In the new decade, the fashion industry will head towards change, but not in terms of new trends. Instead, fashion is going to provoke political messages.
On the cover of the January 2020 issue of Vogue, Taylor Swift wears an archive tweed blazer from 2005 Chanel. This is a political statement. It reminds us of the importance of re-wearing clothes to protect the planet, a bold step away from the world of fast fashion.
Vintage will become the dominant style of 2020 and it will dissolve trends such as streetwear. Seasonal ‘drops’ won’t be as important to our styles as they once were. Fashion in the 2020s will not be about what you buy, but how to style what you already have.
The pressing issue of climate change is starting to be recognised by fashion designers as they develop their ideas. It is impacting what materials they use, who their target audience is and how long their items will last.
Pinstripe trousers, puffed shoulder shirts and blazers will also make an appearance
After the rise of veganism, substitute materials have become the norm. PVC is overwhelmingly replacing leather, and it will be faux fur or none at all instead of real fur.
And it is not only materials that have to be considered, it is their durability. You might have heard of the phrase ‘buy less, buy better’. Platforms such as Depop and Facebook Marketplace encourage young people to buy, swap and sell both new and worn clothes.
Charity shops, vintage fairs and outlet websites such as ASOS Marketplace will become popular in the 2020s. Selfridges in London have even opened a Depop space so that shoppers of all ages can recognise that fashion is heading towards a more sustainable future.
In turn, outlets, vintage wear and old trends – such as neon and animal print – will be sure to make their way into 2020.
Sarah Harris, deputy editor of Vogue, has said that seventies nuances can be a “subtle way to go into the decade.” This involves skinny strap tops, belted high-waisted trousers accompanied with a cross over shoulder bag.
In terms of branding, fashion in 2020 will be minimalist
Smart styles involving pinstripe trousers, puffed-shoulder shirts and blazers will also make an appearance. This preppy 2020 look will be accompanied by patterns: stripes, dots or chequered.
Naomi Smart, Vogue’s shopping editor, explains how patchwork of patterns by layering shirts with a floral pinafore is as simple as “shirting as you would a polo neck: it’s the best way to get mileage out of your favourite summer dresses.” This allows clothes to be reused and fit all weather seasons.
Similarly, plain trainers will be more in demand as they can go well with any outfit, so the customer does not need to buy more shoes. This vintage and simplistic fashion can be accessorised with jewellery, such as short chic necklaces that sit on the collarbone.
In terms of branding, fashion in 2020 will be minimalist. Brands such as Burberry and Dior are getting rid of their monograms, and the industry will be less commercial.
Rather than looking to the future, the fashion of the 2020s will go back into the past
With simpler styles on the rise, we’re having more discussions about gender-neutral fashion. Safari suits, for example, counteract gender stereotypes. The boiler suit full of pockets is a practical option.
Unisex styles such as oversized T-Shirts can be worn free, tied, or tucked. And unisex jewellery, such as cuff bracelets, can be worn with any outfit. Nail varnish has been popularised among men going into 2020.
Neutral, nude and pastel colours will be worn by men, women and non-binary people alike. As a result, we might see more clothes swapping and shared wardrobes between partners.
Clothes in the new decade will be from old archives but filled with fresh ideas to help save our planet.
Rather than looking to the future, the fashion of the 2020s will go back into the past. And this is only for the better.