What's next in fashion after a year of sweatsuits? Trend forecasters share their predictions

Stylus, Roseanna Roberts, WGSN, @trucnguyen

After more than a year of sweatsuits, loungewear and decidedly more relaxed wardrobe choices, what fashion may look like this spring and beyond is a bit of a mystery. 

As we emerge from what has been, for many, a very long and monotonous winter at home, will our preference for comfortable, stretchy clothes continue unabated? Or will we be more than ready to dress up again and to stock up on cheery colours and statement-making combinations in anticipation of future date nights and celebrations? According to fashion seers, the answer may involve a little bit of both scenarios, different as they may seem.  

To help you look ahead for a summer like no other, we reached out to three leading trend forecasters — Saisangeeth Daswani, head of advisory, fashion, beauty & APAC at Stylus; Roseanna Roberts, a trend and colour forecaster; and Francesca Muston, vice president, fashion, at WGSN. They shared their insights on how the pandemic has impacted fashion, and their predictions for where the psychology of dressing is about to take us next. Here's what they've observed so far, and the trends, colours and even approaches to style that they're foreseeing will be influential in the months and seasons ahead. 

Don't expect a swift or clear aesthetic break 

Daswani predicts that the changes of the past year will leave a lasting impact on the way that we dress. “If we look at major events, whether it's pandemics or wars or recessions, they've essentially always changed the way we've dressed. And I think COVID-19 will have a really similar, substantial effect across the board and across all ages.” 

2021 may well be a fragmented year for fashion and trends. “There's really going to be different paths, and the way people approach the recovery is going to be very individual,” says Roberts. “Some people may not even feel comfortable leaving their homes yet … [while other people] that have an eye to fashion and get excited by fashion are really going to want to dig into it.”

Comfort and ease of movement will remain priorities

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, streetwear and athleisure were major fashion influences and people were dressing down more, embracing the joy-of-missing-out and choosing online socialization, says Daswani. “A lot of that really came from this desire for comfort.” Looking forward, she doesn't expect that approach to change too much.

“The desire for casual and comfort[able] is really what I think will continue post-pandemic,” she says. “Even if you're dressing up, the styles will be a little bit more relaxed, silhouettes will be a little bit less rigid … [and] look a little bit more fluid.”

“The pandemic has changed our lifestyles in ways which will endure long after it's safe to open up society again,” suggests Muston. “These lifestyle changes have already affected how we dress; and as the behaviours stick, so too will the parts of our wardrobes given to comfort.” She predicts that even when things open up more, we'll continue to gravitate toward loungewear, athleticwear and performance gear made for outdoor activities, because activities like exercise and nature walks will likely continue to be significant in our lives. 

Consumers will look for: flexibility, versatility, sustainability and innovation — even for office wear 

With consumers being more careful about how they're spending, Daswani thinks that functional and seasonless designs will take centre stage. “Whatever item [consumers] choose to invest in, they want to make sure that it works across multiple activities or disciplines … [and] they don't want to be confined to a specific season as much anymore.” Daswani forecasts that layering will be more important than ever this year, and that people will embrace transitional dressing and prioritize versatility.

“There's definitely a big chunk of us that actually won't even return to the office in the same sense,” she says, “and I think that for those people, those ideas around being able to blur the lines between your home wear and workwear will continue. And if they're continuing on Zoom, the focus on tops will really be key.” She predicts that dress codes will become more flexible in many offices, and even workwear essentials like tailored pants may feature a looser fit and stretchier, softer fabrics.  

Both Daswani and Roberts predict that going forward sustainability — in terms of design, materials and packaging — will become even more important as a purchasing criteria for fashion.

Daswani is also enthusiastic about the “innovation happening in material” and “huge amount of technological advances” we're seeing in fashion right now, from temperature-regulating fabrics to sustainable dyes. “I think that kind of stuff really excites me because that's the thing that I think people will really be willing to pay money for,” she says. “And those are the types of items that will really have longevity in people's closets.” Consumers may be buying fewer clothes these days, but some are also more willing to spend money on innovative designs with value-added features.  

For some, this will be a moment of creative expression 

“Of course, when society opens up there will doubtless be a flurry of shopping for dresses as we savour every opportunity to celebrate,” notes Muston. 

Roberts predicts that for some fashion will again become more individual and expressive. “We've been living in a time that has been a lot more homogenous, social media has really taken a bit of the creativity out of fashion,” she says. “My hope is that as we re-enter society and socialize, people are really going to put their own stamp on how they're expressing themselves, because we've been so contained.” 

This could mean taking more care with outfits, embracing bold colours, experimenting with different silhouettes, and generally “bringing an artistic or creative sensibility” to how one approaches fashion and beauty, says Roberts. “I think we'll see a return to men perhaps wanting to get a little bit more dressed up, we might even see the suit returning to some working environments, and definitely more social gatherings where people are going to want to put their Sunday best on.”

Expect to see vibrant colours and playful fashion

“I absolutely think bold colours, bright colours are going to be really big this year,” says Roberts. “I think people are just ready to have fun.” She foresees a prevalence of “happy and joyful” hues like pink, orange and yellow “that make us feel an actual sense of optimism,” warm tones, and calming colours like sky blues “that make us feel really relaxed and balanced.” 

Similarly, Roberts expects clothes that offer a playful, carefree sensibility will continue to resonate with consumers this spring and summer, just as “cottagecore” fashion provided “a sense of escape and also a connection to a time that was much more simple” when we were all stuck at home. This playfulness could translate into styles with voluminous silhouettes, blouson sleeves, dropped waists and a relaxed silhouette, for example. “[It's] fashion that is also flexible and adaptable so that you can live in it in your home, and then you can go out in the world and still feel comfortable and confident that you look good,” says Roberts. 


Truc Nguyen is a Toronto-based writer, editor and stylist. Follow her at @trucnguyen.

News Related

OTHER NEWS

Nom, nom, Vietnam - Episode 90: Stir-fried noodles

Stir-fried crispy noodles is a very popular Chinese dish in HCM City. The way the rich, savoury sauce soaks into the crispy fried noodles makes the meal simply irresistible! Read more »

Tiên Sơn Cave, a hidden gem in Phong Nha – Kẻ Bàng complex

A part of Tiên Sơn Cave. Photo phongnhacavestour.com HCM CITY Tiên Sơn Cave belongs to the Phong Nha – Kẻ Bàng tourist complex that comprises natural scenic spots in the ... Read more »

Try goat meat specialties in Ba Vì District

A dish of Ba Vì’s goat meat. Photo inhat.vn HCM CITY Meats from goat, hill chicken and ostrich are the must-try dishes in Ba Vì District in Hà Nội. Tourists ... Read more »

HCM City considers museum system to boost tourism

MDIS’s School of Engineering and Technology introduces more programmes to meet the increasing demand in the IT and engineering streams. — VNS Photo HCM CITY – HCM City needs to ... Read more »

Young indie bands are top trendsetters in Vietnam's music scene

Indie bands like Cá Hồi Hoang (Wild Salmon) and Chillies are receiving more attention from fans and media. This kind of music has brought new sounds to the Vietnamese contemporary ... Read more »

Meditation and Mindfulness as a Way of Dealing with Stress

Psychologist Matthew Ryan. — Photo courtesy of Family Medical Practice by Matthew Ryan* In the first session, Tom complained of insomnia, restlessness and “worrying about everything”. His partner Julie looked ... Read more »

Try seafood specialties in Cà Mau

A dish of mud creeper with coconut milk. Photo vietnamplus.vn HCM CITY Mudskippers grilled with chili salt and mud creepers with coconut milk are one of the best seafood specialties ... Read more »

Vietnam draw Lebanon in first leg of Futsal World Cup playoffs

Their first leg of Futsal World Cup playoffs with Lebanon was goalless, but it gave Vietnam an edge going into the second leg. Read more »

Fashion industry struggles to stay afloat amid Covid

To survive the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Vietnamese fashion industry is resorting to online sales and creating affordable clothes. Read more »

South Korean League of Legends pro joins Vietnamese team

Kim "Poss" Min-cheol has joined Vietnam's Cerberus Esports, set to become the first foreign League of Legends (LoL) player in the country. Read more »

Tuyền secures Việt Nam's eighth Olympic berth

Trương Thị Kim Tuyền of Việt Nam (right) tries to kick Fariza Aldangorova of Kazakhstan during their semi-finals of the women’s U49kg category at the Asian Qualification Tournament for Tokyo ... Read more »

Taekwondo athlete secures Vietnam another Tokyo Olympic slot

Taekwondo star Truong Thi Kim Tuyen has become the ninth Vietnamese to book a berth to the Tokyo Olympics this summer after entering the finals of the qualifiers. Read more »

Health workers face toughest pandemic battle yet

The fourth wave of COVID-19 infections, starting from April 27, is considered the most severe in Việt Nam since the pandemic began. Doctors of Huế Central Hospital check the conditions ... Read more »

All About Photo Awards honours Vietnamese photographer

Heart of the Sea’ by Nguyễn Phước Hoài. HÀ NỘI — A photograph depicting an aerial scene of fishermen casting their nets on the sea taken by Vietnamese photographer Nguyễn ... Read more »

Goalies Lâm and Trường compete for national team starting spot

Goalkeeper Bùi Tấn Trường is competing for a starting spot in the national team. — Photo thethao247.vn HÀ NỘI — Bùi Tấn Trường and Đặng Văn Lâm are competing to ... Read more »

Three Vietnamese teams to compete in PUBG Mobile Pro League

Eagle Esports, HVNB and Infinity IQ will represent Vietnam at PUBG Mobile Pro League (PMPL) Southeast Asia Championship Season 3 this month. Read more »

Three Vietnamese teams to compete in PUBB Mobile Pro League

Eagle Esports, HVNB and Infinity IQ will represent Vietnam at PUBG Mobile Pro League (PMPL) Southeast Asia Championship Season 3 this month. Read more »

Hidden world of Japanese maikos revealed through photo collection

Together with geisha and geiko, maikos have been considered as symbol successors of the beauty of Japan. Photos courtesy of L’Espace HÀ NỘI — A photo collection depicting Japan’s apprentice ... Read more »

Photo contest featuring labourers launched

A photo by Nguyễn Ngọc Hải submitted to a photo contest Nét Đẹp Lao Động (The Beauty of Labour) launched by the HCM City-based Người Lao Động (Labourer) newspaper. The ... Read more »

Key goalkeeper to join national team early for World Cup qualifiers

Dang Van Lam's club Cerezo Osaka has agreed to let him off early to prepare for Vietnam's important World Cup qualifiers. Read more »

Biennial World Cup on agenda at FIFA Congress

A World Cup held every two years is set to be discussed by football's bigwigs on Friday when FIFA holds its latest Congress. Read more »

Uncle Hồ’s memorial space opens at Children Cultural House

Children visit the memorial space themed “Uncle Hồ with Children” at the HCM City Children Cultural House. Photo courtesy of the organisers HCM CITY — A memorial space themed “Uncle ... Read more »

'Vietnam Idol' winner releases music video of hit song

Singer Uyên Linh seen to perform the song ‘Giữa Đại Lộ Đông Tây’ in the show Xuân Hạ Thu Đông Rồi Lại Xuân (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, and Spring again). ... Read more »

Two exhibitions highlight landscapes of Italy and VN

Photos highlight the evolution of the glacial masses, underlining the effects of climate change on the mountain landscape in Italy. Photo courtesy of the organiser HCM CITY — The Consulate ... Read more »

Romance is alive and kicking

MAGIC MOMENT: Liverpool players mob goalkeeper Alisson Becker after his last-minute winner against West Brom. AFP Photo Paul Kennedy There’s a great line in the movie Moneyball when Billy Beane, ... Read more »

Phan Văn Đức signs record deal with Nghệ An after turning HCM City FC down

Phan Văn Đức (left) will stay at Sông Lam Nghệ An until the end of the 2024 season. Photo slnafc.com VINH Việt Nam national team forward Phan Văn Đức signed ... Read more »

HCMC FC sign Brazilian defender from Portuguese club

Center-back Brendon Lucas has joined HCMC FC from Portuguese club Portimonense SC. Read more »

Vietnam World Cup qualifiers to be broadcast on national television

National broadcaster VTV will show live all of Vietnam’s football World Cup qualifying matches in June. Read more »

Workshop on how to turn earth into art

At the workshop, attendees will get in touch with the earth in a different way when they hold it in their hands and form it into the shapes as their ... Read more »

Books printed to mark Uncle Hồ’s birthday

The book Bác Hồ Với Quốc Hội Việt Nam (Uncle Hồ and Việt Nam National Assembly) features President’s role in the National Assembly and government in the first period, starting ... Read more »

Documentary about French photographer to be screened

Le baiser de l’Hôtel de Ville (The Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville) by Robert Doisneau (1950). A documentary about him will be presented on Saturday at the VCCA. Photo ... Read more »

The Magic Flute film at Deutches Haus on May 29

A scene from Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, performed by German orchestra Berliner Philharmoniker. File photo from berliner-philharmoniker-recordings.com HCM City — A film screening of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute ... Read more »

Vietnamese fashion thrives despite the pandemic

Designer Công Trí’s Fall-Winter 2021 collection has been featured in Vogue US magazine. Photo: thanhnien.vn HCM CITY — Despite being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnamese fashion designers have opted ... Read more »

South African woman mends broken heart in Việt Nam

Alushka Linh features singer Hồ Trung Dũng during a concert held on the occasion of Lunar New Year of the Buffalo. Photo courtesy of VTV Ngô Minh Many wonderful stories ... Read more »

The Factory hosts conversation on Vietnamese sculpture

The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre will host an art conversation “The Undercurrents Of Vietnamese Modern Sculpture Pre/Post-1975 Until Now: an Introduction” on May 22. Photo from the organiser’s Facebook page ... Read more »

Thanh Hóa invests VNĐ500 billion to further excavate mausoleum

A new recreated plan of the whole site, which will be excavated soon for restoration. Photo dantri.com.vn THANH HÓA — Last week, local authorities of the central province of Thanh ... Read more »

Veteran striker Đức vies for a slot in national team

Striker Nguyễn Anh Đức (left) seen in a training session with the Vietnamese national team. Photo thanhnien.vn Football HÀ NỘI — Veteran striker Nguyễn Anh Đức scored one goal to ... Read more »

Women's football club appoints former South Korea coach

Coach Jong Song-jon has been chosen to manage Hanoi Watabe I in the national women's league. Read more »

Hanoi villa inspired by Covid-19 battle

A villa in Hanoi coated with colorful graffiti reminds locals to adopt Covid-19 preventative measures. Read more »

Circus troupes struggle to attract new talents

People’s Artist Tạ Duy Ánh. Photo anninhthudo.vn The National Circus Talent 2021 contest was held recently by the Department of Performing Arts in collaboration with the Việt Nam Theatre Artists ... Read more »