Like most things in this pandemic, the Spring/Summer 2021 menswear trends are not of the usual variety. The runway season itself was atypical, with major brands like Balenciaga and Gucci opting for virtual fashion shows to eliminate any risk of spreading Covid-19. Designers are embracing the new normal not just in the way they present seasonal collections but the conceptualisation behind them too.
The post-pandemic climate saw menswear transition into brighter and bolder themes to signify optimism and hope at a grim time. At the same time, the demand for comfort and practicality propelled by lockdowns resulted in an uptick in relaxed silhouettes, bringing a fresh take to men’s tailoring.
As always, we’ve prepared a rundown of top menswear trends from the Spring/Summer 2021 runways validated by data so you know what to expect this season.
Top Menswear Trends from the Runways
As one of the most enduring menswear trends from last year, utility’s appearance on this list is not a surprise. The utility trend has been around for several seasons, the safari jacket, in particular, skyrocketed during the Spring/Summer 2020 runway season.
Now, consumers are seeking functionality and practicality more than ever due to a shift in priorities. Designers echoed this sentiment with an uptick in functionality across this season’s collections.
From cargo pants to utility vests, it’s safe to say consumers will be sporting high-function ensembles this summer.
The utility trend is well-received in the mass market, especially during the summer months. Last year, sell-out rates peaked in July, an increase of 87% from the previous year, before slowing ahead of fall.
With long periods shut indoors, consumers crave even the idea of an adventure, which fuels the demand for utility wear. As we inch closer to summer, sales for utility products will likely continue on its current upward trajectory.
In womenswear, florals and spring are practically synonymous. However, the pattern’s domination in men’s runway signals a huge step in the androgynous movement that has been simmering in fashion.
Harry Styles and Jaden Smith are some of the young male fashion icons that have been challenging masculine ideals and blurring gender lines, spearheading the recent exploration of femininity in men’s fashion.
The flower is also a symbol of hope that designers utilised to spread positivity amid the bleak pandemic atmosphere. From retro aloha shirts seen at Saint Laurent or digitised takes at Kenzo, florals bloomed in different iterations across the runways.
While florals dominated luxury fashion and couture shows, fast fashion was not as quick on the uptake. Florals only account for 3% of the product contribution at key US and UK retailers. However, the high sell-out contribution signals a strong demand for the pattern. This is an opportunity for retailers to take a page out of the runways’ books and experiment with different floral styles as a smart way to reference this rising trend.
There was a higher concentration of head-to-toe looks at the Spring/Summer 2021 runways. Given the reclusive lifestyle most of us lead at this time, it’s clear where the designers drew inspiration from. Pyjamas or loungewear are now a socially acceptable attire for WFH and running socially-distanced errands. For this reason, designers were eager to present their refined version this season.
Co-ords have been performing well in fast fashion, accumulating over 70% sell-out rate and with a healthy newness rate. However, the head-to-toe look is not limited to loungewear in the mass market. Best-selling co-ords include utility styles, athleisure and even casual tailoring.
A season for brighter hues, designers favoured punchy colours for this year’s collection as another way of channelling optimism. Among all the colours featured, the standout shade this season is yellow. As one of Pantone’s colours of the year, the shade’s popularity on the runways is justified.
Designers favoured the colour as a pop of brightness in outerwear and tops, as seen at Hermes and Louis Vuitton. Others, like Dior, went all out with top-to-bottom yellow ensembles.
In the mass market, consumers are gravitating towards more saturated hues to brighten their mundane day-to-day. Yellow has been a leading seasonal colour in the US and UK, outperforming other shades and consistently staying above the average trend line. While its newness is only up by 20% YoY, the colour shows huge potential and high commercial value. With a median price of USD 60, retailers can leverage this trend to improve margins with higher price points.
The Wide Berth
If there is one thing to take away from the Spring/Summer fashion shows, it’s that comfort can be chic. Men’s tailoring has evolved with the shift towards comfort wear, opening the doors for relaxed silhouettes like oversized jackets and wide-leg pants. The runways were awash with oversized pants, some highly exaggerated and others more wearable. High-waisted details, which typically come with women’s wide-leg pants are also starting to crop up more frequently in designer collections.
Oversized pants have been slow to adoption in the mass market. New-ins did not start picking up until July last year, but it has been growing in larger increments with each passing month. As consumers grow more accustomed to staying at home, the demand for comfort wear has been rising exponentially.
Not only are oversized pants comfortable, but they also allow consumers to transition easily from Zoom meetings to lounging and even running errands. Oversized pants’ strong sell-out rates further attest to this trend’s longevity.
The shift towards comfort and practicality this season is undeniable. While this opens up doors for expansion, brands and retailers in the mass market are still hesitant to invest in these new menswear trends as some of them are miles away from what has dominated men’s fashion in past years. This is especially true for more eccentric details like floral prints and head-to-toe outfits.
However, brands that utilise data to validate emerging trends before buying into them can eliminate the risks involved in taking on new trends. As the trends go through their life cycles, data insights will indicate where the trends are positioned in the market and what you can do to optimise your assortment according to demand. Click here to try out the Omnilytics dashboard for yourself and see the trends in action.