Spring Fashion Trends from the Runway to Back in 2021
The curtains have drawn on the Spring/ Summer 2021 runway season. As the first major runway season since the Covid-19 pandemic swept the globe, Spring fashion weeks this year delivered a new experience. Notable absentees Marc Jacobs, Gucci and Saint Laurent left a significant gap, but others stepped up with experimental digital showcases that challenged traditional runway presentations.
Designers took the opportunity to reflect on the tumultuous year so far and expressed hope as well as optimism for the future in their collections. Escapism was a recurring theme across the trends that transpired at the four fashion capitals.
Runway seasons are typically a critical period for buyers, merchandisers and designers to identify key trends to incorporate into their assortments. With numerous restrictions currently in place to hamper this process, we’ve analysed Spring runway trends against market performance for you so you know the leading trends to buy into.
Here are the winners of Spring/ Summer 2021.
Spring Fashion Trends
Luxe Comfort Dressing
Comfort dressing has been at the centre of the pandemic as social distancing mandates meant more time spent indoors. Loungewear dominated the mass market throughout 2020 and played a key role in Spring fashion trends.
Designers offered their luxe take on loungewear this season. Co-ords in relaxed fits and soft fabrics were heavily featured on the runways. The shift towards comfort wear is especially stark in traditionally dressed-up labels like Rodarte and Tom Ford that pared down their collections with more casual pieces. In retail, the loungewear trend shows no signs of waning, extending into nearly every apparel category.
The industry has been dreading Loungewear fatigue since the trend first began driving demand at the beginning of the pandemic. However, data shows that loungewear is not slowing down anytime soon. It remains trending across most apparel categories. As we face the second wave of Covid-19, loungewear will likely carry the momentum through to 2021.
Expanding on the comfort theme, elevated homewear emerged as a notable trend this season. Fluffy house slippers, pyjamas and robes in luxurious fabrics like silk and velvet appeared in the collections of Balenciaga, Cromantica and Simon Miller. Elevated homewear lends itself to easy transitions from home to work in a remote working setting. Luxe homewear has already translated into the mass market, where satin pyjamas have been growing in popularity.
While new-ins for satin pyjamas declined YoY, sell-out rates are at an all time high of 72%. This indicates a missed opportunity for retailers with minimal stakes. Select retailers including ASOSand Shein are enjoying strong sales for satin pyjamas and paying dividends for their investment in the category.
There are also opportunities in other homewear essentials such as robes and house slippers, which are making waves in the market with a 288% YoY rise in sell-out.
The Cottagecore Craze
One of quarantine’s most commercial trends, Cottagecore continues its upward trajectory and into the runways. Cottagecore aesthetics have been featured sporadically on the runways in recent years. However, the current climate brought a renewed focus on the trend, which holds its roots in rural and countryside living. It’s an extension of escapism, a recurring quarantine theme for consumers longing for a simpler life and a break from the bleak reality of Covid-19.
The quintessential Cottagecore mainstay, smock dresses cropped up in numerous collections across the four fashion capitals. Designers presented their iteration of the loose, billowing dress in bold patterns like vintage florals and gingham checks. Other references to Cottagecore like lace, Brodeie Anglaise, ruffles, puff sleeves and embroidery were paired with smock dresses, as seen at Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini and Rodarte
As Cottagecore’s crown jewel, the smock dress commanded strong demand in the mass market. Contributions for smock dresses in fast fashion have been steadily rising since January, led by Asos, Missguided, Shein and Prettylittlething. Sell-out rates grew in tandem with increasing demand for smock dresses, peaking at 41% in October.
As a style typically attributed to Spring fashion, the strong performance of smock dresses throughout Fall proves the trend’s longevity in the market. With many countries well into the second wave of Covid-19 and lockdowns implemented again, expect the demand for smock dresses to strengthen in the coming months.
Retailers can capitalise on growth opportunities for smock dresses with a demand-driven colour assortment. Soft colour palettes were the designers’ go-to for runway pieces and similar hues have been gaining traction in fast fashion. Omnilytics data showed strong demand in the market for soft pink, light blue as well as pastel shades of purple and green.
Branching off the ultra-feminine aspect of Cottagecore, statement collars were a standout feature on the runways. From the Peter Pan collars at Anna Sui to the adorned neckerchief at Erdem, feminine detailing are accentuating the rise of Cottagecore in the mass market.
Zara, H&M, Asos and Shein led retailers in increasing newness for oversized collars across Tops and Dresses. Sell-out rates grew as well, rising by 41% in October. The focus on waist-up ensembles due to WFH constraints will drive the statement collar trend next season.
Other feminine accents that reflect Cottagecore aesthetics have garnered similar attention in the mass market. Puffy sleeves, ditsy floral print, ruffles, tiered and maxi length are some of the popular styles driving demand.
A New Take on Minimalism
The voluminous silhouettes, bold patterns and striking colours synonymous with cottagecore expressed optimism during a period of uncertainty. At the opposite end of the spectrum, designers embraced minimalistic elements of the pared down, post-recession dressing trend on par with the current climate.
Contemporary Soft Tailoring
Designers spotlighted timeless investment pieces to reflect the current WFH lifestyle that calls for clean lines and relaxed silhouettes. Contemporary soft tailoring cropped up on numerous collections, presented mainly through oversized blazers and high-waist trousers.
Omnilytics data detected that the relaxed silhouette has been trending at Cos, Massimo Dutti and Banana Republic across Tops, Outerwear and Pants & Leggings. The versatility of oversized jackets prompted renowned minimalist brand Cos to increase its intake by 150% compared to last year.
Mirroring the Spring fashion shows where they were abundant, high-waist wide-leg pants are having a moment in the mass market. Key subcategories charting growth include Culottes, Bootcut and Wide Leg Pants.
Designers like Balmain and Fendi took smart tailoring up a notch with strong shoulders, reiterating the focus on the top half of the body for video conferencing. In a similar vein, designers paired bralettes with oversized blazers as a juxtaposition of casual and formal. While this trend has yet to trickle down to the mass market, it carries potential by allowing for a fashion statement during Zoom meetings without compromising comfort.
Tying the minimalistic elements together were the colour palette, which consist of neutral shades and tonal ensembles. No stranger to runway trends, neutral tones remain a familiar sight at Spring fashion shows, present at Max Mara, Hermes, Sportmax and Victoria Beckham. Furthermore, natural fabrics with textured finish were often paired with these designs to punctuate the theme of minimalism.
Apart from blue, Massimo Dutti and Cos’s new-ins mainly consist of nude shades of brown and pink. The colour composition signals the shift towards minimal colour stories. Additionally, Massimo Dutti amassed 100% full price sell-out for relaxed Blazers & Tailored Jackets in linen material. Retailers looking to expand on the new minimalism theme can explore these trending colours and materials to drive profitability.
Optimise Assortment Plan with Validated Trends
Consumer demand is constantly evolving as the pandemic maintains a firm grip on the fashion retail landscape. Spring fashion trends from the runway reflect this, with a greater emphasis on consumer preferences than seasonality.
With access to retail data, retailers can validate runway trends against market performance and create commercial assortments every time.
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