As we enter February, the dust has settled on our New Year’s resolutions, the overindulgence of Christmas is forgotten, and so are the January blues. Or are they? ‘New Year New Me’ encapsulates the feeling of a new calendar year, but most importantly points out the time-limited phenomenon of wellness. But how is the fashion industry involved? And how are they shaping the wider social shift towards wellness?
The turn of the year isn’t the only marker in spinning our fortunes. The aftermath of the pandemic alongside a shift in viewpoints and perspectives all come under the saturating sense of Good Health – with a focal point of wellness in fashion arriving at the surface through a myriad of contemporary clothes over the last year. Brands, influencers and behemoths of the well-being world around us have become frequent reminders of upright living, with an unassuming perspective of ‘Good Health Starts Here’ – just look at Emily Oberg’s athleisure influence on Sporty & Rich. No wonder this new version of ourselves is so hard to escape.
Where ubiquitous athleisure trends of casual essentials are cropping up from East to West, promotion of healthy living, wellness, positivity, and assertive claims of uplifting references are arriving in all forms of fashion. On the face of it, there are a multitude of brands transfixed on sending out that message; Sporty & Rich, Pangaia, Butter Goods, Museum of Peace & Quiet – all shine a light on the subject. But today’s consumer is willing to take it up a notch, to a place where a more recognised choice is made for their own good health, humanity and the rest of the world.
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As the events of 2020 unravelled, conscious decision making and the once-perfected approaches of some brands turned to appease the shift in consumer thinking. Attitudes towards wellness are now matching people’s everyday practises, as seeking solace and carving out new routines become the new coping mechanism. Chanel adopted a luxury yoga mat while Ader Error X Maison Kitsune promoted meditation and yoga through their collaboration. These small statements have raised the ranks of the ‘wellness fashion’ trajectory, ultimately creating a meaningful impact on the industry at large.
Alongside the cliché that is ‘new year, new me’, the post-pandemic shift is one that hasn’t been short-lived. Working concurrently with brands that are overtly sending out that message, a movement driven by the pandemic saw consumers indulging in purchases in the pursuit of wellness and ‘good living’. The ascendency of outdoor wear being a prime example: The North Face, Arc’teryx and Salomon have upheld a ‘function above all’ standpoint, staying true to the notion that underpins their products. The shift from athleisure to the outdoor wear has reached new communities, where a mantra of ‘health over wealth’ takes precedence.
The North Face proclaimed an even attitude on their approach, saying that “outdoor sports are as much about mental health as physical”, validating the convergence into the rise of outdoor wear. Although adopted on the streets, the brand’s products are being used to their true full potential – and thus still meeting their original brand messaging.
Global lockdowns, working-from-home culture and the aftermath of unpredictability has paved a new way of dressing for people. This shift has played into the hands of brands, industry figures and Gen Z movements – with such an amalgam shaping fresh micro-trends, how people think as well as positive messages making their way into the zeitgeist of today.