SS21 Off-Calendar Fashion Week Review

Key takeaways

  • An unprecedented number of designers were absent during the official fashion week schedule in September, instead presenting their SS21 collections on their own time, representing a major shift in the industry
  • The existence of the traditional fashion week calendar is being questioned due to the pandemic as well as environmental concerns
  • Some key themes that emerged amongst the designers who presented their collections outside of the fashion week calendar include comfort dressing, soft tailoring, and a bohemian aesthetic

Even if the official fashion month for the SS21 season ended on October 6th with Paris Fashion Week, many brands have decided to march to the beat of their own drum and present their collections outside of the normal fashion week calendar. This shift away from following the traditional fashion week schedule has been happening for a while now, with brands like Alexander Wang and Celine leading the way in deciding to present their collections independently a few seasons ago.

With the onslaught of the pandemic, we are seeing more and more designers presenting collections on their own time, since many buyers who would typically attend shows during fashion week are no longer travelling due to international flight restrictions. The shift away from the traditional fashion week schedule is also related to sustainability concerns, as the environmental impact of physical fashion shows is becoming an increasingly central issue in the industry.

With the existence of fashion week being called into question, it makes sense why so many brands were absent during September fashion month, particularly in New York where most of the best-known American brands were nowhere to be seen. 

Dion Lee SS21

Comfort Refuge

Similar to what we spotted during fashion month in September, comfort dressing has remained a major theme amongst the brands who presented their SS21 collections more recently. This trend is embodied by looks that can easily be worn inside or outside, bridging the gap between loungewear and more formal attire. Some garment characteristics that define this theme include knitwear, sweat pants, hoodies, slippers, relaxed silhouettes, and layering tunic tops over loose trousers.

Matching ribbed knit sets were another common iteration of this comfort dressing trend, seen in the collections of independent brands like Marques’Almeida, Proenza Schouler, and Ludovic de Saint Sernin, creating cozy knit looks in calming colors like beige, light pink, and blue. Priscavera also explored the comfortable matching set trend, opting for a sheer purple fabric rather than ribbed knit. Regardless of the textile, matching sets in soft fabrics have become a new wardrobe staple that can easily be worn outside or at home. 

Soft Tailoring

This trend of casualization has also influenced tailoring, with designers relaxing silhouettes, favouring oversized cuts, and using lightweight fabrics for classic tailored garments. Suits made of linen or sheer materials is a common way in which designers have reimagined tailoring, as seen in the SS21 collections of The Row, Stefan Cooke, and Jil Sander.

Beyond any technical changes, classic tailored garments are also being recontextualized through styling choices. By pairing trousers with slides, or wearing a suit with no shirt underneath, tailored garments are taking on a new meaning that is far more casual than ever before. Berluti’s SS21 collection embodies this relaxed tailoring trend by pairing loose fitting trousers with sneakers or pool slides to evoke a polished yet relaxed aesthetic. 

Back to Nature

A back to earth theme is another trend that several designers explored for the SS21 season, reflecting a renewed appreciation for the natural environment. The carefree hippy style of the 60s and 70s has been experiencing a major resurgence this year, especially during SS21 men’s fashion week in July where countless brands’ collections were inspired by mother nature.

Dion Lee is one of the designers whose SS21 collection clearly embodies this sensibility, with an earthy color palette, tassel details, beading, and a subtle camo print emanating a back to nature aesthetic. Tory Burch’s SS21 collection was also in line with this bohemian vibe, with wooden beading, caftans, and long tunics paired with loose trousers.  Cycle by myob’s SS21 collection titled “earth energy” is the epitome of this neo-hippy aesthetic, featuring natural tones, psychedelic print, yin yang motifs, and knit crochet to exude this bohemian sensibility.

Overall, we are seeing a continuation of the major trends that we spotted back in September amongst the designers who presented their collections more recently, outside of the normal fashion week calendar. The number of designers who opted out of the normal fashion week calendar this season was unprecedented, perhaps marking a shift in the industry that will persist for seasons to come.

Curious about the top trends, brands, and cities from SS21 Fashion Weeks?

However, regardless of timing, designers clearly shared inspiration for the SS21 season. According to Heuritech’s insights, comfort dressing, soft tailoring, and a bohemian aesthetic were the prominent macro themes that designers explored for the SS21 season. 

About the writer: Jenna McFeely, Fashion Curator and Trend Analyst at Heuritech

Jenna writes about the relationship between fashion, art, and technology, taking an cross-disciplinary approach to analyze trends in visual culture.

Questions or feedback? Email us at info@heuritech.com

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