The Stylight Fashion Recap 2020
The best news of 2020? That this year is almost over! Boy, was this a rollercoaster of emotions: we saw a pandemic change our life forever, controversies unfold in every corner, people taking to the streets to protest racial injustice, TikTok becoming an actual thing, and the fashion world seriously questioning their unsustainable practices. And most of us here are thinking it’s still March.
With our Stylight Fashion Recap, we want to retrace some of this year’s key themes and how they have been reflected in the fashion world. Here are some of the defining moments of 2020, and the brands, trends and icons that have made this year something to remember. Although honestly, we all can’t wait to leave 2020 behind..
"Megxit" is announced: Harry and Meghan stepped back from royal duties
The year opened with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announcing their intent to step down as senior members of the royal family and split their time between the UK and North America. This became official as of March 31, 2020. During her last public royal appearance for the Commonwealth Ceremony on March 9th, Meghan took center stage in a now iconic Emilia Wickstead green dress: within 24 hours, we reported a 120% increase in clicks for the brand on Stylight.
The BAFTAs go sustainable: Kate dazzled in re-worn Alexander McQueen
The BAFTAs 2020 received praise for their effort to become the most sustainable award season event, with guests receiving guidelines on how to reduce their carbon footprint, and an invitation to pick an eco-friendly outfit, whether rented, recycled or from pre-approved sustainable labels. Unfortunately, few celebs rose to the challenge.. with the notable exception of Kate Middleton, known for taking climate change at heart (and for repurposing her outfits!). Kate chose to re-wear a gold-embellished Alexander McQueen gown she previously wore in 2012.
The last Fashion Week as we knew it: February (unexpectedly) marked the last "physical" fashion week of 2020, run according to pre-Corona industry standards. For some, like Gucci, this was actually the last fashion week ever, with the label now going season-less.
Lockdowns hits world wide: comfy is the new chic
With over one third of the world population under lockdown, it was only obvious to see customer preferences shift from occasion wear towards apparel one could comfortably wear at home. Categories such as loungewear and activewear registered a peak growth in 2020, while sportswear giants like Champion (+245%) and Nike (+81%) reported an increase in clicks in the month of March 2020 vs 2019. Even the lingerie category, normally trending around Valentine's Day or New Year's Eve, grew by +55% over the last 3 weeks of March 2020. Read more about lockdown fashion in our trends section.
TikTok booms: thanks to lockdown-related boredom, the app rose in popularity, with downloads growing by +70% in March vs previous months (Source: Gründerszene)
The face-mask: the 2020 accessory we were not expecting
They say necessity is the mother of invention: and, quite often, of style too. From Spring 2020, masks became the #1 thing not to leave the house without, leading to a self-explanatory rise in interest for stylish looking masks. Google Trends indicates that searches for "designer face mask" in early May grew by over 1000% vs beginning of March. Read more about masks in our trends section.
Black Lives Matter and #blackouttuesday: a new wave of BLM protests saw thousands joining the cause, with many, including fashion labels and media publications, showing their support via activism, donations and by giving space to a much-needed conversation about race and representation. As a result, several fashion and beauty labels owned by POC started getting the recognition they deserve - and we've seen the effects on Stylight: read more about it in our brands section.
The first ever Digital Fashion Week: Dior and Valentino at the forefront of innovation
To guarantee the safety of all workers involved, and to reach a global audience now forced to stay at home, fashion houses approached fashion week in new creative ways, via the power of digitalization. Take Valentino, that opted for a hybrid event between the physical & digital, presenting 16 looks crafted as a response to social distancing; the event was live-streamed and accompanied by a press conference on Zoom. Dior instead took inspiration from its past: Maria Grazia Chiuri used miniature dolls to show off her new collection, reviving an old tradition started by couturiers during WWII to reach clients across the globe.
Women in music changing the game: Beyonce, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion
In 2020 we saw female artists fearlessly state their truth, and we were all here for it. With Black is King, Beyonce celebrated her heritage, reframing the narrative around blackness, elevating it to status of royalty and creating songs that empower black people. And Cardi B and Meghan Thee Stallion were not afraid to face (pointless) controversy and reclaim female sexuality with the very explicit WAP, while, in the process, uncovering the double standards between female and male rappers surrounding sexual lyrics.
Rihanna: the champion of inclusivity we needed in 2020
While teasing the second edition of the Savage x Fenty show, Rihanna said to expect "extreme levels of inclusivity", and boy, did she deliver. The show, that dropped on Amazon Prime in October, included a glorious mix of representation, featuring top models like Cara Delevinge and Gigi Hadid, but also body positive singer Lizzo, trans actress Indya Moore, plus-size model Paloma Elsasser, and drag stars Shea Couleé and Gigi Goode. What a success: according to Google, searches for the show peaked by over 1000% within 48h of the drop, while on Stylight clicks for Savage x Fenty grew by +48% within a week of the show.
Gucci breaks with conventional beauty standards
For several years now, Gucci has been pioneering an idea of beauty that breaks with conventional standards: in 2020, these statements have become even bolder. In June, the fashion house presented a beauty campaign featuring 18-year Ellie Goldstein, a British model with Down Syndrome. Within a month of the campaign drop, clicks for Gucci increased by 57%, suggesting many users were excited by Gucci's inclusive aesthetic. In September, the brand faced backlash in the Italian media for including 23 year old model Armine Harutyunyan in a top 100 sexiest models list; Armine subsequently received an immense amount of body shaming online. However, the controversy ended up making Gucci more popular, with searches for the brand peaking on Google Trends right at the beginning of September, proving that a more diverse and open definition of beauty is the way to go.
Netflix making waves: The Emily in Paris effect
Netflix saved us from lockdown boredom in 2020 by releasing many incredibly entertaining yet often time controversial series that turned into cultural phenomenons: Tiger King, Love is Blind, Selling Sunset.. The series that divided the most, however, was hands down "Emily in Paris". The most loved-hated series of the year broke streaming records within a few days of release, with many criticing its stereotyped view of Paris, and even its outfit choices. Others actually praised the styling of SATC and Devil Wears Prada costume designer Patricia Field, who decided to heavily feature Chanel in the series (what else?). On Stylight, we've reported a +30% peak in global clicks for Chanel in the week following the drop of the series.. Coincidence? Je ne pense pas!
Fashion gets political
Levi's, Madewell, Tory Burch, North Face, Urban Outfitters.. there seems to be no end to the list of brands that this year engaged with their customers politically. Many major labels launched campaigns to urge their customers to vote, or donated profits from "Vote" merch lines to voter registration organisations. Some labels were not afraid to make bold political statements: take Patagonia, which in September started releasing shorts with a hidden label that read "Vote the a-holes out". Needless to say, clicks for Patagonia clothing on Stylight grew +109% within one week of the revelation. Several celebs wore these political fashion items to amplify their messages in public appearances - think Lizzo wearing the Christian Siriano "Vote dress" at the Billboard Music Awards. And take Michelle Obama wearing the BYCHIARI "Vote necklace": there were over 1000% more Google searches for "Michelle Obama vote necklace" 24h after she wore it in her Joe Biden endorsement.
ABOUT THIS REPORT
Our analysis is based on Stylight’s internal data from our 12 million monthly users in the 16 markets where we operate. The selected period runs from 01.01.20 to 30.09.20, and is compared to 2019 for the same period. Whenever the selected period may refer to another period or the data may belong to an external source, it has been duly referenced in the body of the report.
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