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Image Credit: Prada

2020 is thankfully almost over. A year filled with massive socio-political movements, economic downturn and a global pandemic. Fashion similarly saw its fair share of ups and downs, below are the 15 standout fashion moments in 2020. 

Jean Paul Gaultier took his final bow

In January, on his 50th anniversary, Jean-Paul Gaultier presented his final haute couture show. The show itself was a journey of his entire career. It was in typical Gaultier style, both camp and kinky. We saw famous archival pieces like his signature sailor look and the classic corset. The show was a fitting tribute and the end of an era for the ionic ‘enfant terrible’. 

VETEMENTS used celebrity lookalikes for their FW20 show

Vetements; a brand that always likes to have fun with the fashion world, used a number of celebrity lookalikes for their fall 2020 show back in January. Mike Tyson, Naomi Campbell and Angelina Jolie were just some of the celebrities that VETEMENTS riffed off of with their shoot. The brand has often used a mix of people in their lineups, from models to friends of the brand to those hand-picked off the street. 

The Fashion industry fought back against Covid-19

The outbreak of the Coronavirus had a massive impact on the world of fashion. Many fashion houses and designers had to cease production for weeks if not months, while demand fell massively. Influential fashion figures and designers used this opportunity to raise funds to help those in need. The Kering group donated 2 million euros to Italian health care organisations, LVMH group made and donated hand sanitiser to French Health authorities, the Carla Fendi Foundation donated 100,000 euros in response to the pandemic and Chiara Ferragni and her husband Fedez donated 100,000 euros for the creation of new hospital beds in Milan. It was great to see an industry that plays such a key role in many people’s lives actively help in this time of need. 

The Last Dance was a stylish slam dunk

The Last Dance, a documentary on Michael Jordan was released at the perfect time. With everyone stuck at home, it allowed a wider audience to fall in love with basketball and learn about the greatest player of all time. Alongside all the excellent 1990’s outfits, the show brought a renewed interest in Jordan brand sneakers, both older and newer models. The show was also well-timed for the upcoming release of the Dior X Jordan 1, one of the biggest collaborations of the year. 

The Black Lives Matter movement helped reshape fashion

The rise of the Black Lives Matter movement following the unjust killing of George Floyd led to a demand for massive change in the fashion industry. Many black creatives spoke up about the injustice and racial bias they had seen in the industry. Following protests, Anna Wintour publicly apologised for not giving enough creative space to black editors. Many black women featured on the September issue covers of magazines including Vanity Fair and Vogue. The ‘Black in Fashion Council’ was launched in July by Teen Vogue Editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner and fashion publicist Sandrine Charles. Jordan Brand announced a $100 million donation which will be spread over the next 10 years and help combat racism in the United States. Designer Aurora James launched the 15 Percent Pledge, which asked retailers to ensure 15% of their stock came from black-owned brands. However, as a former model and activist Bethann Hardison said, “Words are not enough,” and it is clear that this is just the beginning. We must all work towards making fashion a more inclusive industry for all. 

Ellie Goldstein modelled for Gucci.

Back in June, Gucci posted a photo of 18-year-old model Ellie Goldstein to showcase their new Gucci Mascara L’Obscur. The photo has gone on to become the brand’s most-liked post. Ellie Goldstein has Down Syndrome and is represented by Zebedee management who are aiming to “increase the representation of people who have until now been excluded in the media.” In speaking to CULTED, Zebedee director and co-founder Laura Johnson said that Ellie’s feature could be “a driving force for change [proving] wrong all the people who think disabled people should not be visible in fashion.”

Mathew M. Williams joined Givenchy

In June 2020, Mathew M.Williams joined Givenchy as Creative Director. Known for his work as co-owner of 1017 ALYX 9SM as well as his collaborations with Lady Gaga and Kanye West, he is one of fashion’s biggest stars. Although he received mixed reviews for his debut SS21collection, his Pre-Fall 2021 collection featuring leather and studs was widely lauded. Be on the lookout for what Williams and Givenchy do next.

Heidi Slimane shook up CELINE

Heidi Slimane has always tapped into the youth as inspiration for his clothing. From the slimming suits at Dior to the teddy jackets of Saint Laurent, he has been able to work on the periphery of the fashion zeitgeist. His work at CELINE has seen him go towards a younger, more online present audience. His SS21 collection ‘The Dancing Kid’ paid tribute to the rise of the eBoy phenomenon as well as the influence of TikTok in fashion. The collection featured a mishmash of bold prints, thrifting inspired flannels and skater shorts. This was another example of Slimane’s ability to go against the current. 

Brooks Brothers filed for bankruptcy 

Brooks Brothers, founded in 1818 is the oldest clothing retailer in the United States. In the mid 19th century, they revolutionised tailoring with their ready-made suits, making formalwear more accessible to all. However, they have seen a steady decline in sales since 2017, declaring bankruptcy in July. A month later they were purchased by Authentic Brands Group; who also own Barneys New York, Nautica and Forever 21. Now with Michael Bastian; an icon of the #menswear movement, as their new creative director, they’ll be hoping to turn it around. 

Kim Jones joined Fendi while staying at Dior

In September, Kim Jones was named artistic director of haute couture, ready to wear and fur collections at Fendi. However, he would also be retaining his role as creative director at Dior Homme. It’s further proof that Kim Jones can absolutely do it all. Jones has already showcased a superb show for Dior FW20 and the work we’ve already seen teased for Fendi has fans excited for 2021. 

Raf Simons joined Prada

Simons’ sudden departure from Calvin Klein after only two years was a shock to all. After staying out of the limelight for a bit, he returned with a bang in February, joining Prada as co-creative director and collaborator. Working in partnership with Miuccia Prada, they presented their SS21 collection in September. Simons’ influence was clear to see with the usage of graphics and illustrations seen throughout the collection.

The fashion industry lost two key figures

2020 was a difficult year filled with loss, even in the fashion industry. Kenzo Takada, the legendary designer who brought Japanese influence to European fashion, passed away in October from complications of Covid-19. Kansai Yamamoto, who’s work gained massive traction in the 1970s and 1980s, passed away earlier in July following a battle with Leukemia. Both designers were immortalised in a collaboration spearheaded by Kenzo creative director Felipe Oliveria Baptista. The collection was inspired by their archives and showcased their love for fashion and design in its purest form. 

Supreme bought by VF Corp

In November, Supreme was acquired by VF Corp for $2.1 billion. VF Corp owns many brands that Supreme has collaborated with on multiple occasions including Timberland, Vans and The North Face. Many jokingly stated that with this acquisition we would start seeing Supreme on the high street or sold in malls but that seems to be more parody in truth. VF Corp has always been able to keep most of its brands in the cultural zeitgeist while being able to expand reach and profits. The acquisition will also not affect James Jebia’s creative control over the brand. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, will change for Supreme in 2021.

Daniel Lee impressed at Bottega Veneta 

Daniel Lee’s time at Bottega Veneta has left many fashion critics divided. His AW20 collection received mixed reviews with some stating the blandness of the show. Despite that, Bottega Veneta’s fanbase has continued to grow and Lee’s SS21 collection was a hit. Shown in secret to a selected celebrity audience back in October, this collection emphasised softer, warmer pieces, in tune with the more casual approach that the working from home era has had in fashion. 

The Rubric Initiative was launched

Launched in November, the Rubric Initiative was created to help diversify the fashion world. Supported by the likes of Munroe Bergdorf, Virgil Abloh and Kim Jones, the platform’s goal is to support young people of colour as they enter the fashion industry. Alongside paid internships and mentoring, the initiative will offer workshops, portfolio reviews and digital group seminars. Set to begin in 2021, the Rubric Initiative is another example of opening the world of fashion to all. 

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