

Read more: How climate positive clothing is shaping the ecological role of fashion

When it comes to colours, this year's top trends were soft shades and retro hues, with brown, lavender, and coral – shades that once again evoke nature.

The findings are based on internal Stylight data from its 12 million monthly users across the 16 markets in which it is present. The selected timeframe is Jan 1 to Sept 30,2020.

The celebrities, brands and products selected were based on their relevance, media exposure and social network presence, and average monthly Google search volume from Google Keyword Planner from Jan 1 to Sept 30,2020, sometimes compared to 2019 for the same period. – AFP Relaxnews

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