Skip to main content

Fall/Winter 2021 Trends Balance Optimism and Minimalism

In fashion, there’s more than what meets the eye. Though comfort and loungewear continue to be the predominate themes being flung to the front of stores and anchoring brands’ communication efforts to consumers, predictive analytics firm Heuritech sees new opportunities for retailers to restore interest in fashion and trends.

On Tuesday, the trend forecasting company, in partnership with Carlin Creative Trend Bureau, hosted “2021 Fashion Rejuvenation,” a webinar that shined a spotlight on themes to watch for the Fall/Winter 2021 season.

The pandemic and how it has affected lifestyles, however, is an underlying influence for all of the trends, beginning with the infusion of technology. “Lockdown acted like a catalyst accelerating major changes regarding our relationship to the screens,” said Amber Venissac, Carlin fashion and beauty marketing trendspotter.

It also altered human relationships, and as a result, she said the digitalization of our lives has paved the way for new means of how we work, date and express ourselves. The internet, she added, has become inseparable from our real lives.

Nowhere was this more evident in the fashion industry than in how designers presented their recent collections through video content and other digital means, said Morgane Bourgeois, Heuritech fashion and consumer insights analyst. Elements like digital backgrounds, gaming-like scenery and sound, allowed viewers to be immersed not only in the collections but also in the designers’ artificial worlds. And for full effect, this also influenced the fabrics and patterns designers chose for their collections.

Related Story

For this reason, Bourgeois said metallic fabrics will be important in conveying creativity and imagination in the digital era. Crinkled metallic fabrics lend a “strong sense of texture” and fragility. The natural reflection of satin makes the fabrication a safe bet for F/W ’21 as well. The reflection, she added, draws attention to the silhouette. Likewise, vinyl is a glossy option for edgy and trendy consumers. Though it hasn’t been adapted to all consumer segments, she said it evokes a sense of fashion fantasy.

Though loungewear continue to be the predominate themes in fashion, Heuritech sees new opportunities in minimalism and joyful fashion.
Sankuanz Fall 2021 WWD

Lightweight tulle is gaining traction in a digital world—but in a new way. “It can be layered with other fabrics, so it is the ideal fabric to make a statement piece,” Bourgeois said. In warm red and orange hues, the delicate fabric takes on fiery, less romantic look. Designers are also increasingly opting to use the fabric on the upper half of the body, which she said is in line with demand for camera-ready fashion.

Designers’ fantastical use of fabrics hints at another consumer demand: optimism and joy. During depressing times, Bourgeois said designers opt for optimism to “enhance their creativity.”

Allover flower prints—a retro nod to the ’60s—offer an antidote to gloomy days, she said. The print will remain a stable option for F/W ’21. Allover fruit prints, however, are on the decline. Though fruit prints speak to consumers’ desire to reconnect with Mother Nature, retailers and brands should approach the theme with caution.

Though loungewear continue to be the predominate themes in fashion, Heuritech sees new opportunities in minimalism and joyful fashion.
Dhruv Kapoor Fall 2021 WWD

Color is an essential part of any joyful fashion story. Being one of Pantone’s Colors of the Year for 2021 automatically puts yellow in a prominent space, but expect to see designers use the color to emphasis design elements or the texture of fabrics like mesh and tulle, Bourgeois said. Meanwhile, monochromatic orange offers an optimistic alternative to yellow and pairs well with retro flower power prints, she said.

For others, minimalism creates a sense of calm. Consumers and designers, Venissac said, are nostalgic for the pre-2000s, a time when “the internet had not yet become all consuming.”

The chaos born from the Covid-19 era is leading consumers to favor fashion with history and to prize garments produced technical skill. “Less is much more,” she said, noting the return of “classics with a twist.”

Though loungewear continue to be the predominate themes in fashion, Heuritech sees new opportunities in minimalism and joyful fashion.
Joseph Fall 2021 WWD

Amelie Rotsen, Heuritech fashion analyst, said young designers are approaching this direction with elegance and simplicity, starting with monochromatic black-and-white looks. The colors come together on pinstripe garments, which Rotsen said are transcending the business world and becoming a fashion staple.

Traditional tailored silhouettes like blazers are gaining momentum as well, but Rotsen noted a greater interest in reinvented or unexpected details. White shirts are a natural companion to pinstripes and blazers. Shirting for F/W ’20 draws inspiration from architecture to cut a polished yet impactful shape.