While the covid-19 pandemic has played havoc with the way we dress in 2020, it's far from being the only influence on wardrobes this year. British singer Harry Styles, French fashion designer Marine Serre and the Netflix show "Emily in Paris" also inspired people's shopping habits, according to the Year in Fashion 2020 report from the global fashion search platform, Lyst .
So 2020 is and always will be a peculiar kind of year, marked by the covid-19 pandemic, mass lockdowns around the world, and profound changes in the way we do things like shop and work. It's also been a year of activism, with movements like Black Lives Matter that have influenced various domains such as culture and fashion. As the end of the year approaches, it's time to take stock, and it's no surprise to see that our wardrobes have been inspired by the major events of the last 12 months.
Ethics, activism and stay-at-home style
While apparel relating to the Black Lives Matter movement proved popular worldwide, another event largely contributed to making fashion about activism this year: the US presidential elections. Americans and supporters elsewhere didn't hesitate to wear their political ideas on their sleeves -- literally -- in recent weeks. In the US, searches for terms such as "vote" were up 29% week-on-week according to the Lyst report, with T-shirts becoming the most popular political fashion statements.
Plus, 2020 saw consumers looking to shop in a more ethical, more conscious way. The global fashion search platform reports an average of over 35,000 monthly searches for "vintage fashion" in September, as well as a 104% rise in online fashion searches for secondhand-related keywords. Lockdowns also have had a major impact on fashion choices, with many consumers trading their stilettos and loafers for slippers and sneakers from the end of Q1 2020. Searches for sweatpants shot up 104% month-on-month in April, when many countries were under stay-at-home orders.
Harry Styles at the cutting edge of style
One thing that didn't change in 2020 was that celebrities continued to drive fashion trends, with Harry Styles leading the way. The British singer -- who recently wore a dress on the cover of Vogue magazine -- has a vintage style that's been a hit each time he stepped out. This is reflected in spikes in searches for the clothes he wears in music videos or public appearances. Beyoncé rides high when it comes to fashion influence too, notably when sporting the now famous Marine Serre crescent moon print catsuit in "Black Is King" (+426% in searches for pieces by the French designer in the 48 following the film's debut). Next come Kim Namjoon of BTS, US politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and rapper Travis Scott, among the celebrities who had the biggest impact on fashion this year.
As for TV shows, "Emily in Paris" leads the way in the fashion stakes this year. The Netflix drama, which gained much media attention, went all out in terms of styling its characters' looks. From the Kangol bucket hat (+342%) to the beret (+41%) to Ganni skirts (+289%), the clothes worn in the show proved a hit with its audience, keen to tap into chic French style. Note that the shows and documentaries "Normal People," "Tiger King" and "The Last Dance" got the internet buzzing too, influencing searches for ready-to-wear pieces and accessories seen onscreen.
Upcoming trends for 2021
As for the most popular items of 2020, face masks top the bill this year. Searches for the category increased 502% year-on-year, and searches for the Off-White brand's logo face mask saw a 496% increase from January to March. Safe and stylish was the name of the fashion game this year. Apart from masks, casual clothes and accessories feature as the hottest products of the year, including Birkenstock Arizona sandals, the Telfar shopping bag and Nike joggers.
After a year when comfort, and even protection, were fashion's watchwords, Lyst foresees the return of more audacious styles in 2021. In particular, 2021 looks set to see a kind of "modern-day Roaring 20s" style -- with short hems, bright colors and prints -- as well as growth in more purposeful shopping as consumers look for commitment on activism, sustainability or gender-neutral pieces.
The Lyst Year in Fashion report is based on analysis of the behavior of over 100 million consumers who searched for and bought their fashion items online in 2020 from 12,000 brands and stores. The Year in Fashion report takes into account global searches on Lyst and Google, conversion rates and sales, social media mentions for brands and products, as well as engagement stats, since January 2020.
Read the report: Lyst.com/year-in-fashion-2020 .