Model poses in white, wide dress

Fashion trends during and post-pandemic: What is and will be trending?

Key takeaways

  • The forecast is in: fashion trends will vary across different geographies this summer as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and consumers are ready to transition confinement clothing into summer.
  • During confinement, European and American consumers opted for sporty comfort, but this summer the trendiest fashion will be romantic and minimalist.
  • Post-pandemic trends in China are predicted to reflect Chinese consumers’ optimism and celebration of freedom and fashion.

Fashion has always echoed the times: today, many in the industry are drawing parallels between changes in fashion trends after the second world war and the Covid-19 pandemic. Dior’s ‘New Look’ was borne out of the post-war period, for example, and designers and consumers back home in the 40s became creative with what little resources they had. Today, the similarities are uncanny: as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, fashion trends are indeed changing, and upcycling and repurposing are growing in popularity among consumers. With this in mind, different geographies have experienced the pandemic differently, and as such, fashion trends will vary this summer as the world slowly emerges from global quarantine. Consumers in Europe, the US, and China will be drawn to diverse trends in the coming months: so what does Heuritech predict?

European and US predictions: Sporty comfort is top confinement fashion

With many more free hours in the day, many changed their habits to adapt to their new quarantine lifestyles. A number of people turned to home workouts during confinement: Fitness influencers such as Mrs. Sweendog have taken to posting daily workouts on their Instagram stories, and big brands such as Under Armour are hosting Zoom workouts. Instagram users are actively engaged in this healthy movement: according to Heuritech’s Instagram analysis, 1 out of 4 #covid19 posts relates to a healthy lifestyle during confinement. As a result, activewear experienced a boom among American consumers in particular. 

Heuritech Instagram analysis piechart

Leggings are often in, and due to quarantine they are predicted to maintain a steady behavior for the next summer season according to Heuritech’s metrics. Similar to leggings, cycling shorts are also trending: this garment is the star item in this period of confinement. As summer approaches, the cycling short is forecasted to grow by 12% growth in the US.

But not everyone became an athlete in confinement — some chose this time to fully relax. Self-care such as meditation, yoga, or simply laying about, has given rise to loungewear. Consumers are looking for clothes that are practical & high quality, in soft, comfortable materials.

Particular pieces of clothing are trending as part of this healthy, self-care movement. For example, Net-a-Porter experienced a 40% growth in general sales of track pants during the first week of lockdown alone. As evidenced, the popularity of track pants is rising, and they appear to be the biggest fashion trend at the moment. 

Oher classic comfort pieces are trending, as well. Sweatshorts, for example, are a new trend, perhaps due to the combination of warm, Spring weather and the desire for comfort whilst staying inside. Equally, sweatshirts are thriving in the US with a 9% growth compared to last summer, and while flat in Europe, they remain a reliable core product to collections. Sweatshorts and sweatshirts are popular in neutral colors, like greys or soft pastels. 

Girl poses in a face mask and sweatpants

Finally, people are craving cozy, fluffy fabrics and textures. Teddy textures, who are typically stronger in outerwear, are now cropping in different loungewear pieces during confinement, such as full sets. Ribbed knit is likewise expected to trend in the US this summer, often in pyjama-like pieces such as tank tops and pants. Velvet is another comfortable, soft fabric that has become a popular choice during confinement. According to Heuritech analysis, velvet will stay steady in Europe and grow by 13% in the US for Summer 2020, an interesting increase given that summer is typically its low season. 

Europe and the US: Romantic minimalism defines during and post-pandemic fashion trends

Overlapping some aspects of sporty comfort, consumers in Europe and the US are carrying minimalist, romantic pieces from confinement right into Spring and Summer. This aesthetic reflects the caution many consumers in the West feel toward the post-Covid period, but more than this, it expresses a latent sense of hope: these vernal trends serve as a reminder that, like the Spring, life takes its course.

Pastels, a color quite reminiscent of Easter, will be popular in the coming months, most notably in pastel blue and duster pink. The refinement of these colors echoes soothing confinement activities such as meditation, but also Spring picnics once people are allowed out again.

Grey is equally a major trend, an interesting color choice for the sunny seasons of Spring and Summer, but a fitting color for the metaphorical “rainy days” consumers have been spending inside. 

In the same category of neutral tones, post-confinement consumers will be wearing earth tones, which Heuritech already took note of earlier this year at FW20 Fashion Month. This summer in Europe, beige will see an 8% increase compared to last summer, the most popular pieces being tops and outerwear. Khaki will likewise increase as a trend compared to Summer 2019, with a 5% growth in Europe and 15% in the US. Outerwear and dresses will be the trendiest pieces to wear in khaki. 

But beyond minimalist, neutral clothing, European and American consumers will also be wearing their excitement for Spring. Nothing says Spring like flowing and floral fabrics, and post-Covid is bound to be full of them.  

Girl in floral maxi dress picks up lemons from basket

Fittingly, floral maxi dresses are trending for the coming months, perfect for brunch mornings and leisurely outdoor afternoons. Ditsy dresses, though not exclusively floral print, will be trending for picnics in the park as people take advantage of green spaces in lieu of stores and restaurants. The ditsy print will increase by 21% this summer in Europe compared to last summer. 

Evocative of a soft, feminine aesthetic, puff sleeves are in this summer. Consumers seem eager about the romantic Spring season by manifesting it through their clothing. This trend will be most popular on dresses, as well as on tops to give off vernal vibes. Finally, people won’t be letting of their comfortable, confinement clothing. Loose fits will be stylish, with flowing, supple fabrics on a variety of garments, from tops to trousers.  

Trends & Behaviors:
The Covid Consumer

China forecast: Optimism translates to the top post-Covid trends

While consumers in Europe and the US are transitioning their looks from confinement to freedom, those in China are already beginning to express post-Covid trends. Lockdown has been nearly fully lifted, and figures indicate the average Chinese consumer is eager to resume pre-pandemic consumption. The phenomenon has been coined as “revenge spending” as people return to stores and indulge in looks to show off in the streets after months in confinement. This optimism in Chinese consumers will be reflected through their top trends of Spring and Summer 2020. 

It’s no secret that consumers spent significantly more time on social media during confinement than before, and as a result, they were more exposed to their favorite influencers than before. Often inspired by popular KOLs, the young Chinese consumer will be showing off big or repeated logos in the coming months. Nothing says brand pride more than obvious logos: popular aesthetics are big, bold text on garments.

Additionally, the summer trend of sequins evokes celebration, and what’s more worthy of being celebrated than the end of this pandemic? The trend will be most popular on dresses, perhaps for nights out after months in confinement. 

Photo from YoungJun's neon clothing by NYMag

Further reflecting the eagerness felt by so many Chinese consumers during this time, bright colors are sure to make a statement in the months to come. Many Chinese fashion designers such as Angel Chen and Christine Lau already play with lively colors, and it seems the trend will reach the mainstream as a result of this post-pandemic optimism with pop colors like yellow, red, and orange.

Other colors include fluorescents, and they will equally liven the streets in China this summer. Fluorescents in particular will be trending on jackets, pants, maxi dresses or even shoes: this is a strong trend for the months to come. 

So what better than bold logos, dazzling sequins, and brilliant colors to translate a change of state of mind? The return of confidence and optimism in China will take the form of daring trends this summer, and looks will grace the streets and social media alike. 

During and post-pandemic fashion

With its own methodology of social media analysis, Heuritech was able to predict this summer’s buzzing trends as the world comes out of confinement. Come summer, consumers will be wearing their hearts on their sleeves. Cautious yet hopeful American and European consumers have been getting fit and finding inner peace during confinement, so it’s no surprise that activewear and loungewear have been popular. Post-confinement, though, many of these consumers will transition sporty comfort into romantic minimalism, with soft, loose-fitting vernal garments to spend time with friends under the sun. Across the pond in China, consumers are nearly all out of confinement, and their clothes certainly won’t hide their excitement this summer. As an expression of post-confinement celebration, Chinese consumers will show off bold textures and colors on the streets in the coming months.   

About the writer: Mélanie Mollard, Fashion Content Manager at Heuritech

Mélanie writes about the fashion industry and its many features through the lens of applied data and trend forecasting technology.

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