Kayla Marci

June 2, 2021

5 post-coronavirus fashion trends to have on your radar

As customer needs evolve, we unpack the essential trends to know as we enter Hot Vax Summer, plus key learnings from 2021 so far.

From further lockdowns to political unrest, this year has been just as chaotic as its predecessor. With more adults fully vaccinated and the world reopening, customers are shedding their well-worn sweatpants, donning a face mask and emerging from their isolation cocoons to tackle the second (hopefully easier!) half of 2021. 

As consumer needs evolve, what trends do retailers need to offer moving forward? With over a year of analysis on the impacts of coronavirus, our Analyst team pinpoints where demand in fashion currently lies and the direction it will take post-pandemic. 

The decisions retailers make during this time will be crucial to their survival in the new era of retail. Find out how you can use EDITED to back up your strategy with the power of market intelligence.

The overarching theme - Hot Vax Summer

Approximately 50% of US adults are now fully vaccinated, while 70% in the UK have received their first dose. Following a year of restrictions, consumers are gearing up for the return of dating, socializing and large-scale events, ushering in the term Hot Vax Summer. There’s opportunity for retailers to maximize exposure for the outdoors, partywear, festival edits and sexual wellness. Businesses that have successfully pivoted to provide customers with products to complement their newfound freedom are reaping the rewards, where Revolve reported record profits in the first quarter of the year as demand for going out clothing has soared in the US. 

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Image via Revolve US Email - May 26, 2021

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Sexy dressing

What began as an antidote to loungewear has blown up to be a post-pandemic fashion movement. From cut-outs to crop tops and catsuits, 2021's hottest trends are rooted in the risqué and ideal for retailers to channel the Hot Vax Summer hype. New products described as “sexy” increased 30% in the past three months compared to the prior three months. Though still not a mainstream look, the fashion flossing trend has gained traction within mass market retailers' assortments. Exposed thong pants have seen a 240% increase in new arrivals over the past three months compared to three months prior, while the dress versions have risen 180%. For more commercial trends, look to sheer and bodycon materials and mini silhouettes while short shorts are the hero piece in menswear. 

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Images via Urban Outfitters Email UK - Feb 12, 2021; Instagram - Megan Fox; Instagram - ASOS

Got EDITED access? Inform your sign offs with EDITED reports on sexy dressing. 

The return of resortwear 

With international travel halted in 2020 negatively impacting the performance of traditional summer categories, a more fruitful vacation season is on the cards this year. Holiday-deprived consumers are fueling demand for the swimwear market, which is experiencing a revival with arrivals and sell outs up 7% and 34%, respectively, whereas discounting has lessened. Elements of sexy dressing have trickled into swimwear with upside-down bikini tops and cut-outs some of the most sought-after trends. The category’s success is extending to resortwear with more retailers landing sunglasses and beach hats. Both are up 65% and 30% YoY with only 12-13% marked down compared to 35% a year prior - evidence of the shift in consumer purchasing. Kaftans are also back in suitcases with majority SKU sell outs up 25% YoY. 

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Image via Good American

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Dopamine dressing

To offset the adverse effects of 2020, dopamine dressing has transpired for consumers to boost their moods through fashion. Endorphin-inducing colors (yellow, orange, green, pink, red and blue), kitsch motifs, summer camp jewelry and psychedelic 70s prints are being injected into retailer’s upbeat assortments, resonating with Gen Z’s affinity with nostalgia and experimentation. Keep these bold hues and fun patterns in mind for Hot Vax Summer edits and beyond - designers showcased joyous hues and optimistic themes on the Fall 2021 runways confirming their longevity in the cooler months.

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Image via Lazy Oaf Homepage UK - May 27, 2021

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Softcore

The loungewear hype may be slowing down amid these sexed-up trends. However, consumers will still be vying for aspects of comfort in their wardrobes. Buoyed by the Gen Z consumer, the Softcore subculture perfectly meshes dopamine dressing with coziness to carry sweats into the post-pandemic age. With trans-seasonal and cross category appeal, it's a risk-free investment as Softcore is a bonafide trend in home and streetwear. Tactile fabrications are key - think terry toweling and teddy textures in pastel and neutral hues across knitwear, outerwear and co-ord sets.

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Image via Saski Collection

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Tenniscore

Another day, another subculture ending in “core.” The latest one is hailed as the new athleisure, playing into consumers' penchant for outdoor activities. With Wimbledon set to return and the hype surrounding preppy dressing, mass and sporting retailers alike are incorporating tennis elements into their assortments through stark whites, pleated skirts, polo shirts and sweat sets. As the outdoors remains the ultimate destination, retailers can stay one step ahead by landing and promoting merchandise to be worn for various sports and hobbies. 

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Image via Instagram - Kendall Jenner

Got EDITED access? Inform your sign offs with EDITED’s reports on outdoor apparel. 

Key learnings from 2021 so far

A mid-year check in to round up the macro factors shaping the retail landscape.

Digital is king

Despite brick-and-mortar stores reopening and footfall returning, physical retail is still struggling, especially in the UK where patchy results were delivered over the recent Bank Holiday weekend. This makes it even more important for retailers to bolster their digital strategies and invest in their online experience to keep the costs of maintaining a physical store down while improving consumer engagement.  

Further reading:

Retailers need a global perspective

With different regions at various stages of recovery, savvy retailers need to look outside of their own backyard to identify opportunities and minimize risk. Using EDITED, retailers can pinpoint what’s working and what’s not whether there is another lockdown or to know what consumers are buying in a relatively COVID-free region.  

Further reading

Above all, the situation still remains volatile. While England is preparing to fully lift restrictions on June 21st, India is currently experiencing a devastating second wave and parts of Australia have reentered a two-week lockdown. 

With so much uncertainty, retailers need to be relying on data and market analytics more than ever to guide them during these ever-changing times. 

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