The first three months of 2020 were packed with tragedies, political tensions, economic troubles and a global pandemic that continues to shake the world. While consumer spending may have slowed in recent months as a result of COVID-19, consumers continue to search for fashion brands that stay relevant and engaged with followers through the crisis.
In its quarterly report of fashion’s hottest brands and products, global search platform Lyst compiled the names most commonly searched by more than nine million shoppers each month. The top 20 spots for Q1 2020 include brands that dropped meaningful collections, collaborated with key figures and contributed to relief efforts for current issues.
Balenciaga (No. 2) and Saint Laurent (No. 9) both pivoted to manufacturing surgical masks, as parent company Kering announced in March. Balenciaga’s koala hoodies that raised money for Australia’s brushfire relief and apocalypse-themed Paris fashion show also contributed to its high ranking.
Similarly, Moncler (No. 6) donated 10 million euros ($10.86 million) to a Milan hospital project in response to coronavirus, while Prada (No. 5) funded two new ICUs in a Milan hospital and Valentino (No. 8) donated 2 million euros ($2.17 million) for coronavirus relief on behalf of its parent company Mayhoola. The fragrance arm of Givenchy (No. 14) shifted to producing hand sanitizer to help with the coronavirus pandemic.
But it wasn’t just COVID-19 that drove consumers’ search habits. The turn of the new year inspired brands to launch celebratory collections, including Off-White, which earned the No. 1 spot for a second quarter. The brand released a Lunar New Year capsule collection in January, as did Gucci (No. 4) and Fendi (No. 6).
Iconic fashion shows also played a role in brand popularity, with Burberry (No. 11) presenting a carbon-neutral show at London Fashion Week. Vetements (No. 16) also made a statement with its Fall/Winter 2020 presentation that included celebrity lookalikes modeling its collection. Both Versace (No. 10) and Jacquemus (No. 15) each presented men’s and women’s collections together on the runway, potentially foreshadowing a new way of showcasing looks.
Brands posting the biggest jumps included Nike, which moved from the No. 12 spot in Q4 2019 to No. 3 in Q1. The brand most notably released a “Mamba Forever” ad in tribute to the late NBA luminary Kobe Bryant shortly following his sudden death. Raf Simons climbed from No. 29 to No. 17, and Thom Browne jumped from No. 33 to No. 19.
Consumers also searched brands that displayed creativity during challenging times. Stone Island (No. 12) presented an installation by artist Ken-Tonio Yamamoto in its Milan store. Similarly, Bottega Veneta (No. 13) unveiled a 100 percent biodegradable boot in its F/W 20-21 collection.
Sports played a role in consumer search behavior, as Loewe (No. 18) named athlete Megan Rapinoe as the face of its F/W 20-21 campaign and Rick Owens (No. 20) partnered with Champion on a sportswear collection.