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In a never-ending process, fashion draws inspiration from the society that surrounds it, as well as from the wardrobes of the world's most influential personalities. In that game, Zendaya and Dua Lipa have largely contributed to shaping the fashion trends of the year. But one thing we didn't see coming in 2021 is that the year's biggest fashion influencers seem to be none other than... TV shows, which proved unbeatable when it comes to reviving long-neglected pieces.
Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner might not like to hear it, but fiction has for the first time surpassed reality. The most influential people in the world -- that is, those with the most social media followers -- could see themselves outshone by mere TV shows. You might not think that this is anything new -- ever heard of "Sex and the City" and "Gossip Girl"? But then those particular shows were partly based on fashion. Today, we're talking about historical shows, crime dramas, comedy dramas and even thrillers, which have had a direct and major impact on people's wardrobe choices throughout the year.
"Squid Game" and the return of the sweatsuit
The Korean show, Netflix's biggest series launch, is the latest to shake up fashion trends. Released in September, the thriller revived the retro-inspired tracksuit -- a star piece during the various covid lockdowns but since relegated to the back of the closet. Global searches for this category of clothing jumped 97% after the series launch, and that's not to mention white slip-on sneakers (+145%), red jumpsuits (+62%), and white number T-shirts (+35%) -- all iconic pieces from the show -- as detailed by the Lyst* platform in its latest report. Note that the Vans slip-on sneakers featured in "Squid Game" are also enjoying renewed popularity since the episodes aired, showing a definite craze for the clothes worn by the main characters.
But "Squid Game" isn't the only series that influenced people's wardrobes this year. "Bridgerton" was a major contributor to the "Regencycore" trend, driven by the return of the corset. Lyst reports a 23% increase in online searches for this piece -- nevertheless considered restrictive for women -- while the term "regencycore" scored more than 14 million views on TikTok this year. And it's the same story for "The Serpent," starring Tahar Rahim, which spurred renewed interest in 1970s-inspired clothes like bell-bottoms (+34% when the series was released) and printed scarves (+13%), again according to data shared by Lyst. Note that the dramas "Sex Education," "Halston," "Emily in Paris" and the "Gossip Girl" reboot have also been the sources of unexpected fashion trends this year.
Zendaya and Dua Lipa: Queens of influence
While TV shows may have shaped the trends of the year, celebrities are still as influential as ever, it seems. According to Lyst, the yellow Valentino dress worn by Zendaya at the Oscars was responsible for a +222% jump in searches for that hue in the 24 hours following the ceremony. Similarly, her Balmain dress at the Venice International Film Festival contributed to a 190% jump in searches for the fashion house's gowns.
Not to be outdone, Dua Lipa has notably been a strong influence in one of the key styles of 2021 -- Y2K, referring to the 2000s. Like her counterpart, the singer sporting a Versace outfit to the 2021 Grammys led to a 245% spike in page views for the Italian brand. In its report, Lyst says that Lil Nas X, Hailey and Justin Bieber, Kai, A$AP Rocky and Rihanna, Tyler, the Creator, and Harry Styles are among this year's most influential fashion figures.
*Throughout the year, more than 150 million consumers visited the fashion shopping platform Lyst, which analyzed their searches, visits and sales figures to compile its end-of-year report, available here: https://www.lyst.com/year-in-fashion-2021/ .