Though Fall 2020 is shaping up to be an autumn like no other with deliveries for tracksuits outpacing suiting and investments in jeans dropping 8 percent year-over-year, retailers are discovering new opportunities.
A new report by retail market intelligence firm Edited offers a look into the categories and trends apparel retailers are betting on for the new season. While back-to-basics continues to win over the wallets of consumers, glimmers of new fashion and directional themes are pushing their way through the cracks.
One part Cottagecore, one part at-home fashion, the modest house dress sprung up as an ‘it’ item during summer staycations. Distinguished by its roomy fit and voluminous elasticated sleeves, the notable nod to the classic house coat became a popular “throw on” item for impromptu Zoom meetings and quick errand runs. And it is poised to get a winterized update with thicker fabrics and maxi lengths.
“Look to update in fall hues with thicker, more luxe fabrics like jacquard, velvets and satins,” Edited reported. “In the lead up to festive season, sheer and ruffled details refresh the style as a party wear staple.”
With cooler weather around the corner, retailers have an opportunity to introduce new—and pricier—loungewear items. Now is a chance to experiment with more “luxe fabrics,” Edited reported, like cashmere or recycled cashmere.
Classic loungewear items like oversized T-shirts and bottoms with elastic waists are primed for a color update with the season’s most popular hues: brown, blue, green and pale shades of pink that blur the line between pastels and neutrals.
The category has also grown to include non-athletic seamless apparel, drawstring trousers and knitted coordinating sets centered around dressier silhouettes like mock necks, turtlenecks, midi-length skirts and cardigans.
Though utility looks have walked the runway for several seasons, with designers like Off-White bulking up men’s vests and bottoms with cargo pockets and Stella McCartney introducing workwear-inspired jumpsuits to the mix, the trend serves a more functional purpose in a Covid world that requires masks, gloves and bottles of hand sanitizer.
The number of cargo trousers have increased for fall by 32 percent year-over-year, albeit with an athleisure influence. Cargo sweatpants, Edited noted, are “an important update to tick off the box for loungewear.”
Meanwhile, overshirts in neutral colors or color blocking are pegged as a versatile silhouette to watch, especially as a solution to upgrade workleisure stories.
A true “straight from the runway” trend, leather and leather-looking garments are filtering into fall assortments from a broad scope of brands and retailers, from Pull & Bear to White House Black Market, which are offering faux leather, to J Brand, which opted for both the real deal and leather-looking coated denim in its recent collaboration with Halpern.
The materials are a way to spice up otherwise comfort-driven assortments, while maintaining a classic autumnal feel. Skirts are the “most-invested in” apparel category for women and outerwear for men, Edited reported.
Vegan and environmentally friendly alternatives, however, show the most momentum. With shoppers awakening to the impact of their purchases, Edited said consumers are increasingly questioning their consumption of animal products—particularly female consumers. Data shows that of the Fall ’20 women’s leather styles in the market, 37 percent are vegan compared to 12 percent in men’s wear.
It wouldn’t be a fall season without at least some references to traditional styling. This year, that reference is inspired by Dark Academia, a subculture “built around New England private school nostalgia” and “the romanticizing of academia,” which Edited said is revealing a yearning to return to familiarity during uncertain times.
The preppy-meets-gothic look is rooted in classic fall color combinations, checks and grandfatherly silhouettes. For women, look for chunky knit cardigans, turtlenecks, tops with oversized collars and pinafore. For men, opt for varsity cardigans, cable-knit sweaters and pea coats.
The trend is welcoming the return of collegiate accessories such as satchels, plaid scarves and loafers, Edited reported.