Sweatpants and hoodies resurfaced with the onset of the pandemic, when working from home became the new norm. But does that mean these homewear favourites should also become the norm?
Some parts of the fashion world are currently working on interactive or hybrid apparel designed to fit with our new ways of working. The latest in line is none other than a colourful, interactive, customisable sweater that's sure to light up your video conference calls.
Read more: Spring/Summer 2021 is the season where we learn to dress up again
Repeated lockdowns and the increase in remote working have given rise to all kinds of comical situations, where people have faced their colleagues in pyjama pants worn with a crisply ironed shirt or, worse still, in the kind of attire usually only seen by an inner circle of close acquaintances – in other words, anyone but your boss.
Still, that doesn't mean we should all be dressing up to the nines to work from home, as comfort remains the keyword.
Ultimately, it's something of a vicious circle – one that some designers have decided to break by adapting to the new ways of working progressively gaining ground around the world.
One sweater, multiple possibilities
Personal branding consultant Guoda Sakalauskiene and the designer and founder of the Zefyras fashion and design studio Viktorija Bugajenko have worked hand-in-hand to come up with the first interactive sweater, designed for keeping home workers comfortable and presentable for videoconferences.
Called "Zoomer", this sweater is billed as a "colourful alternative to business attire" and can be worn in a different way each day – although it might need the occasional wash.
Available in five colours, the sweater can be worn with or without a tulle overlayer featuring a motif, or a removable hood, to mix up your looks. Above all, it has been designed to be worn seamlessly with all kinds of existing closet staples.
And, it's ideal for pulling off a quick change of look between your various calls (business meetings, family calls, or virtual drinks).
As well as brightening up video calls and keeping home workers stylish on all occasions, this interactive sweater can also help cut down on clothing consumption. The environment will thank you.
Style meets comfort in the 'pyjama suit'
At the end of 2020, Japan-based company Aoki Holdings caused a sensation with the first "pyjama suit", a hybrid clothing item crossing pyjamas with a suit.
Forget ties and sleek tailoring, which aren't usually synonymous with comfort, as men can now dress in free and easy style when working from home without sacrificing elegance.
Available in stores and online, pyjama suits essentially stand apart from regular suits with the materials used to make them, which are both comfortable and stretchy.
They're as soft and cosy as pyjamas, but with a more sophisticated style. As for the design, the outfit resembles a suit, helping the wearer stay elegant on video calls while ensuring comfort and freedom of movement.
It's a model that could inspire more than one designer in the coming months.
Virtual clothes: the shape of things to come?
While you're no doubt already familiar with virtual makeup – a considerable ally for videoconferencing – virtual clothing is struggling to find a place in online work meetings.
It is, however, now entirely possible to buy virtual haute-couture items at fast fashion prices, or to dress your avatar in outfits designed by the biggest luxury brands on Snapchat and/or in your favourite video games.
Read more: A new 'swappable department store' looks to redefine fashion consumption
It's therefore only a matter of time before virtual sweaters, shirts, blouses and pants start carving out a place as credible alternatives to so-called workwear, as fashion adapts to suit our new ways of working.
Plus, virtual alternatives could also help reduce the environmental impact of one of the world's most polluting industries. – AFP Relaxnews