C&A, the Belgian-German-Dutch retailer, has a long history in apparel. The retailer has a number of daughter brands, and despite their fast-fashion past, C&A is quickly becoming a leader in sustainability and transparency: their objective is to “make sustainable fashion the new normal.” To make this vision a reality, C&A can turn toward trend forecasting. Why? To ensure that consumer demands are met accurately in order to avoid assortment misses and overstock, to ultimately prevent waste before the production process even begins.
Zooming in on the Fall 2021 season in Europe, a number of upcoming men’s and women’s trends are pivoting towards staple pieces, a result of both sustainability initiatives and quarantine fashion. The following trends thus focus on basic garments for both genders that carry a timeless appeal for daily wear, in line with C&A’s vision for a greener fashion future without compromising style.
Men’s and Womenswear: Trend forecasting for Fall 2021
Being in touch with changing consumer tastes is a move toward better collection planning, based on geography, seasonality, and gender. For the Fall 2021 season, outerwear, knitwear, and denim are perhaps the most important categories for everyday attire, which C&A already provides to its male and female audiences. What’s important, therefore, is making sure that these categories adhere to specific silhouettes, colors, fabrics, and prints that are most appealing to the retailer’s audience. Making sure that clothing is on-trend is an important aspect of a sustainability strategy, as producing clothing that is not in line with consumer tastes creates waste that can be avoided with the help of trend forecasting.
1. Puffer Jackets
Puffer jackets have been quite popular on Instagram for several seasons now, notably from fast fashion retailers, but also from high street brands including Vetements and Moncler. Its long standing trendiness may then explain its upcoming decline for the Fall 2021 season: puffer jackets will decrease by -15% and -13% for women and men respectively.
For this reason, the puffer jacket should be considered a last call in both men’s and women’s collections. In layman’s terms, their time is up. The garment’s appeal for both mainstream and trendy consumers of both genders is running low, and its medium magnitude, or its medium level of potential market demand, will only decline moving forward from Fall 2021. C&A would thus do well to sell out their remaining puffer jackets during its high seasons this Winter 2020 and Spring 2021, rather than adding more inventory to future collections — in this case, to the Fall 2021 collection.
2. Ribbed Knit Jumpers
Ribbed knit jumpers are rather trendy this cold season: the fabric was forecasted to rise +2% in Winter 2020, notably on tops which rise +44 points above the Instagram average for its category. C&A can ride this wave by incorporating ribbed knit jumpers into their Fall 2021 womenswear collection, directing their stylistic and communication strategies toward trendy and edgy consumers. For women in Europe, this trend has a big magnitude, and coupled with its flat growth of -3%, ribbed knit jumpers are a safe bet for C&A’s upcoming Fall collection.
For men, ribbed knit jumpers are a tad more niche. The garment has a small magnitude, but because it also has a flat growth of -3%, ribbed knit jumpers remain a steady trend. These men’s jumpers are dependable, and their cosy, warm feel explains their high seasons of Spring and Winter, just like for womenswear. While the ribbed knit jumper’s behavior varies slightly between the two genders, the fact remains that this trend has the green light for C&A’s Fall 2021 collections.
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3. Straight Denim Pants
Gen Z-ers have been rocking oversized, straight denim in 2020. The skater aesthetic has risen to the ranks of high fashion, and everyone from H&M to Chloé included the style in their collections this year. As such, straight denim pants are a safe bet for both men’s and women’s collections for the Fall 2021 season, and luckily for C&A, the trend appeals to all consumer segments. These pants’ big magnitude among both genders is curbed by its flat growth rates of -1% and -2% for women and men respectively, but this is also what renders the trend a safe bet.
And with high seasons of Spring and Summer for women, and Summer for men, it’s clear that consumers will be styling these unique pants with warm-weather apparel. C&A can take advantage of this association to include pieces in their collection that double as Summer and Fall apparel, such as sneakers or chemises.
Staying sustainable with trend forecasting this Fall 2021
These staple styles taken from C&A’s e-commerce platform were compared with predictive analytics to determine how the trends will behave on the European market for the Fall 2021 season, and among which consumer segments. Denim is the trend to feature in straight silhouettes for both men and women, and ribbed knit jumpers continue to be a staple for both genders in the Fall. Puffer jackets, however, are best kept out of C&A’s Fall 2021 collection given their decreased demand.
C&A is largely on the right track already in their product categories, but trend forecasting adds that extra touch of accuracy when it comes to delivering top collections. Clothing items can be designed in the trendiest color or fabric, and dropped at the optimal time to target specific audiences. In this way, C&A can reduce their overstock by avoiding unappealing trends and missed communications, to build a more holistic approach to their commendable efforts in sustainability.