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SS21 Runway Trends Backed by Data

As the first major runway season in the new normal, the Spring/Summer 2021 fashion weeks embodied this tumultuous year with trends that reflect consumers’ lifestyle changes and new priorities. We verified key runway trends with data and highlighted opportunities for brands in assortment building.
Atiqah Kamarudin
Atiqah Kamarudin
August 28, 2021


Key Insights

  • Increasing Need for Comfortable Dressing: A dominant theme across SS21 collections, the relaxed and oversized silhouettes are already trending and continue to be popular in the mass market.
  • Versatile WFH Outfits: Key runway trends this season reflects consumers’ lifestyle changes in the new normal. As validated by data, clothes that allow transition from lounging at home to jumping on video calls are seeing a significant increase in intake and demand.
  • Slow in Sustainability: Despite increasing coverage, brands are not disciplined in sustainable practices nor mindfully incorporating eco-friendly materials.

The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the traditional runway format this year with big names including Marc Jacobs, Gucci, and Saint Laurent notably absent from the Spring/Summer 2021 (SS21) fashion weeks. Nonetheless, the designers who showcased their collections offered a practical vision for spring.

From digital showcases in the form of videos to hybrid ‘phygital’ presentations, clear fashion themes emerged. Many used the opportunity to reflect on the current turbulent times, but in an optimistic manner. Most of the collections evoked hope and optimism, with hints of escapism present across the four fashion capitals.

From homewear to Cottagecore, this report analysed the key trends arising from the SS21 runways to guide assortment planning with data-backed insights and minimise risk.

Over 530,000 data points were screened from January to October 2020 across womenswear categories on these UK and US key fashion retailers:

  1. Asos
  2. H&M
  3. Zara
  4. Missguided
  5. Nasty Gal
  6. Shein
  7. Fashion Nova
  8. Topshop
  9. PrettyLittleThing
  10. Forever21
  11. Revolve
  12. Cos
  13. Massimo Dutti
  14. Banana Republic

All data used in this report comes from products retailing online as tracked by Omnilytics, unless otherwise mentioned.

Luxe Homewear

Comfort dressing has become a dominant theme in fashion, now with the increased time spent indoors. Loungewear, a trend that surged at the peak of the pandemic has gone mainstream as consumers prioritised comfort.

While loungewear was the centrepiece of the SS21 shows, homewear emerged as an equally noteworthy trend. This was reflected on the runways through fluffy slippers and robes as seen at Balenciaga. Even traditionally dressed-up labels like Rodarte and Tom Ford went casual, incorporating relaxed sweatsuits and luxe pyjamas in their collections.

Luxe Homewear (cont’d)

Elevated Loungewear

Expanding on the loungewear trend, designers embraced the luxe side of loungewear with silk and satin pyjamas that can transition seamlessly from day to night. The incorporation of homewear in the runways brought a positive reaction from the masses. Despite the 22% decline in new arrivals for satin pyjamas compared to last year (Chart 1), sell-out increased by 72% to an all-time high in October. This was led by Asos and Shein.

Besides pyjamas, robes and house slippers are also having a moment. The sell-out for robes increased by 148% against last year as retailers increased investment by 40%.

More time spent at home also resulted in a rising demand for house slippers, as sell-out rate remained high since May. The 288% YoY increase in sell-out backed the role of comfort in today’s consumers, with fluffy and faux fur designs preferred.

Luxe Homewear (cont’d)

Loungewear Categories to Stay

While some may experience loungewear fatigue, data shows the trend has yet to see signs of waning. It remains on the uptrend across most apparel categories (Chart 2). With more countries facing the second wave of coronavirus, loungewear is expected to continue in popularity entering 2021.

Loungewear staples – Joggers, Hoodies & Sweatshirts and Co-Ords observed over 100% surge in new-in and sell-out compared to last year (Chart 3). With a steady sell-out throughout the SS20 period, retailers continued to invest in these pieces entering Fall, especially Hoodies & Sweatshirts.

Sell-out for the three categories peaked in May as many countries were still in lockdown. Though they declined and returned to pre-pandemic rates in August, sell-out rates saw a gradual increment in October. The sharp intake in Fall coupled with steady demand for the category backed the longevity of the highly versatile style.

Luxe Homewear (cont’d)

Seasonless Appeal

For Hoodies & Sweatshirts, slouchy and oversized pieces in core colours, as well as muted palettes were popular. As consumers look to invest in seasonless items, Loungewear Sets or Co-ords emerged as must-have items due to their versatility.

Brands played with materials to accommodate to the changes in temperature – opting for lightweight knit set with matching shorts for the Spring/Summer season. Entering Fall, the sweatsuits style, with matching hoodie and joggers in soft-touch fabric such as acrylic was prevalent.

Kim Kardashian’s recent velour tracksuits launch for her brand Skims, officially brought back the Juicy Couture sweats era, adding to the longevity of the loungewear trend.

Busy Print Dominance

The new satin pyjamas that caught consumers’ hearts were mostly in classic cut, relaxed fit and with long sleeves. Busy all-over prints trumped plain ones, as they can easily transition from virtual meetings at home to quick meet-ups outside.

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About the Author

Atiqah Kamarudin
Atiqah Kamarudin
Nur Atiqah Kamarudin is a Senior Business Intelligence Analyst at Omnilytics. With past experience at Nielsen and Euromonitor, she has spent years analysing data and unearthing insights to help brands and retailers make informed decisions. She currently produces reports on the fashion industry and its changing retail scene across the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Southeast Asia.