From the Suez Canal memes to Harry and Meghan’s explosive Oprah interview – a lot went down in 2021’s first quarter. So how did fashion trends shape up? And did you have some of these best sellers in your line up?
Using EDITED data, we examined what trends were successful and where they’re going next, so retailers know whether to ramp up or go easy on investment.
Before we spill our data-infused tea, let’s take a look at the retailers doing it right so far:
Lululemon continues to go from strength-to-strength, recently reporting its online sales surged 92% YoY for the period ending January 31st. The yogawear giant states it’s on track to reach its 2023 targets, including doubling its menswear range and online sales, and quadrupling international revenues.
Zalando reported an “extraordinarily strong start to the year” with its 2021 revenue expectations significantly above market projections. According to Reuters, sales made on the platform are said to increase 27%-32% between 13.6 billion euros and 14.1 billion euros this year, and above analyst expectations of 25% growth.
These examples prove investing in ecommerce is critical to post-pandemic survival. Have you had a tough Q1? Talk to us today to find out how EDITED can help your business.
Now, a closer look at the successful trends for Q1. Did you have any of these winners in your assortment?
The comeback kid – denim
After being overshadowed by a year of pandemic dressing centered on jersey and fleece, Q1 2021 solidified the material’s long-awaited return into assortments. In EDITED’s recent webinar Runway to Retail: How to Merchandise Fashion Week’s Biggest Trends, our data unveiled retailers are placing stronger emphasis on jeans within new bottoms assortments than sweatpants for womenswear. Consumers responded well to this shift, where new styles made up 6% of bottoms selling out compared to sweatpants at 5%.
As vaccine campaigns continue to roll out across the US and UK combined with denim’s undeniable presence on the Fall 2021 runway, retailers can feel optimistic once again about the wardrobe staple’s performance. Comfort will still play a core role, so ensure a soft hand feel is applied alongside relaxed cuts like straight and wide-leg silhouettes. This will appeal to remote workers wanting an alternative to sweats and win over the Gen Z consumer who has made their disdain for the skinny jean TikTok public.
A more directional trend to jump on before it floods the mainstream, luxury designers have successfully evolved patchwork denim from spring to fall. This style ticks all the boxes as a surefire trend with runway backing and influencer approval. It’s easily merchandised as the style transcends two of fashion’s most coveted and commercial eras, the 70s and 90s, and also serves as a way for retailers to repurpose and upcycle material offcuts, working towards fashion’s sustainability goal of closing the loop.
Loungewear is alive and well
Despite denim’s resurgence and the influx of occasionwear on the runway, the loungewear trend is still pulsing. Jeans weren’t as sought after for menswear consumers as womenswear this quarter, with cozy joggers outpacing demand, making up 8% of total bottom sell outs. Furthermore, loungewear styles arriving since the start of the year for men across T-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, sweatpants and leggings saw a combined uptick in arrivals by 34% YoY and a whopping 64% increase in sell outs. Items that blur into streetwear saw the most success this quarter with hoodies and sweatpants in oversized fits, tie-dye and color-blocking proving to be the top moving trends to date.
Sell outs across these categories for womenswear grew too, but by a more conservative 9%. Leggings were a top performer for women’s loungewear with ribbed knits, split hems and seamless styles seeing high SKU movement.
Though there’s still interest, retailers need to invest smartly to carry loungewear into the post-pandemic world. Luxe loungewear is strong already in retail, with brands like PacSun and Splendid giving spring styles the premium treatment with French Terry. Snuggly fabrics will continue into fall as glimpsed on the runway with suede, teddy and cashmere. To keep the trend fresh, look to harness other notable runway themes. Matching branded track sets lend themselves to 90s nostalgia, while styling knitted jumpers or polo shirts with matching sweatpants can evoke preppy dressing.
Green is shaping up to be the color of 2021
Ganni, Urban Outfitters and more retailers’ summer communications were awash with green, associating the hue with positivity and a fresh start. Bright, vibrant shades saw success in high summer assortments merchandised across basic tees, floral blouses, sleeveless tops and tailored trousers. More earthy hues of olive and forest green worked well as a new neutral. For year round appeal, apply this darker hue to core styles like ribbed dresses, jumpsuits and linen.
Gen Z’s continued love for Y2K dressing, a trend that exudes bright colors, has helped drive green’s success. Retailers designing into this aesthetic for the teen market can play with fabrics like silk and ribbed materials to give the saturated color more dimension.
For retailers who didn’t deliver green in Q1, don’t panic! It will continue as an essential color story for future fall ranges. Introduce it into some of the hottest themes fresh off the runway to minimize risk, such as the preppy trend. Checks and plaids can be colored up and applied to co-ords, pleated mini skirts and sweater vests to build a collegiate look. Apply juniper, seaweed and dark forest shades to the Softcore aesthetic through outerwear in fluffy, voluminous textures and thick ribbed fabrics. Carry the shade through to complimentary accessories in tactile velvet, suede and teddy materials for footwear and handbags.
While yellow resonated in menswear
Menswear took a cue from Pantone’s Color Of The Year, with yellow emerging as a success story in Q1 and appealing to several consumer groups. For the more traditional dresser, the sunny shade saw sell outs applied to linen. Inspired by the hype from the frozen yellow Yeezys and upcoming cinematic licensing opportunities, the hue performed well within sportswear and streetwear-influenced items such as hoodies, T-shirts, sliders and active shorts. This is an easy theme to buy into the shade for more cautious retailers wanting to test the water – look to pops of yellow through details or products at an entry-level price point.
More directional and trend-led retailers had no problem selling through bold yellow styles. Spliced hoodies at boohooMAN sold out with no discounts in just nine days. Fast fashion players can look to neon and fashion-forward details like toggles or patchwork on cargo trousers to attract the more daring consumer.
Yellow may not be traditionally associated with the autumnal palette outside of mustard. However, the fall menswear shows signaled for more playful tones to continue selling through the colder months with bright yellows applied to heavy woolen overcoats at Prada and pastel suiting at Botter. This hue was a standout in puffer jackets and, with the outdoors becoming more important than ever, retailers can’t ignore yellow for a statement piece.
Nothing makes consumers tick like references to eras bygone. For Q1, accessories proved an easy way to introduce nostalgia into assortments. Eternal 90s staple, the bucket hat saw a 24% increase in new arrivals YoY and successful SKU activity in black and neutral, as well as our identified fashion colors – green and yellow. Keep the momentum up for colder months in fall-approved patterns such as checks and animal prints. Y2K-friendly chunky rings continued to dominate jewelry assortments while continued demand for comfort footwear drove sell outs in flip flops by 11% YoY.
Keep 90s accessories in mind for occasionwear stories as consumers shop for mini bags and glittery clutches similar to what they’ve spied on the runway to compliment going out ensembles as venues reopen. The 1970s will serve as a core era of inspiration for the upcoming fall season so be sure to include headscarves, retro sunglasses, platform shoes and croc and snake skin textures in your assortments.
Stay up-to-date with how future trends evolve in our weekly Insider Briefing.