There’s no denying it: this year in fashion has been weird. Whilst the vaccine has brought the key to unlocking society, and with that the green light to dress up and go out, the effects of the pandemic lingered. New, hybridised work habits highlighted the need for comfortable workwear, and the return of in-person fashion shows provided both inspiration and brands to watch. Ongoing trends such as Y2K reigned supreme, with labels such as Blu Marine and Miu Miu tapping into the movement in Milan. Elsewhere, Nensi Dojaka’s dresses and Kanye’s YEEZY Foam Runners were some of the year’s most wanted items. Collabs were rife and sometimes bizarre – with Palace tapping beer brand Stella Artois for a drop and Gucci and Balenciaga coming together for a much-hyped hacker project.
Which brings us onto Lyst’s year in fashion – the definitive report bringing us the lowdown on the year’s trends, inspiration, and what’s hot for next season has just dropped. The three movements that defined 2021 in fashion were Genderless, Conscious and Digital fashion. Pioneers such as Thom Browne led the way in Genderless, which saw an increase in people searching for skirts, and celebrities such as A$AP Rocky had searches for pearls at an 86% increase year-on-year.
Digital fashion really took off – in part, as a necessity during lockdowns. As style is increasingly experienced and expressed online, fashion brands’ digital offerings have spread. From the rise of NFTs and virtual drops, to collaborations with video games like Balenciaga x Fortnite, digital fashion defined 2021. Within 24 hours after the release of the physical capsule collection, searches for “Balenciaga x Fortnite” spiked 72% while demand for Balenciaga increased 49%.
Eco-conscious shopping is also on the rise, as demand for vegan leather products, such as Telfar’s iconic ‘shopper’, increased 178% and searches for plant-dyed products grew 131% year-over-year. Celebrities opted for sustainable options on the red carpet, and we saw a rise in upcycling projects from houses like MCM and Levi’s. We’re taking a look at some of the biggest takeaways from Lyst’s year in fashion, and looking to what’s to come next year.
1. DOPAMINE DRESSING
Encapsulated as ‘dopamine dressing’, this year was big for maximalism – especially in the accessories department. Fashion week saw big brands such as Gucci and Givenchy favour the accessory – from crystal-encrusted basketball bags to sex toy necklaces. From March to August, demand for bold jewellery skyrocketed 545%.
2. HYBRID WORKWEAR
Miu Miu showed us what a return to the office infused with a heavy dose of Y2K nostalgia could look like at their September fashion week show. Elsewhere, the requirement of comfort saw demand for oversized suits at 109% compared to last year, and we saw plenty on the runway from Raf Simons.
3. SPORTSWEAR MANIA
Fashion seeks inspiration from everywhere – including the Olympics. The return of the annual global sports competition saw Skateboarding take the limelight, with the Nike SB range, specifically its Dunk Low sneakers, jumping 100% in just 48 hours.
The Y2K fashion renaissance continued in full force this year, as younger generations sought inspiration from the throwback outfits of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, as well as brands that had their heyday in the 2000s, including Von Dutch, Juicy Couture, and Ed Hardy. The rise of TikTok helped too, with the #y2kfashion hashtag generating more than 220 million views and searches for “Y2K” increasing 389% year-on-year.
What is kidcore? Well, it’s the preoccupation with nostalgia – bright colours, bold silhouettes and simple design. This movement was fuelled by celebrities such as Tyler the Creator, and manifested in fashion as Balenciaga’s croc boots, along with Bottega’s classic green puddle boots. We’re not mad at it.
1. NENSI DOJAKA
Nensi Dojaka’s black asymmetric mini dress was among The Lyst Index’s ten hottest women’s products in Q1 of 2021, along with, on average, over 7,000 searches per month for the remainder of the year. As 2021’s sheer, sexy version of the classic LBD, the London brand’s coveted style earned an LVMH Prize and is a prime sartorial example of the year’s return to going-out fashion.
London College of Fashion grad Maximilian Davis launched his brand in 2020 and has thrived through the pandemic. Debuting under Fashion East at LFW, searches for the brand increased 49% in April and celebrity clients include Naomi Campbell, Rihanna, and A$AP Rocky.
3. HARRIS REED
Known for their gender fluid approach to fashion, Harris Reed first broke out onto the scene for dressing Harry Styles. Searches for the designer grew by 189% within Q1 of 2021 following the release of Styles’ Vogue December 2020 cover wearing one of Reed’s pieces.
MOST WANTED PRODUCTS
1. BOTTEGA MINI JODIE BAG
The Italian fashion house has another hit accessory as the most-searched bag on Lyst of 2021. With celebrity fans like Kendall Jenner as well as becoming a street style staple at the most recent fashion month, the bag taps into the minimalist luxury aesthetic with its Instagram-friendly,‘90s-inspired look.
2. THOM BROWNE’S SKIRTS
Thom Browne has had a major year, tapping into the Genderless dressing movement with his pleated skirts. Searches for “men’s wedding skirts” jumped 48% year-on-year and Thom Browne’s black pleated skirt was one of the most-wanted items of 2021.
3. NENSI DOJAKA DRESS
As mentioned, Nensi Dojaka has risen to the top this year. Searches for the LBD of 2021 peaked during the summer, after being spotted on a slew of celebrities and with the news that she was an LVMH finalist.
1. NIKE AIR FORCE 1
This sneaker staple is still on top, due to the simple design and endless wearing opportunities securing itself as a Gen-Z favourite. It seems the all-white colourway is the ultimate sneaker top-dog, with users on Lyst searching for the product more than 4,000 times each day.
2. YEEZY FOAM RUNNER
Have resellers gone too far? Since its first release in June 2020, the Yeezy Foam Runner has seen success with every drop. During 2021, sneaker was released in more colorways and thanks to this searches for the sneaker spiked 411% in Q3. Priced at US $75 at retail, the Yeezy Foam Runner can be flipped for more than 720% its original value on resale platforms.
3. NIKE DUNK LOW X OFF-WHITE “THE 50” SERIES
The exclusive collaboration, first released on Nike’s SNKRS App, featured 50 renditions of Off-White x Nike Dunk Low that were distributed at random among buyers. In just 48 hours after the launch, searches for the sneaker spiked 236%.
1. YEEZY X GAP
Despite the limited products being released in 2021, there was a high level of hype around this collaboration. When the partnership was revealed in early June, searches for both brands increased, for Yeezy by 320% and Gap by 325%. The Blue Round Jacket saw 50,000 searches for the collaboration in a span of 24 hours on news of its release.
2. TELFAR X UGG
Back in 2020, Telfar’s collaboration announcement with UGG was well-received with its pre-sale selling out within 24 hours – all nine months in advance of its official release. In July, a month after the partnership’s launch, demand for Telfar increased by 275%, along with UGG by 262%.
Gucci and Balenciaga broke the internet with the announcement of their ‘hacker’ project back in April. In the two months after it was shown there were over 5,000 daily searches for the collaboration, and a new template for mega-brand link-ups was set which saw Fendi join forces with Versace in September.
LOOKING TO 2022
1. FUTURISTIC SHOES
With the success of the Yeezy Foam Runner and Nike Go Flyease, as well as the rise of the Converse Run Star Hike, footwear is starting to take shape in a whole new way. Sneaker designer Salehe Bembury, who recently collaborated with Crocs, is one of the experts paving the way.
With the maximalism of this year, it only seems right that a swing back into minimalism is set to take shape in 2022. Paired with the news of Phoebe Philo’s eponymous label, the designer will no doubt bring back her signature minimalist aesthetic that was so loved at Céline.
3. WEIRD COLLABORATIONS
As explored, collaborations have been plentiful and bizarre this year – and this shows no signs of slowing down. Palace linking up with Stella Artois to open the pop up pub ‘Palace Artois’, it seems there’s plenty of scope for any brand in any industry to link up with a fashion industry player.
BRANDS TO WATCH
1. STEFAN COOKE
The king of detailing, Stefan Cooke’s unconventional approach to fashion presentations and design has earned him a committed fan base this year. A$AP Rocky has championed the British designer too, leading to year-on-year searches for the designer jumping by 214%.