Once upon a time, there was a well-understood rule in fashion: trends cycle every 20 years, and they were dominated by eras. “The Swingin’ 60s are back” or “Get Ready for the Return of the Neon 80s” headlines would crow, until suddenly, that predicate didn’t make sense anymore. Trends started repeating more rapidly, and then, the wheels came off altogether. In 2020, the idea of following a series of dominating fashion trends is as outmoded as the hoop skirt.
In fact, there is plenty of evidence that Meryl Streep’s famous “cerulean blue” speech in The Devil Wears Prada had little actual bearing on reality. Designers, for all of their power and influence, weren’t some unified cabal deciding on the direction of fashion (down to its color, cut, and length) every season. Instead, they were following what was available to them at the manufacturing level, sourced at massive textile trade shows.
Then, things got technical. Advancement in digital pattern cutting, 3D-printing, and AI-driven design saw to that. Brands started creating unique fabrics of their very own, using machine-learning to design patterns, or used repurposed or upcycled materials to formulate their collections. Bespoke took on a whole new meaning.
The breakdown in fashion trends reached its zenith when the majority of the world joined social media. Traditionally, trends operate as a manual for what to wear to appear “in” or “current”, but styles these days — being so connected by a global network — are as diffuse and diverse as the people who represent them.
What is trending on Tiktok‘s Chinese street style accounts might be more influential than what filters down through the runways of Paris. Niche pockets of social media subculture gave rise to e-boys and e-girls, Tumblr kids, Instagram influencers, and more. All of them were trendy, and none of them were wearing the same things. These little niches would drive surprising demand. Some styles, which were due to be little more than flash-in-the-pan fads, have had surprising staying power. The Valentino ‘Rockstud’ comes instantly to mind, or, even more shockingly, items castigated by the rest of fashion – like Crocs – came to roost on the shelves of the self-styled.
But all of these changes are hardly comparable to the overriding change that is forced by necessity. The “trends” that emerged on the Fall/Winter 2020 runways in February and early March were quickly rendered moot by the sprawl of a viral pandemic on every continent on earth. Why dress for a future that was materially closed?
Instead, people raced to virtual loungewear aisles, snatching up soft robes, loose pajama separates, and fuzzy slippers by the armfuls. Truthfully, many of us are still living in these easeful pieces, preferring comfort over style (or ideally a combination of the two) rather than skyscraping Italian heels or the cool silhouettes of Paris. Paradoxically, some less pragmatic items continue to sell, because as Buying Director at MyTheresa Tiffany Hsu stated, “If the brand is hot, it’s hot regardless of what’s happening.” One need look no further than Bottega Veneta to see the truth of that statement.
One merciful day, the pandemic will be over, and we’ll have a new world to navigate. However, one thing has changed permanently. We’re now living in a post-trend world. In the place of traditional fashion trends, are viral products. In a crowded and productized world, it’s impossible to point to major themes in fashion. Instead, we’re obsessing over singularities: the Telfar bag, the Lirika Matoshi ‘Strawberry’ dress, Amina Muaddi’s flared heels, the Kukhareva London ‘Isla Blush’ top, the Cult Gaia ‘Serita’ dress, the Marine Serre crescent moon print top, the Aya Muse ‘Aiva’ romper, George Keburia sunglasses. Each item has not only been wildly successful, but has single handedly spawned legions of imitators.
In order to understand where fashion is at for the Fall/Winter 2020 season — contextualized by upheaval in the world at large — we must speak in generalities. There’s no overriding right or wrong thing to wear. In fact, the emerging ethos of individuality in fashion seems to be the only real trend we can point to. Instead, we can talk about how things are broadly shaped, and you can decide which themes feel right for you.
Two things we’ve noticed right away from the new season’s offerings are heightened minimalism and a lot of pretty pastoral prints. This makes sense in light of the many crises going on in the world. Lavish designs feel wrong, so minimalism fills the need to be chic but not overdone, while lovely prints connect us to nature, proving a desire to once again be connected to the outside world.
Sustainable fashion will continue to grow in popularity until it is ubiquitous, because brands are more conscious than ever about ethical designs. This is a “trend” built on the foundation of consumer desire, and a younger generation’s more ethical value system. People are now demanding accountability from the brands they buy, and if a brand proves to be unethical, dismissive of new social norms, or contributes thoughtlessly to climate change problems, they will not last long. Furthermore, supply chain issues and material shortages due to the pandemic might cause hemlines to be shorter, or cut-out details and crop tops to prevail. Finally, cozy separates and stylish loungewear will continue to appeal to the stay-at-home crowd for the duration of the year.
Instead of offering you a series of dominating trends, we’ve curated a tight selection of smart styles for the Fall/Winter 2020 season. Sustainable accents, cozy knits, feminine florals, comfortable loungewear, and minimalist investment pieces will balance your existing wardrobe perfectly.
Savoir Flair's Fall/Winter 2020 Edit