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The Verdict Is In: The Top Trends of 2015

So what were the top trends of 2015? Here we reflect on a year in retail, using data to understand what were the biggest commercial hits. See how well the Seventies trend performed and learn about athleisure's winning streak.
The Verdict Is In: The Top Trends of 2015 | EDITED

Well, 2015 is a wrap. But before we put the last twelve months to bed, let’s take a moment to look at some data and confirm this year’s most successful commercial hits.

1. The Seventies

The year started with the 1960s as the most-stocked decade, however the 70s soon toppled that trend from its perch. The seventies led brand and retailer campaigns, featured heavily in editorial and went on to become the year’s biggest theme through Spring and Summer.

The theme worked so well because it offered a fully merchandised story full of boho dresses, peasant blouses, high-neck tops, flared pants, all-in-ones, pinafores, fringing, crochet, denim, footwear and accessories. It was a prescriptive trend that consumers across value, mass, premium and luxury markets couldn’t get enough of.

By the numbers: the seventies trend

Fringing – More than 140,000 fringed items arrived online during 2015, with 42% of those products in the mass market. The fringed product assortment ran like this: 44% in accessories, 23% in tops, 14% in footwear and 7% in dresses. Tops and footwear were the best-selling categories. Forever 21, Nordstrom and Next were the retailers that performed best with this trend.

Maroon – Over 199,000 maroon colored items arrived in womenswear this year and 80,000 in menswear. On average it took 63 days for a maroon item to reach sell out, compared to 77 days for blue colored apparel and 71 days for red.

Flares – Nearly 11,000 pairs of flared jeans arrived online this year, up 422% from 2014. Of new styles, 46% were in the mass market and 27% in luxury. J Brand, MIH Jeans and 7 For All Mankind were the most-stocked brands.

High necks – New arrivals of turtlenecks were up 552% in 2015 compared to 2014 and 66% of new arrivals were in the premium market.

Crochet – This was a mass market dominated flash trend which ran from mid-Feb to mid-July. 18% of new products sold out and 17% of products had their price increased. The trend was mostly over by September.

2. Athleisure Moved, Even If We Didn’t

Activewear was the media’s 2015 darling. It seemed like every week there were new articles assessing the market’s growth and pondering its future potential. Thankfully, our data lets us see the exact scale of the movement. And well, it was big. For a little perspective consider this: there are three times as many sneakers on the market as there are skinny jeans right now.

Aside from purpose-made activewear, athleisure had an impact on general apparel with looser fits and wider cuts across the board.

By the numbers: athleisure

Yoga pants – 2015 arrivals were up 183% from 2014. Of those new arrivals, 23% were in the premium market, where we saw the most growth. Average price in 2014 was $60.35, and that climbed to $83.90 in 2015.

Sports bras/crops – Formerly an under-stocked market, new arrivals of sports bras increased by 162% in 2015. Of 2014’s new arrivals 73% were in the mass market with the value market in second place with 13%. In 2015, the mass market scaled back to represent 61% of stock and luxury moved into second place with 14%. On average, a sports crop sold out in 74 days, compared to 115 days in 2014. Nike, Forever 21 and Adidas were, and still are, the brands with the highest number of products on the market.

Sweatpants/Joggers – Hugely successful on the menswear market, nearly 35,000 men’s pairs arrived online in 2015, a 114% climb from 2014. The most replenished styles were in grey or charcoal and from Adidas, H&M and Nike.

Sneakers – Sneakers are still having major impact through street style and in editorial. New arrivals this year climbed 210% and the bestselling styles were Nike’s Roshe, Free 5.0 and Huarache, Adidas Superstars and Stan Smiths and New Balance’s 574, 420 and 410.

3. A Fabric Renaissance

In recent years, print has dominated retail. But 2015 was the year of the fabric renaissance, such was our attention to texture. Four specific fabrics stood out this year: corduroy, suede and denim (which were popular all year), as well as velvet (which rocketed this Fall).

By the numbers: the fabric renaissance

Suede (and suedette) apparel and bags – climbed 193% in 2015, peaking in September.

Velvet – climbed 101% in 2015, peaking in October.

Corduroy – climbed 96% in 2015, peaking in February.

Denim – Dresses, skirts, shirts, tops, shredded and ripped, denim was firmly returned to the fashion radar this year. Perhaps in a bid to combat all that sportiness? Denim was mentioned in 6,069 retailers’ email newsletters and peaked commercially in February.

4. The Outerwear Battle

Men’s and womenswear shared outerwear trends throughout 2015. Biker and bomber jackets went head-to-head in the battle for leading transitional piece. There were  66,727 new bombers and 29,630 new bikers, with bikers commanding a higher average price point, at $179.95.

By the numbers: bikers v. bombers

Bikers – Bikers climbed 56% from 2014. The most stocked brand was Rick Owens.

Bombers – Average price on a bomber in 2015 was $120.88. The most stocked brand was ASOS.

5. And Not Forgetting Accessories

Though the 70s trend propelled items like felt hats, teashade specs and fringed everything, there were two other notable accessories trends. First, backpacks which had major impact for both men’s and women’s retailers at every price point. Second, the bucket bag. A trend which was propelled by hip label Mansur Gavriel as well as luxe houses Chloé and 3.1 Phillip Lim.

By the numbers: backpacks and bucket bags

Backpacks – Over 79,000 backpacks arrived online this year, with an average price point of $65.56. Herschel Supply Company was the most stocked brand (by far), followed by Eastpak and Nike.

Bucket bags – Aside from the luxury brands, J.Crew, Mango and Madewell all did well with this shape this year. The average price of a bucket bag was $262.13 and 40% of bags which arrived in 2015 were in the luxury segment.

That’s all for our trend coverage this year! Stay tuned, we’ll be back in the new year with our picks for the biggest trends of 2016.