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The year in fashion 2021 and what’s next in 2022 for fashion, retail, tech and sustainability

The year in fashion 2021 and what’s next in 2022 for fashion, retail, tech and sustainability

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But the effects of Covid remained; people craved comfort and a new form of workwear, while on-screen moments continued to influence us more than ever.

Over the course of the year, 150 million+ shoppers looked on fashion shopping platform Lyst, and we’ve crunched their searches, views and sales metrics to bring to you the stories that shaped the year in fashion. From the rise of digital fashion to dopamine dressing, the best-selling products and the reign of the sneaker revolution, here’s what was trending in 2021, and what to look forward to in 2022 based on consumer demand.

Read on to discover:

KEY THEMES

Digital

As personal style is increasingly experienced and expressed online, fashion brands’ digital offerings have expanded more than ever, from NFTs and virtual drops to collaborations with video games, such as Roblox.

Most recently, Balenciaga collaborated with Fortnite, offering exclusive in-game digital fashion pieces, as well as a physical line of merchandise. Within 24 hours after the release of the physical capsule collection, searches for ‘Balenciaga x Fortnite’ spiked 72 per cent, while demand for Balenciaga increased by 49 per cent.

When New York indie fashion label Collina Strada hosted its first-ever metaverse runway show in May, searches for the brand grew by 28 per cent.

Digital is definitely a space to watch and invest in.

Conscious

In 2021, celebrities began proactively using their social media platforms to bring awareness to sustainable fashion.

Joaquin Phoenix wore the same Stella McCartney tuxedo for awards season, while Lorde chose brands that use deadstock fabrics — Collina Strada and Bode for her ‘Solar Power’ music video and Met Gala red carpet look, respectively — all these moments casted an impact on consumer behaviour and their simultaneous purchasing decisions.

Eco-conscious shopping is also on the rise, as we see demand for vegan leather products increase by 178 per cent and searches for plant-dyed products growing by 131 per cent year-over-year.

Genderless

Gender lines continue to blur in fashion, and 2021 saw the movement being spearheaded by some of music’s biggest names.

After Lil Nas X wore a Louis Vuitton skirt to appear on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon in May, searches for ‘Vuitton skirt’ went up by 138 per cent that same month. Plus, Justin Bieber, Bad Bunny and A$AP Rocky have recently been spotted in pearl necklaces; which have led searches for the item to have jumped by 86 per cent year-on-year.

Trends that went viral

Dopamine Dressing

After spending most of 2020 locked up at home, consumers spent the past year swapping their loungewear for clothes that bring joy.

From April to August, searches for bright, bold colourful pieces, specifically in hot pink, orange, yellow and green, spiked 191 per cent, and from March to August, demand for bold jewellery, specifically ‘colourful’, ‘beaded’, ‘rainbow’ and ‘resin’ skyrocketed by 545 per cent.

Vaccine-Ready

With the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine shots across the globe, ‘vaccine tops’ were quick to become a fashion trend. Dolly Parton and her ‘cold-shoulder’ top was a prime example, and searches for tops with the terms ‘one-shoulder’, ‘off-shoulder’ and ‘cold-shoulder’ jumped by 73 per cent from February to March.

Going Out Out

As social distancing measures lifted, the return of music festival season and nightlife has brought the resurgence of ‘going-out fashion’. Much like the 1920s, short hems were one of the fastest-rising trends in 2021, as searches for mini skirts and dresses jumped by 221 per cent year-on-year. Global searches for high heels grew consistently from May and ‘disco heels’’ spiked 233 per cent in the same month.

Hybrid Workwear

As a phased return to the office kicked off towards the last half of the year, nine-to-five workers started to turn to a more relaxed, smart-casual version of the corporate-appropriate uniform highly influenced by the Work From Home Zoom meeting looks.

In August, demand for oversized suits jumped 109 per cent, compared to last year, while wide-leg pants were in high demand from July, increasing by 87 per cent.

Sportswear Mania

Major athletic events, such as the Olympics and the Euros, sparked an interest in sportswear.

In June, ahead of Euro 2020, global searches for ‘football’ and ‘soccer’ T-shirts increased 33 per cent. At the Tokyo Games, skateboarding’s official Olympic debut stole the spotlight, and searches for the Nike SB range, specifically its Dunk Low sneakers, jumped 100 per cent in just 48 hours.

Trends that went viral

Y2K Fashion

The early-aughts fashion renaissance arrived, as younger generations sought inspiration from the throwback outfits of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, as well as brands that had their heyday in the 2000s, including Von Dutch, Juicy Couture and Ed Hardy.

The #y2kfashion hashtag has generated more than 220 million views on TikTok while searches for ‘Y2K’ increased 389 per cent year-on-year.

Additionally, the decade’s ‘It’ bag, Fendi’s Baguette bag, increased in pageviews 290 per cent year-on-year.

Gen Z vs. Millennials

If TikTok took over social media consumption in 2020, the short-form video app took over the fashion discourse in 2021.

Style-specific debates, especially between Gen Z and millennials, took off on the platform. Wide-leg or skinny jeans? It depends on who you ask (and, perhaps, how old they are).

According to searches in 2021, baggy jeans reigned supreme with 55 per cent year-on-year growth, with Levi’s and Weekday being popular options.

Kidcore

Nostalgia continued to fuel personal style in 2021, and kidcore emerged as the childhood-like aesthetic that’s all about bright colours, toy-inspired accessories and clashing prints.

This type of playful dressing has grown in the menswear space, worn by the likes of Pete Davidson, Justin Bieber, and Tyler, The Creator. Kidcore-adjacent shoe brand Crocs has been in high demand this year; from January to September, seven pairs were sold per day on Lyst.

Royalcore

Inspired by the hit Netflix show Bridgerton, BBC’s docu-series on King Henry VIII’s reign, and recent Princess Diana-centric films and shows, aesthetes have been inspired by all things relating to royal fashion.

On TikTok, style-savvy users channelled royalcore and princes score, while celebrities like Bella Hadid, sporting her Dilara Findikoglu ‘B’ necklace (inspired by the same one worn by Tudor Queen Anne Boleyn), drove demand for similar pieces.

Over the summer, searches for ‘tudor’ spiked by 24 per cent, with Reformation’s ‘Tudor dress’ receiving the most pageviews.

Cabincore

In response to last year’s cottagecore craze, cabincore took hold over fall closets.

The TikTok-driven fashion trend, which blends normcore with gorpcore and cozy, practical knitwear, prefers hikes in the woods and relaxing in a cabin, as opposed to sunny countryside picnics and baking bread.

Searches for hiking boots increased 234 per cent year-on-year, and interest in flannel shirts jumped 145 per cent.

Most Wanted Products

  1. Levi’s Loose Fit Jeans

Baggy jeans were a major trend on the Spring/Summer ’21 runways, as well as a celebrity favourite amongst Gigi and Bella Hadid, Hailey and Justin Bieber, Katie Holmes, and more throughout the summer. As wardrobes transitioned from sweatpants, searches for the roomy denim style were up 52 per cent year-on-year, and baggy or wide-leg jeans received almost double the amount of searches than skinny jeans year-to-date.

  1. Rolex Submariner Watch

Appearing in The Lyst Index Q1, this Swiss-made luxury timepiece is the most-wanted accessory of the year.

Sales of watches have risen 13 per cent year-on-year and the category saw significant growth in the wedding space. Searches for watches, along with the terms ‘couple’, ‘engagement’ and ‘wedding’ have started to appear more frequently and have collectively increased 53 per cent within the past year.

  1. Bottega Veneta Mini Jodie Bag

The Italian fashion house has another hit accessory as the most-searched bag of 2021 on Lyst. With celebrity fans, like Kendall Jenner and Elsa Hosk, as well as becoming a street style staple at the most recent fashion month, the bag taps into the minimalist luxury aesthetic with its Instagram-friendly, ’90s-inspired look.

  1. Birkenstock Boston Clogs

An ideal in-between home-and-outdoors genderless footwear style, the Boston Clogs are the most- wanted shoes of 2021. The brand also continued to garner high-fashion approval this year, thanks to collaborations with Stu?ssy, Proenza Schouler and Jil Sander. Compared to Birkenstock’s ever popular Arizona sandal, the Boston Clog received 36 per cent more pageviews this year.

  1. Thom Browne Pleated Skirt

After a Thom Browne ‘groom skirt suit’ was worn by Dan Levy’s David Rose during the finale of Schitt’s Creek, the low-key industry favourite became a pop culture icon. Searches for ‘men’s wedding skirts’ jumped 48 per cent year-on-year and Thom Browne’s black pleated skirt was one of the most-wanted items. In The Lyst Index Q2, the brand’s skirt also broke into the top 10 for menswear for the very first time.

  1. Nensi Dojaka Asymmetric Mini Dress

First featured in The Lyst Index Q1, the ’90s-inspired mini dress is 2021’s most-wanted LBD, representing the collective excitement around going out and dressing up again. Unsurprisingly, searches for the dress peaked during the summer, from June to August, as stylish celebrities, like Emma Corrin, Emily Ratajkowski, Rihanna and more, were spotted wearing it.

  1. Prada Crochet Bag

Prada’s summer-friendly bag sold out quickly across multiple retailers on Lyst, as it tapped into the popular trends around crochet, craftcore and DIY. Overall, crochet bags have increased in searches by 56 per cent year-on-year.

  1. Jacquemus La MaillePralu? Cardigan

The risque? knitwear style from Jacquemus, worn by the likes of Megan Fox, Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber, spearheaded this summer’s pin-top trend. In August, searches spiked 79 per cent for this particular style, with ‘front tie top’, ‘lace up top’ and ‘pin top’ being the most frequently searched keywords.

  1. Pangaia Hoodie

Eco-friendly brand Pangaia has been trending through 2021, but a co-sign from Harry Styles, who was spotted in its hot pink ‘Flamingo’ hoodie in October, caused a 91 per cent spike in searches. Online searches for the brand’s sweatshirt hoodies have now jumped 172 per cent during the course of the year.

  1. & Other Stories Striped Jumper

Searches similar to the retailer’s minimalist- leaning striped jumper were an indicator of the nautical- inspired item’s return, as inquiries for striped knitwear increased 125 per cent year-on-year. In early August, month-on-month searches for striped polo sweaters were also up by 37 per cent.

Sneakers

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