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When the cactus became cool

Cacti are hot, even in apparel. We look at how brands like Kenzo and retailers like Topshop and Urban Outfitters are stocking the trend.
When the cactus became cool | EDITED

Cacti are trending. Take a look on Pinterest or have a browse through a wedding blog. Go to the nearest fancy coffee shop, there too. They’re all over.  Move over, birds. This is the year retailers put a cactus on it.

Why the attention on cacti?

Homewares are en vogue. Be it tough economic times transforming us into homebodies, or the fact that our homes are now also backdrops for beaucoup selfies. Hipster lifestyles, ridiculed by some, are revered by many as the ‘cool aesthetic’. The simple forms of the cactus plays into that. And (just like hipsters) they don’t die off. It also helps that you can get them at Ikea, which we all know is the H&M of homewares.

In fact, Greenhouse Management magazine stated in its May 2016 issue: “Consumer demand for succulents is showing no signs of going away.” If that’s not a fashion thumbs-up, we don’t know what is. (Note: cacti are succulents. We had to look it up too.)

But for fashion, really?

Oh yes. There’s more than 3,000 cacti apparel items currently online, across men’s, women’s and kids’. Womenswear commands a 68% share of the prickly market and places emphasis on tops (30% of women’s cacti-wear), accessories (15%) and dresses (12%). Swim, nightwear and footwear — ouch! — even get a look-in. Urban Outfitters does a cactus piñata and cactus print bedding.

Although there was a smattering of product around last summer, the print trend began to lift in February 2016, and enjoyed its biggest month to date in May.

Cacti on point: apparel bearing the spiky plant print is up 298% from last year.

And it sells. ASOS’s $22.81 striped tee with cactus logo sold out 8 sizes in 32 days. For ASOS, a regular striped tee takes on average 67 days to sell out. Boohoo has already replenished its cactus tee in black and grey since its April 19 arrival and Topshop have returned a $58.00 long sleeved cactus print shirt to stock earlier this month.

It’s not just fast fashion either. Kenzo have cactus-print espadrilles, polo shirts and dresses. Missoni did a knitted skirt and top, Markus Lupfer has done cactus tees and House of Holland a hot pink dress.

Peak cactus

This stuff is still pouring into stores. In the last week alone, Topshop, Bloomingdale’s, Forever 21, Harrods, Boohoo andUrban Outfitters have introduced new product. Our favourite? Wildfox’s ‘go sit on a cactus‘ tee, here.

The print will still be popular through back to school (cue the dorm homewares content now), but if you’re stocking luxury cacti, you’ll want them discounted ahead of winter: they weren’t seen on the Fall 2016 runways.

But mass market retailers, sail on through. Like the owl print four years ago, there’s a lot of merch for your money with this trend. Apparently cacti even help cure a hangover. What’s not to love?

Double trend points for Original Penguin who featured cactus print and Cuban shirt in its newsletter. Keep scrolling to read about the cuban shirt trend.