Monday, July 15, 2024

Fashion Trends of the Pandemic

Fashion Trends 2020

Absolutely every single fashion trend predicted for 2020 was wrong. No-one seemed to see Covid-19 coming and so no-one predicted the fashion trends of the pandemic. 2020 has been the weirdest year and the fashion trends that have emerged should easily have been predicted. Yes, hindsight is easy, but there is one trend at least as you’ll see, that we at Cocktail Revolution predicted 8 years ago!

Did the fashion industry know there would be a pandemic. Yes! Everyone knew. President Barrack Obama even prepared by setting up a unit to deal with it, before his successor disbanded it all. Biochemists, epidemiologists and world leaders have always known a pandemic was on the cards. After all, after the Spanish Flu, the world has recently experienced, Ebola, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, and SAARS.  It was only a matter of WHEN a global pandemic would break out. Yet the fashion industry among others failed to plan for it.

Here are the fashion trends of the pandemic that the fashion industry should have planned for, but didn’t. You won’t be surprised to see these trends because it’s you, the consumer who is driving them, not the big companies in the fashion industry.


The effect of the pandemic has been to accentuate existing social trends. Do It Yourself, Digitize, Recycle and Re-purpose as much as you can. These are all preexisting trends that have taken off during Covid times.

Fashion houses don’t know what to do with their old stock, their new collections or their next collections.  Yet trends towards zero waste, upcycling, using dead-stock, ethical supply chains and sustainability were already strong. You, the Australian consumers are leading the world in the push towards better care of the planet and industry workers!

 Street Wear to PJ’s

Before the pandemic street wear had already become a global trend. Once Covid-19 made it’s presence felt across the globe and countries went into lock down, people moved from wearing street wear to their pyjamas. There wasn’t much reason to get out of bed or get dressed, since no-one was going out.

Pyjamas are comfortable, comforting and good for the soul. Because what we wear influences how we feel and vice-versa, we should have seen this trend coming!

The pandemic is definitely generating a rethink about what we wear. With lock downs and restrictions, we don’t need to get out of the house as frequently as we did before Covid-19. The need to dress up to face the world has become less of an imperative at a time that we are reaching for comfort and reassurance. In uncertain times we are choosing to wear what makes us feel soothed and reassured. Our dominant choice of clothing during the pandemic, pyjamas and the track suit,  is showing just how closely fashion and emotion are interrelated.

Working From Home Wear

At the same time, in  the world of fashion, there are two conflicting tensions.  On the one hand the trend toward comfort, wearing pyjamas all day at home, and active wear, is receiving  a boost. On the other, there’s a drive towards wearing bright colours on top with patterns and prints in a new kind of tailoring.  Top-half “tailoring” with bottom-half comfort is the new work wear, as people engage in Zoom meetings and try to uplift dwindling spirits.


Two More WFH Trends We’re Seeing

Apart from a move to face masks, two specific fashion trends we’re seeing are a move towards headwear and wigs. The head cover trend is being driven by women who are not getting back to their hair salons as frequently, and who suddenly need to leave the confines of home.

Consumer Driven Trends

The strongest fashion trend arising from the pandemic is that it is the consumers who are driving fashion trends and not the fashion industry.  When we started Cocktail Revolution 8 years ago, many people asked, and still do,  what is the “Revolution” part of our name referring to? With our focus on snapping people every week in the street, the revolution we were foreshadowing was that consumers, not the fashion industry would be driving the fashion trends. It would be our job to show what people are actually choosing to wear on the street, outside of stylised magazine fashion editorials.  And so, after 8 years, our view of the future has shown to be correct.  Ordinary people are setting the trends for clothing and it is the fashion industry that has to play catch up.

One of the reasons why consumers are driving the trends at the moment is that during the pandemic, international fashion festivals have so far not been able to generate the usual fever pitch excitement over their virtual runways.  There’s not such a big imperative to pay attention to what the big fashion houses are unveiling when there aren’t any events scheduled to which new outfits can be worn.

And so, for the first time, designers are heeding not so much the futuristic trend reports associated with such indispensable trend-predictors such as WGSN, but the consumer preference for comfort over form along with a demand for ethical supply chains and sustainable production practices.

Slow Fashion

The pandemic has also highlighted the tension between the fast fashion industry and the slow fashion movement. Covid-19 has seen an increased push toward locally made, sustainable, longer lasting garments and longer time frames to produce clothing made with careful craftsmanship.

Fast fashion supply chains don’t make any sense during the pandemic. There’s a massive demand for locally made products including fashion. Slow fashion is key right now.

Future Trends Post Pandemic

Small, independent fashion labels with lower operating costs and less complicated, more transparent in-house supply chains are in many ways better able to respond to consumer demands.   Smaller scale local producers are also better able to quickly adapt in ways that big fashion houses with international supply chains are not.

The pandemic has let the slow fashion genie out of the bottle.  There’s a way to go yet and fast fashion is not yet dead, but the current consumer led trend towards slow fashion will only continue.

Check out pre-pandemic street style trends from our coverage of VAMFF 2020.

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