Decoding The Major FW20 Runway Trends

Decoding The Major FW20 Runway Trends

By Aqilah Zailan

Decoding The Major FW20 Runway Trends

As Paris Fashion Week wraps up, we bid adieu to the Fall/Winter 2020 runway season. To say that it was memorable would be putting it lightly. The coronavirus outbreak and its rapid spread were pivotal in shaping this season’s proceedings. Anxiety surrounding the pandemic resulted in the cancellation of several shows including major Italian powerhouse Giorgio Armani.

On a more positive note, we were treated to unique spectacles that pushed the boundaries of runway shows as we know them. French fashion house Balenciaga flooded the runway to highlight a major effect of climate change: rising sea levels. Elsewhere, Stella McCartney’s show had models dressed in animal costumes prance down the runway to call out animal welfare in fashion.

This season presented us with a myriad of trends – some completely new and some familiar. Here at Omnilytics, we analysed the key trends that dominated the runways and validated them with data so you know exactly which trends to pick up.

Here are the winners of Fall/Winter 2020.

Voluminous Silhouettes

Decoding The Major FW20 Runway Trends - Jil Sander, Carolina Herrera, Chanel FW20
Jil Sander, Carolina Herrera, Chanel FW20. Image credit: Vogue

Femininity remains a focal theme this season, as it was for Spring. Dior’s creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, has long advocated for the feminist movement through her career – sparking conversations on gender inequality in her designs, marketing campaigns and runway shows. Her dedication to the issue hasn’t faltered. In Paris, models walked the Dior runway alongside neon signs that read thought-provoking messages like ‘Consent’ and ‘When women strike, the world stops’.

Other designers showcased femininity through design. Voluminous silhouettes were all the rage – puff sleeves, tiered skirts and billowing dresses. These elements made their way to jackets and coats, creating a fresh take on a trend that has prevailed for a few seasons now.

Omnilytics found that puff sleeve jackets and coats have been trending upwards in the US and UK market. Luxury retailers, in particular, were quick to work puff sleeves into their outerwear assortments – Farfetch and Nordstrom lead the pack in terms of highest SKU count. For Farfetch, puff sleeve outerwear is a fairly recent addition – it only started stocking them last year. The investment paid off handsomely for the platform as the style achieved a 90% sell-out rate.

Decoding The Major FW20 Runway Trends - New-in count for puff sleeve

Very Victorian

Decoding The Major FW20 Runway Trends - Carolina Herrera, Balmain, Celine FW20
Carolina Herrera, Balmain, Celine FW20. Image credit: Vogue

Victorian influences were aplenty in New York and Milan. References from this iconic era included frill collars, ribbon neckties and ruffles. This modern take on Victorian accents was seen across multiple categories from dresses to bags. Motifs from this era further amplified the theme of femininity that reigned this season.

Frill collars are gaining traction in the US and UK markets in the tops and dresses categories. New-ins for the collar style shot up by 159% in the tops category alone. Fast fashion brand H&M had one of the highest SKU counts for products featuring this trend. H&M’s tactic was spot on as its frill-collared SKUs achieved an 86% sell-out rate last year.

Fielding for Fringe

Decoding The Major FW20 Runway Trends - Christian Dior, Bottega Veneta, Givenchy FW20
Christian Dior, Bottega Veneta, Givenchy FW20. Image credit: Vogue

In Milan, fringe was abundant in the collections of major Italian brands including Bottega Veneta, Prada and Jil Sander. It kept its momentum through to Paris. The detailing was not exclusive to accessories – it showed up on dresses, skirts, trousers and outerwear. While fringe is the main component of Western-inspired suede jackets and flapper dresses reminiscent of the 1920s, this season saw designers use fringe more as accents that refine, rather than define.

In the US and UK markets, new-ins for fringe increased by 73% YoY. Accessories and outerwear made up the top categories in both 2018 and 2019. Omnilytics detected that fashion brands have been increasingly adding fringe detailing to dresses – the new-in count more than doubled last year. Asos stood out with the highest SKU count in the fast fashion segment. Taking a page out of the runways’ book, Asos’ dresses utilised fringe as a subtle accent to enhance the garment instead of becoming the centrepiece.

Decoding The Major FW20 Runway Trends - Asos' fringe dresses
Asos’ fringe dresses. Image credit: Asos

Layers of Leather

Decoding The Major FW20 Runway Trends - Balmain, Valentino, Hermès
Balmain, Valentino, Hermès FW20. Image credit: Vogue

Widely used in creating accessories and outerwear, leather was elevated beyond the traditional scope this season. In Milan and Paris, head-to-toe leather looks became a familiar sight. Designers innovated further to produce leather pieces that featured unique silhouettes like puff sleeves and cinched waists.

In the mass market, retailers and brands followed suit as the new-in count for leather skirts, dresses, pants and tops were elevated substantially over the course of 2019 – as depicted in the chart below.

Decoding The Major FW20 Runway Trends - New-in count for leather

To stand out in an increasingly saturated market, unique silhouettes inspired by runway pieces can help retailers gain an upper hand against their competitors. This is also the perfect time to capitalise on the rise of ‘vegan’ leather as a smart way to reference this trend.

50 Shades of Grey

Decoding The Major FW20 Runway Trends - Issey Miyake, Haider Ackermann, Hermès FW20
Issey Miyake, Haider Ackermann, Hermès FW20. Image credit: Vogue

Last year’s Fall runway trends featured beige in abundance. The standout colour for this season is grey – the neutral shade dominated at nearly every city on the fashion calendar. A repeated sighting on the runways were head-to-toe tonal ensembles made up of layered pieces in different hues of grey.

The chart below depicts the colour grey’s trend movement in the last six months. Grey has been consistently outperforming other colours in the US and UK markets, not dipping below the average trend line once.

Decoding The Major FW20 Runway Trends - Trend movement of grey

Checked Out

Decoding The Major FW20 Runway Trends - Rokh, Gucci, Balenciaga FW20
Rokh, Gucci, Balenciaga FW20. Image credit: Vogue

Animal print has been dominating Fall/Winter runways in recent years but 2020 tells a different story. Checks emerged as the key print of this season – cropping up in numerous collections throughout fashion month. The pattern appeared in autumnal shades and a variety of sizes. Clashing checks – two different check patterns on the same garment – were heavily featured too.

There were 83,000 SKUs that featured check print in 2019, an 18% increase from the previous year. However, the print’s performance varied by category. In 2018, dresses were the most stocked category for check print. This changed the following year as check print dresses’ trend performance shot down progressively. The outerwear category is currently outperforming other categories with a trend score of 4.5. This finding confirms runway trends – check print outerwear was prevalent during fashion month.

Decoding The Major FW20 Runway Trends - Trend movement of check outerwear

Main Takeaway

Fashion trends are cyclical in nature, cropping up in reinvented versions of their predecessors nearly every season. When choosing to incorporate runway trends into your assortment, it’s crucial to consider unique silhouettes and accents to provide a fresh perspective to consumers, but not without checking the retail data before you go to market.

Now that we’ve narrowed down the top trends of FW20 for you, what’s your next move?

More than 115,000 data points were analysed on products retailing online for across US and UK markets from January 2018 to February 2020, as tracked by Omnilytics.

Meet the Author

Aqilah Zailan

Before her current fashion content writer role at Omnilytics, Aqilah Zailan was already decoding trends in the retail space. She now produces articles for Omnilytics’ blog and continues to keep a keen eye on shifting trends in the fashion industry.

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