This year brought the vaccine and with it a transition to the “new normal”; we dressed up to go out and to make ourselves feel good. But the effects of covid remained; we craved comfort and a new form of workwear, while on-screen moments continued to influence us more than ever. Over the course of the year 150 million+ shoppers looked on fashion shopping platform Lyst, and we’ve crunched their searches, views and sales metrics to celebrate the stories that shaped the year in fashion. From the rise of digital fashion to dopamine dressing, Harris Reed to Hailey Bieber, here’s what was trending in 2021.
As personal style is increasingly experienced and expressed online, fashion brands’ digital offerings have spread, from NFTs and virtual drops to collaborations with video games, like Roblox. Most recently, Balenciaga collaborated with Fortnite, offering exclusive in-game digital fashion items, as well as a physical line of merch. Within 24 hours after the release of the physical capsule collection, searches for “balenciaga x fortnite” spiked 72% while demand for Balenciaga increased 49%. When New York indie fashion label Collina Strada hosted its first-ever metaverse runway show in May, searches for the brand grew 28%.
In 2021, celebrities have been using their platforms more to bring awareness to sustainable fashion. Joaquin Phoenix wore the same Stella McCartney tuxedo for awards season, while Lorde chose brands that use deadstock fabrics — Collina Strada and Bode for her “Solar Power” music video and Met Gala red carpet look, respectively. Eco-conscious shopping is also on the rise, as demand for vegan leather products increased 178% and searches for plant-dyed products grew 131% year-over-year.
Gender lines continue to blur in fashion, and this year the movement has been spearheaded by some of music’s biggest names. After Lil Nas X wore a Louis Vuitton skirt to appear on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in May, searches for “Vuitton skirt” went up 138% that same month. Plus, Justin Bieber, Bad Bunny, and A$AP Rocky have recently been spotted in pearl necklaces; searches for the item have jumped 86% year-on-year.