Year in Review: 10 fashion-related things that happened in 2020

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TOKYO, JAPAN - OCTOBER 17: Rinrin is seen on the street wearing Perminute shirt and dress, plaid print face mask and hair tie, yellow leggings and black shoes during the Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo 2021 Spring/Summer on October 17, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Matthew Sperzel/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - OCTOBER 17: Rinrin is seen on the street wearing Perminute shirt and dress, plaid print face mask and hair tie, yellow leggings and black shoes during the Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo 2021 Spring/Summer on October 17, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Matthew Sperzel/Getty Images)

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It goes without saying that 2020 has been one weird year. What with lockdowns, masks, Trump and bushfires, there hasn’t been a whole lot of fashionable events to be involved in. Even ‘Fashion Month’ was effectively cancelled. Despite this, however, all of us stuck at home have been both searching for fashion items, and shopping for them online, even if there were more purchases of elastic waists than of towering high heels.

Here are the 10 fashion-related things that happened in 2020.

Sustainable fashion is still important

Sustainable fashion was really hitting its stride at the end of 2019, with more brands and consumers actively involved in trying to fix one of the fashion industry’s worst aspects. And one would have thought that with the arrival of Coronavirus all that would have been forgotten; luckily, however, the issue of sustainability in fashion continued to power along.

Perhaps people had more time to think about being more environmentally aware, consuming more consciously, or they actually didn’t have the money to spend and realised that buying fast fashion wasn’t something they really needed.

While certain things like upcycling, reusing and reducing waste, not flying, and more considered buying did happen this year, other areas were not so lucky. In many cases, fashion production workers’ rights were ignored as manufacturers cut costs to cope with the COVID economy – consumers stopped shopping; reducing profit margins; salaries and jobs for industry workers too. While reducing consumption is a positive outcome for the environment, new sources of income now need to be found to replace those jobs. Something to work on in 2021.

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 15: Kenzo Takada, Azzedine Alaia and Grace Jones attend An Azzedine Alaia fashion Show during Paris Fashion Week in the 1990s in Paris, France. (Photo by Foc Kan/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 15: Kenzo Takada, Azzedine Alaia and Grace Jones attend An Azzedine Alaia fashion Show during Paris Fashion Week in the 1990s in Paris, France. (Photo by Foc Kan/WireImage)

Vale Kenzo

The iconic Paris-based Japanese fashion designer Kenzo Takada died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, aged 81 from complications related to Coronavirus. Takada debuted his eponymous brand in 1970 and from the start was renowned for his colourful and bold designs. The brand Kenzo was bought by LVMH in 1993, and Takada retired in 1999 to become a world-renowned painter. In January 2019 he reentered the industry, launching K-3, a luxury lifestyle and homewares brand.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 17:  (L-R) Angela Sarafyan, Riccardo Sciutto and Jameela Jamil attend Sergio Rossi & Elizabeth Stewart Celebrate Capsule Collection at Pop-Up at Westfield Century City on January 17, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Sergio Rossi )
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 17: (L-R) Angela Sarafyan, Riccardo Sciutto and Jameela Jamil attend Sergio Rossi & Elizabeth Stewart Celebrate Capsule Collection at Pop-Up at Westfield Century City on January 17, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Sergio Rossi )

Vale Sergio Rossi

Another loss due to COVID-19, legendary Italian shoe designer Sergio Rossi died aged 84, at the Bufalini Hospital in Cesena, Italy. Rossi began designing shoes in the 1950s, and officially launched his namesake brand in 1968. Until 2004, he ran the brand when it was sold to luxury conglomerate Kering. Rossi worked with major fashion designers including Azzedine Alaïa, Gianni Versace, and Dolce & Gabbana, and is perhaps best known for his sexy sandals, particularly the Opanca, which has a curved sole that reaches up the sides of the foot, and the ultimate classic, the Godiva pump.

PARIS, FRANCE - DECEMBER 14: Gabriella Berdugo wears a gray wool coat with fringes from Dorothee Schumacher, black leggings with strappy legs, black leather Gucci loafers shoes, a green quilted leather Chanel bag, on December 14, 2020 in Paris, France. (Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - DECEMBER 14: Gabriella Berdugo wears a gray wool coat with fringes from Dorothee Schumacher, black leggings with strappy legs, black leather Gucci loafers shoes, a green quilted leather Chanel bag, on December 14, 2020 in Paris, France. (Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)

The year of loungewear

For almost ten months people around the world have been dipping in and out of various types of lockdowns, working from home, and sometimes taking Zoom calls in their pyjamas. Yep, it has definitely been the Year of Loungewear.

Obviously, loungewear has been becoming more and more popular over the last decade or so - think wearing yoga pants to brunch - but this year people were looking for anything to create a sense of comfort and safety and that meant cashmere joggers, matching sweats and lots of items with elastic waists. In the US one of the most popular looks was Entireworld’s matching candy-coloured jogger pants and sweaters. So popular, in fact, that apparently there is STILL a waiting list for certain colours. #sweatpantsforever

The year of #supportlocal

Around the world, small, independent fashion brands reached out to their neighbours in the quest to get more local support. Whether due to restricted movement - Melbourne’s 5k lockdown for example - or only a desire to help, more consumers moved towards the idea of shopping locally not just for items like food, but also for handmade face masks, soft furnishings and comfy clothes. In Singapore, the Singapore Brand Office and Singapore Tourism Board launched the Made With Passion initiative to support Singaporean lifestyle, fashion and food brands.

The Front Row
The Front Row

Singapore’s virtual fashion week

With global lockdowns in full swing, the Singapore fashion industry decided to get together and launch a virtual fashion week. Entitled The Front Row, the 10-day online-only event featured 21 fashion and accessories brands that included labels from Singapore and around the regions, in a series of fashion films, Zoom talks and an online shop.

JW Anderson's colourblock cardigan. (PHOTO: JW Anderson)
JW Anderson's colourblock cardigan. (PHOTO: JW Anderson)

The TikTok sweater

Yes, we’re talking about the wildly colourful JW Anderson cardigan that helped Harry Styles basically break TikTok. The fact that it cost US$1,479, which nobody could afford, combined with all the extra time on our hands, this piece of clothing went viral as knitters and crocheters around the world decided to create their own. Anderson was so happy with the love that he even released a free pattern for the garment.

Louis Vuitton knit face mask. (PHOTO: Louis Vuitton)
Louis Vuitton knit face mask. (PHOTO: Louis Vuitton)

A US$961 face shield

From not even knowing what ‘PPE’ stands for, to not being able to leave the house without it, face masks and shields suddenly became the hottest item to buy. While many of us made do with either homemade versions or the ubiquitous ‘blue ones’, others were willing to fork out US$961 if it came emblazoned with the Louis Vuitton logo.

SHOP THE LOOK: You might not be able to buy the face shield online, but you can certainly get your hands on a Louis Vuitton face mask

Large Telfar shopping bag. (PHOTO: Telfar)
Large Telfar shopping bag. (PHOTO: Telfar)

That Telfar bag

It’s been a long time in fashion history since a non big luxury brand bag has gone as viral as the Telfar Shopping Bag. First launched in 2014 as a vegan tote bag, this handy-sized item really went viral when American Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez carried it onto Capitol Hill. According to reports, searches for that bag spiked 163% after photos were released on social media. Have you got one yet?

SHOP THE LOOK: Telfar Shopping Bags

Strawberry Midi dress. (PHOTO: The Strawberry Dress)
Strawberry Midi dress. (PHOTO: The Strawberry Dress)

The nap dress trend

It started with a loose, printed dress from American brand Hill House Home, aptly entitled the ‘Nap Dress’, worked its way via Prairie Dresses, The Strawberry Dress, and CottageCore, before ending up on everyone’s must-have list for working-from-home. A nap dress is basically a pretty cotton dress that you can throw on instead of wearing workout gear or sweats all day long in lockdown. There are now any number of these dresses to buy, including from Singapore brands Beyond The Vines, Zerrin and Weekend Sundries.

SHOP THE LOOK: Hill House Home Nap Dresses, Lirika Matoshi Strawberry Dress

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