Why 2020 was the year of "anti-trends" in the fashion industry

Jan 14 2021, 12:00 pm

Now that one of the most challenging years in recent history is over, we have the opportunity to examine the impact it had, and in some cases, continues to have on certain industries.

The fashion world is a case in point. Almost overnight, we went from living fast-paced lives with daily wardrobe struggles to a uniform made up of loungewear and go-to sweatpants. With work being conducted mostly at home, the desire to go shopping for head to toe outfits evaporated.

Tina Braumberger, the founder of online luxury consignment and resale site, Do Better Studios, shares her perspective of the past year in fashion with Daily Hive. “I dubbed 2020 the year of anti-trends as it was the year that our current systems were disassembled.”

Braumberger has over 10 years of experience in the fashion industry, six of which have been dedicated to luxury consignment. Before the pandemic, she says the industry was known to put out collections and trends on a very strict and rigorous timeline. “We were consuming this at an alarming rate.”

The fashion expert believes the industry hit the burnout phase around the same time that COVID-19 occurred. “Perhaps COVID allowed them the space to speak out.” She continues, “Head designers gave voice to their creative and physical exhaustion and demanded that things change.”

Fashion weeks, which previously consisted of elaborate runway shows, then shifted to creative and intimate presentations. At the same time, Braumberger says consumers themselves paused with lifestyles and work environments that looked and felt different.

“This directly affects fashion and our consumption wholeheartedly. We observed the fashion industry but there wasn’t a need to keep up at home,” she adds. “We’d put on a nice shirt for endless Zoom meetings but it no longer mattered what was on the bottom. We were buying up sweatsuits and tie-dying to cure boredom.”

There were considerable shifts in consumer fashion styling in 2020, and Braumberger says the industry saw a big influence from 90s fashion and pants with wider styles. “There were chunky boots with square toes paired with floral dresses. Victorian sleeves, belly chains and baguette bags.”

As for the consumer, interest in quality basics, athleisure, and sweatsuits grew. Braumberger notes the emergence of styling face masks with chains, too. She also saw an increase in luxury handbag and footwear sales to pair with more casual looks.

“I like to encourage investing in timeless pieces, as you’ll always see a higher return on investment from those items and you have flexibility on when to sell as the value increases year over year,” she explains. This means the ball is essentially in your court for when you want to cash out.

“Hermès Birkin, Chanel Classic Flap or a Rolex GMT-Master. If you’re splurging on more of a trend piece, I recommend selling at the height of its popularity or shortly after for a greater return.”

In 2021, Braumberger anticipates three key trends emerging. “We’re going to see a continuation of comfort, but you’ll start to see it dressed up a bit more. Comfort-chic, if you will!”

She continues, “In terms of human nature, the sweatpants have been a real treat but I believe collectively we’re longing for some normality and the idea of dressing up seems like such a novelty, but it is quite alluring. I’m optimistic that the tail end of 2021 will have these roaring 20s vibes.” 

The second trend is textile innovations. “With high profile fashion houses removing fur from their lines, we’re seeing great innovations within the faux leather textiles like cactus leather. This’ll continue into faux furs as well as sustainable and recyclable textiles.” 

Lastly, it’s philanthropy in business. “For those who were fortunate enough to keep their business afloat through 2020, I sense a strong desire to give back and support the communities around them,” she says. “Consumers will be mindful of this when purchasing.” 

Braumberger’s greatest tip when shopping online? Be intentional with your purchase, whatever it may be, and research brands for their best practices. “Less is more.” 

And for anyone hoping to do a closet clear out, Do Better Studios offers cash payouts or consignment on authentic luxury goods. Appointments are available in person within Vancouver or virtually worldwide.

“For what will be a small moment in time, we jumped off the wheel,” says Braumberger, reflecting on the year of anti-trends. “We slowed down and it was liberating.”

Catriona HughesCatriona Hughes

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