LONDON — It’s been a tough year for fashion in so many ways, not least because industry professionals and consumers alike have begun to question its relevance amid the global pandemic, and criticize the industry for a lack of diversity and its extensive impact on the environment.
But fashion isn’t going out of fashion just yet, according to the global shopping search platform Lyst. Its latest data shows signs of recovery in consumer confidence, and shopping appetites — for more than just trackpants. Lyst showcases millions of products from 12,000 brands and retailers.
“If early lockdown saw consumer confidence falter and preferences pivot toward loungewear and activewear, the third quarter of the year painted a sunnier picture, all things considered,” noted Lyst in its latest Index report, which analyzes Google search data as well as shopping patterns on the Lyst platform to identify the quarter’s hottest brands and items.
“Shoppers are willing to spend on brands that spark excitement and joy, while categories associated with life before COVID-19, such as bags and high heels, are rising again, global uncertainty notwithstanding.”
The brands that have been populating shoppers’ virtual baskets the most in the last three months are the ones with big personalities, digital presence, the ability to adapt quickly and to create products for their audiences’ new, home-based lifestyles, according to Lyst.
The latest ranking also highlights a continued affinity for the more established, familiar names: Gucci took the top spot in the ranking, having managed to amass 35 million views for its Epilogue virtual show, followed by Off-White, Nike, Prada, Balenciaga, Fendi, Versace, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta and Valentino.
The reach of these megabrands’ digital initiatives and product launches helped them keep the conversation going, despite unfavorable market conditions: Prada, for one, released its much-anticipated collaboration with Raf Simons and tripled its online sales revenues; Fendi also garnered buzz after revealing the appointment of Kim Jones as its new artistic director of women’s wear and after hosting its first physical show post-lockdown. Versace, meanwhile, saw its push into home pay off with printed bathrobes turning into one of the year’s “It” items.
Jacquemus and Marine Serre were the only two young names to join the megabrands in the ranking, in the 11th and 20th spots, respectively.
“Jacquemus, which is the 11th hottest brand following its rapid ascent, was among the first to hold a socially distanced fashion show since the crisis began. Set in a wheat field outside Paris, the show yielded a rich crop of social media posts despite the limited number of attendees.
“Demand for the brand spiked 186 percent in the 24 hours following the event,” said the report, also pointing to Marine Serre’s growing power.
Serre’s Paris-based label is the fastest-growing this quarter. It climbed 10 positions, and saw its signature crescent moon top featured at number two in the report’s “hottest items” ranking, next to Jacquemus’ Le Bob bucket hat at number three.
According to Lyst, the signature moon-print top saw a “meteoric rise in popularity” throughout the lockdown period, with searches increasing by 426 percent, after being seen on Adele, Kylie Jenner, K-pop group Blackpink and Beyoncé’s “Black Is King” music video.
Once again, mostly items by megabrands populated the product ranking, including Prada’s logo loafers, Bottega Veneta’s Tire boots and Chanel’s classic double flap bag. But the top spot was taken by Telfar’s shopping bag, which captures the more inclusive spirit that fashion is moving toward, and consumers’ willingness to stand behind independent labels.
“Telfar’s shopping bag is the hottest product in the world. Starting from the relatively accessible price of $150, Telfar’s motto ‘Not for you, for everyone’ sums up the new mood that has swept fashion — and the world. As a Black-owned brand that stood for inclusivity long before the BLM [Black Lives Matter] movement, Telfar has been well-placed to capture the increase in purpose-driven shopping, with demand for the bag spiking 270 percent,” notes the report.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC, the U.S. congresswoman for New York’s 14th District, was one main personality to help popularize the bag after posting about it on Instagram.
Elsewhere, the usual suspects — including the fashion influencer set and Kylie Jenner — have been determining the season’s hottest items, such as House of Sunny’s Hockney dress and Ganni’s balloon-sleeved dress, which took the fifth and seventh spots, respectively.
“This demonstrates the continued power of social media to drive demand — particularly in the era of social distancing and increased screen time,” added the report.
In the men’s wear department, there was a bigger focus on loungewear and comfortable footwear of all sorts, from limited-edition sneakers, to Ugg slippers and Birkenstock clogs — often worn with tennis socks.
“The upswing in demand for comfortable, slip-on footwear continued throughout the quarter,” said the report, pointing to David Beckham’s endorsement of the trend.
“Despite being mocked on Twitter for wearing socks and sandals to his wife Victoria’s fashion show in September, David Beckham was reflecting a resurgence in this look: Demand for men’s sandals increased 47 percent and socks 39 percent over the quarter.”
The Nike Air Jordan 1 High OG Dior sneakers were by far the most in-demand men’s shoe of the last three months, with a waiting list of five million people and resellers demanding 12 times the original $2,200 price tag.
“Dior is not included in The Lyst Index hottest brands ranking due to its distribution model, but the house had a strong quarter with livestreamed fashion shows from Puglia and Paris, and numerous celebrity endorsements,” added the report.