The Lyst Index is a quarterly ranking of the hottest brands and products in fashion, determined by over 100 million global consumers each year. Their latest findings cover the final three months of 2020, in which shoppers sought out comfort first and foremost, favouring Uggs, Birkenstock clogs and North Face puffer jackets. Gucci ended the year as the most popular brand in the world after their online fashion and film festival GucciFest triumphed, while Balenciaga and Valentino also experimented within the digital realm.
Below, we chart the trends of 2020 courtesy of The Lyst Index Q4:
Alessandro Michele's Gucci came up trumps as the most popular brand in the world after dabbling in the increasingly popular medium of fashion film. In November 2020, Michele and cult American filmmaker Gus Van Sant co-directed OUVERTURE of Something that Never Ended, a seven-part film series set in Rome featuring cameos from Billie Eilish, Harry Style, Florence Welch and more. This initiative was part of GucciFest, a digital fashion and film festival giving young designers including Bianca Saunders and Mowalola a platform to expand their aesthetic universes. Then there was Styles's historic December American Vogue cover, in which the British pop star donned a Gucci ballgown and tuxedo jacket in a playful image shot by Tyler Mitchell, cementing 2020 as Gucci's year.
Gucci was not the only brand with a digital-first approach. Under the creative direction of Demna Gvasalia, Balenciaga launched an online video game set in the near-future of 2031 as part of their A/W 21 collection. In Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow, users could navigate concrete Balenciaga stores, futuristic metropolises and illegal raves. 'I hate the idea of fashion film. I find it very dated,' Gvasalia told British Vogue. As most of us were locked down in our homes during the game's release, Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow offered some much-needed wonder and respite from the dreary state of the real world.
Valentino held an interactive 'brand experience' entitled Re-Signify Part One from December 2020-January 2021 at the Power Station of Arts in Shanghai, alongside Valentino Insights, an immersive experience where virtual visitors could walk around a modernist Mediterranean villa inspired by creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli’s own home in Nettuno, Italy.
Despite the proliferation of digital initiatives, fashion's brick-and-mortar future is looking optimistic. Loewe, Moncler and Versace opened new flagship stores in Paris. In 2021, it would seem that the new hybrid of 'phygital' fashion is going full throttle.
Clothing As Comfort
As we spent the final months of 2020 indoors, online shoppers sought out comfort. The North Face’s 1996 retro Nuptse jacket was the most popular product for both men and women after celebrities including Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski were papped wearing it. Birkenstock’s shearling Boston clogs appeared close behind, proving that ugly chic is in vogue once again (even if we never get to wear them out of the house). Ugg boots are back, having been championed by models Irina Shayk and Joan Smalls, with the sheepskin-lined shoe even proving popular with men, although their preference is limited to the slipper version only.
If 2020 was the year of fashion carving out its digital future, what will brands bring to the table in 2021? Who will triumph in the 'phygital' age? Will the runway show come back in vogue once lockdown is finally over? One thing is for certain - in 2021, we can expect to see more hybridisation and experimentation in fashion's seasonal showcasing.
The information in this article was provided by The Lyst Index Q4 2020.