TECH predictions for 2021: if you’ve been working from home this year, you might not have given much thought to your wardrobe. chasing the shift from office to apartment, fashion brands pushed work-from-home-wearables, ranging from vaguely professional pajama pants to ‘zoom tops’. nordstrom’s trunkclub — the department store’s personalized clothing subscription service — offered ‘zoom meeting style tips to look your best’, noting that ‘your style go-tos might look amazing in person, but distracting or lackluster on-screen.’ their experts recommend ‘reaching for bright jewel tones for video meetings’, and ‘adding interesting clothing details such as a bow blouse’, since the camera focuses on your face and neckline.

with nearly every meeting taking place virtually and from the waist-up, workwear has come to prioritize flexibility, functionality, comfort, and importantly, well-being. in a conversation with the zoe report about how clothing can optimize performance based on overall mindset, dr. dawnn karen — dubbed ‘the world’s first fashion psychologist’ — shared a case study of a client who became emotionally exhausted due to her work as a physician, and dealing with COVID-19 patients. ‘for this particular circumstance, ‘I actually prescribed her to wear the color yellow because it signifies vitality and cheerfulness.’ dr. karen also went on to suggest that ‘workwear will be more relaxed, whether we ever go back to a physical establishment again or stay within our homes. now people will be dressing for functionality and safety. if we do continue to stay home, it’ll be about flexibility. no one wants to be in some stiff suit, so it’ll be about just how comfortable this outfit is.’

when we did venture outside, our wardrobes adapted to suit health and safety requirements. at the onset of the pandemic, luxury fashion houses like LVMH and prada offered their production and manufacturing power to contribute to the making of medical overalls and masks for healthcare personnel. but the mask and face shield field has come a long way since the CDC showed us how to make our own from t-shirts and old scarves. we’ve seen hoodies with built-in face shield and sneeze sleeves offering stylish protection against the virus, and the ‘vue shield’ by joe doucet with integrated sunglasses launch for sale in november.

designboom TECH predictions 2021: waist-up workwear, stylish protective gear, and IRL-free fittings
joe doucet’s fashionable face shield with integrated sunglasses launches for sale
more on designboom here

a step further, hanoi and geneva-based studio multiply introduced the ‘petticoat dress’ to help maintain safe social interaction with style and comfort. inspired by victoria era ball gowns and traditional scottish kilts, the tent-like wearable puts a 1-meter-long distance of fabric between the wearer and those around them. meanwhile, if you found yourself looking more at the little rectangle of yourself on video, rather than the faces of friends and family, then perhaps the ‘see yourself window’ by rana rmeily is for you. the lightweight, 3D-printed gadget allows wearers to see themselves while chatting with others thanks to attachable mirror add-ons customizable to each person’s ear size.

the petticoat dress 2
social distance in style with multiply’s ‘petticoat dress’
more on designboom here

with ample time at home this year, many took cues from social media to accept bread-baking challenges and DIY activities — and the luxury fashion industry managed to get in on the moment too. in ‘the pandemic is changing the future of fashion and shopping. why that’s a good thing’, the LA times shares the story of designer reese cooper, who offered ‘a $98 DIY kit that included all the materials and instructions to make an at-home version of his signature workwear-inspired coat right down to the patches and snap buttons — the run of 1,000 kits sold out immediately.’

designboom TECH predictions 2021: waist-up workwear, stylish protective gear, and IRL-free fittings
a sweater worn by harry styles has joined the V&A collection having sparked a viral crocheting trend on tiktok

back in february, when british star harry styles donned a multicolored cardigan by JW anderson, he couldn’t have known the reverberations his sweater would send across the lockdown-bound social media sphere. teen vogue reported that a new crafting trend emerged on tiktok by spring, whereby fans tried their hand at crocheting a lookalike sweater. ‘in their videos, users detail the process of creating a copycat cardigan, with some sketching out plans and showing off what they’re watching as they crochet.’

#harrystylescardigan on tiktok has since amassed over 49 million views — a startling figure that vogue business reports ‘shows the viral potential of tiktok for fashion marketers. ‘while tiktok has attracted big labels such as burberry, gucci, prada, dior and ralph lauren, some of which have sponsored their own challenges, this is the first time that a brand, especially an emerging one, has enjoyed this level of organic virality on tiktok’, shared brian mandler, co-founder of tiktok ad agency, the network effect. JW anderson’s own creative director was so overwhelmed by the response to the cardigan, that he released the pattern and tutorial of how to make it online. the tiktok trending sensation has since been acquired by the prestigious V&A museum in london.

designboom TECH predictions 2021: waist-up workwear, stylish protective gear, and IRL-free fittings
gucci X the north face teased a future collaboration with pokémon GO on twitter

contemporary culture and viral trends will continue to animate the fashion industry — take the twitter teaser by gucci X the north face of its upcoming partnership with digital critter-catching phenomenon, pokémon GO. highsnobiety, meanwhile, pays homage to ‘all of the events (big and small) that didn’t happen this year’ with its aptly titled ‘this never happened’ collection. ‘from book fairs to sex club parties to mineral meet-ups, we’re ending this year with a grain of salt and new garments for the next one.’

designboom TECH predictions 2021
highsnobiety remembers the things that didn’t take place this year with its ‘this never happened’ collection
photo by jose cuevas

in looking at the fashion industry of the future, criteo unpacks a further trend disrupting the industry — from store mannequins to digitally rendered models. ‘COVID-19 is pushing brands to engage and experiment with immersive technologies in order to provide their customers with something that resembles the physical experience they used to enjoy.’ this emerging movement is ever evident in LVxNBA, louis vuitton’s first menswear capsule collection with the NBA, with creations by virgil abloh. louis vuitton partnered with new york’s madison square garden to present a virtual selling experience filmed inside of the famous arena, utilizing drone footage of the actual clothing, shoes and accessories on display. the collection can be discovered by navigating around the capsule presentation using computers or personal devices.

designboom TECH predictions 2021
virgil abloh’s LVxNBA collection debuts with virtual selling experience at madison square garden
more on designboom here

amazon also entered the virtual fashion market with its ‘made for you’ service. fast company reports that ‘for just $25, amazon wants to make you a custom t-shirt. and a virtual body double. the initial product, a t-shirt, can be personalized to your taste and measurements, and more products are coming. this is amazon’s latest bid to make itself a fashion destination, and if the company chooses to double down on this made-to-measure technology, it could have significant impacts throughout the industry.’ vogue called the t-shirt ‘perfect’, with writer eliseé browchuk describing the seamless experience — ‘after what felt like years of a lost-cause search, creating my own tee couldn’t have been easier on amazon. go figure! in between sips of my morning coffee before my first zoom meeting, I completed a virtual fitting and personalized my product in under five minutes using the amazon app. no measuring tapes or IRL appointments were required to complete my custom tee.’

designboom TECH predictions 2021
amazon’s ‘made for you’ service lets you design tailored t-shirts using a virtual body double

so whether you’re dressing up your upper half, or fitting for an IRL-free frock, 2021 is reinventing the face of fashion to keep you virtually in vogue like never before…

nina azzarello I designboom

dec 31, 2020