1. CASUAL & COMFORTABLE
Before coronavirus, casual dressing for the office was fast becoming the norm. As consumers return to work, we can expect company dress codes to relax as we enter a new era. While tailoring and traditional workwear will be scaled back, that doesn’t mean it will no longer have a place in retailers’ assortments.
In China, with major cities returning to work, sell out increases were noted across essentials such as blazers, polo shirts and trousers at the end of April. The postponements of weddings and events will see pent up demand for dressier apparel, so push items that can double for meetings and special occasions.
In April, lockdown measures started to ease across Europe. Yet, comfort dressing remained at the fore with sweatpants and leggings seeing some of the highest percentage increases YoY in Germany and Italy, suggesting the longevity of the trend post-lockdown. With key regions such as the US and UK remaining indoors as summer approaches, interest will turn to jogger shorts and demand will grow for lightweight loungewear in breathable fabrics.
2. THE WORLD REMAINS ‘ACTIVE’
Outdoor activities are still top of mind as customers have a newfound appreciation for getting out of the house. This will only amplify once lockdown is lifted, making the present a prime time to promote products for activities that can be enjoyed now and in the future such as hiking, camping and cycling.
The COVID-19 pandemic will pique consumer interest in products with antibacterial fabrics and finishes – an area of untapped opportunity for sport and outdoor gear. Be sure to highlight these properties to customers in addition to promoting mainstay activewear features such as moisture-wicking and absorbency.
3. CLEANER LOOKS AND SOFTER TONES
As retail is hurtling towards an inevitable recession, trends born from 2008’s GFC are starting to rear their head. The recession saw a backlash against excess with maximalism and logomania eventually giving way to cleaner lines and a crisper aesthetic.
Excluding activewear from the analysis, overall plain apparel sell outs are outpacing printed. YoY comparison shows a greater percentage increase in sellouts for plain across all regions except for the US and UK.
Millennial pink was another prominent trend to emerge post-recession. It was already making a comeback in menswear last summer along with the success of pastel tones across apparel, footwear and accessories for women has helped it return to favor. Since the outbreak, pink has seen particular success in the UK with a 69% increase in majority SKU sell outs compared to a 14% increase in China and a 4% increase in the US market.
While bold color is being used by retailers to lift consumer’s spirits soft tonal colors will have a place in the future. Softer pinks were noted on the runway, while traditional feminine dressing themes will continue to pave the way for millennial pink’s reintroduction.
4. LOCAL SUPPORT
Retailers have already come together to show support for communities during coronavirus, whether through donations or giving exposure to small local businesses. According to Mintel, 57% of Chinese consumers said that they feel closer to community shops because of the outbreak, while 54% of German consumers say that it’s important for them to feel part of a community. This will continue post-pandemic as retailers are now aware of how offshore manufacturing can be impacted in a crisis. Moving forward, we can expect a heightened focus on promoting artisan fashion and craftsmanship.
5. FUTURE DRESSING UP
With events and social gatherings cancelled, retailers are promoting dressing up for staying in. These edits have proved popular across fast fashion retailers, making already in-stock dresses, shirts and heels work despite social distancing measures. As demand builds for future events, avoid discounting items that can lend themselves to Fall 2020 trends such as voluminous dresses and 70’s inspired nostalgia.
6. VEGAN MATERIALS
Shift in consumer tastes and the spotlight on sustainability have already put exotic skins and leather in fashion under the microscope. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), roughly 60% of all human pathogens and 75% of new or emerging infectious diseases originate from animals.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus started at a live trade market, consumers will further question their consumption and purchase of animal products. This will create additional demand for vegan alternatives in fashion for the future, requiring retailers to experiment with materials that are friendly to both animals and the environment.
[Note: You can read the full report on edited.com]