It goes without saying that Covid-19 has upended our lives, causing so much change and chaos in 2020. That, of course, includes the fashion world. Fashion designers and brands have had to rethink their businesses and navigate their way into an uncertain future.
Last year, we saw the rise of athleisure and loungewear as we spent many months staying in. Our office stilettos made way for stay-home slippers, while we swopped boardroom blazers with cozy cardigans. Now that we’re officially in 2021 and Phase 3, what can we (and our wardrobes) expect? Maybe more sweaters? Perhaps tons of mood-lifting colours to project optimism?
Ahead, three fashion insiders clue us in on where the fashion world is likely to be headed this year. Get ready to charge ahead in style.
With fewer occasions to dress up, “the line between lounging in and going out is blurred,” says Evon Chng, fashion stylist and founder of Beastcorp Digital Agency.
Which is why hybrid styling is the way forward. It’s all about mixing and matching your fashion pieces regardless of their price points. “Like styling your $20 Uniqlo top with a pair of $20,000 diamond earrings,” adds Evon. “Think of elevated loungewear or pared-down work clothes when planning your outfits.”
Just like us, fashion designers around the world are likely to be WFH instead of heading back to their offices. This new norm, in turn, has become and will likely remain as an inspiration for them.
“Designers and fashion labels have created stylish but comfortable pieces,” says Furqan Saini, fashion director/consultant and adjunct fashion lecturer. “From Prada under Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada – their first collection – to Uniqlo U by Christophe Lemiare to the Loewe x Totoro collection, it’s all about living in the reality of now.”
Fashion stylist Amanda Tan adds: “The best part about it is that these designs can double up as outing pieces too. They’re very versatile, comfortable and presentable, so they’re a sure-win for all shoppers.”
Sustainability has been a hot topic in recent years, and thankfully, more fashion brands are stepping up their sustainability game. Still, more needs to be done.
“We can expect greener manufacturing processes,” says Evon, “as well as upcycling of old clothes and giving them a second life. San Francisco-based fashion label, almost.on.time is an example, and it specialises in upcycled clothing.”
The ongoing pandemic – coupled with the success of local fashion brands like Klarra and Beyond The Vines – could possibly spark a “now or never” realisation among aspiring fashion designers and entrepreneurs.
“After the past few years of ‘local fashion drought’, we might see newer Singapore brands popping up,” predicts Evon. “It could be a resurgence of smaller and experimental boutique brands that would build their own fan base here.”
Instead of flashing your wealth by wearing head-to-toe logomania or expensive labels, consider going subtle. “Low or no branding in fashion will likely take over monograms or loud brandings,” says Evon. “It’s the pandemic so it’s not cool to flaunt.”
Nonetheless, some designers have decided to pile on the drama instead of going for pared down designs.
“[They] have gone to the extreme, giving us drama as the very antithesis of our maudlin times,” remarks Furqan. “It comes through over-the-top mixed floral prints – think Dolce & Gabbana and Dior – right down to statement shoulders at Balmain, Maison Margiela, and more.”
Attention: Flared or baggy chino pants are huge this season, according to Furqan. “Slouchy and oversized, these tan bottoms can be matched with a plethora of upper half styles, from body-hugging tops to oversized jackets,” he advises.
“This is a trend that was big among the E-girls,” reveals Furqan. For the uninitiated, E-girls spend plenty of time online, and they usually have dyed hair and are dressed in anime- and goth-inspired outfits.
“[The trend] went upstream to the high fashion world where it will undoubtedly come back to the high street,” adds Furqan. “Netting comes as an overlay, whether they be vests or easy-breezy netted skirts. Jil Sander, Balenciaga, Fendi and Dries van Noten are huge proponents of this.”
“Fashion trends go round in circles, and I’m happy that the puff sleeves are trending now,” shares Amanda. “With everyone so used to WFH, this seems to be something to own to kickstart your back-to-office days with minimal effort, and yet, still look great.”
Unsure of how to rock them? Consider Amanda’s style tips: “Pair them with jeans or a skirt, and they’ll instantly add a little oomph to your overall look.”
If you haven’t discovered the wonders of a bodysuit, which by the way is big right now, may we suggest you grab one and try it out yourself?
“It’s such a wearable piece,” says Amanda. “You can move and sit however you want, and it doesn’t ride up your body. It’s minimal and clean, and it definitely doubles up as a staple piece in any woman’s wardrobe.”