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How Space Travel and Politics Will Shape Fashion in 2020

In fashion, the year 2020 not only represents the deadline for Greenpeace’s Detox campaign to eliminate hazardous chemicals from clothing production, it will also be a year that brings global politics and space exploration to the runway, according to Lyst.

In the “Year in Fashion 2019” report, the global fashion search platform peered into its crystal ball to identify five cultural trends that will influence fashion in 2020.

Here’s a look at the next year in fashion.

Rocket science

Similar to Y2K, the year 2020 has been a source of inspiration for sci-fi storytellers for decades. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that fashion is feeling futuristic vibes too. Holographic fabrics, outerwear that mimics the look of space suits and “otherworldy styling” are among the trends Lyst has identified as trends to watch for Spring/Summer 2020.

Space age fashion on tap to be a big 2020 trend.
S/S 2020 Louis Vuitton AN LANGSDON/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Expect the fashion trend to lift off, Lyst said, when testing of SpaceX’s reusable rocket and new human-crewed spacecrafts begin testing in 2020.

Election year

If you think the past three years of trade wars and Brexit have been turbulent for fashion, just wait until the 2020 U.S. presidential election cycle is in full swing. A turbulent political year, Lyst said, creates “cultural tensions” that affect consumer mindsets worldwide.

What those tensions will be is unknown, but now that “cause fashion” and fashion bearing political messages have become de rigueur on the runway and on high streets across the globe, expect to see designers voice their opinions on everything from equality to climate change.

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“With the upcoming U.S. elections, we predict to see even more political fashion statements from politicians, brands and retailers in 2020,” Lyst said.

Big in Japan

Every Olympics shines a spotlight on the host city, but what Sochi, Vancouver and even Athens lacked in style, Tokyo will more than make up for it. At least 600,000 overseas spectators are expected to visit Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic games, meaning they will have firsthand exposure to the city’s unique style subcultures.

The Olympic Games in Japan will shine a spotlight on Tokyo fashion.
Tokyo street style Onnie A Koski/WWD/Shutterstock

“With all eyes on Japan 2020, prepare to be inspired by bold Harajuku street style and cult Japanese labels,” Lyst said, naming Sacai, Undercover, Visvim and Neighborhood as among some of the most covetable names. Searches for Japanese brands, Lyst said, increased 8 percent this year.

Shoppers wanted

The days of Jacquemus’ ‘Le Chiquito’ bag, the 4.25-inch handbag that went from being meme fashion to becoming a coveted ‘It’ item, may be numbered.

Tiny bags were all the rage in 2020.
Jacquemus’ ‘Le Chiquito’ bag was the ‘It’ bag of 2019. Cornel Cristian Petrus/Shutterstock

Following several seasons that saw handbag sizes shrink by 40 percent, Lyst predicts fashion will swing back to oversized handbags. Specifically, the supersized shopper from the early ’00s. Lyst named soft leather styles by brands like Little Liffner and The Row as bags to watch.

Brand power

While 2019 saw designers like Pyer Moss and Molly Goddard break out from flying under the radar, and heritage brands like Bottega Veneta enjoy a revival, a new class of brands is poised to emerge.

Based on fast-growing search terms over the past six months, Lyst suggests that 2020 will be a big year for ultra-feminine labels from Copenhagen like Rotate Birger Christensen, which has the party dress down pat, and Cecilie Bahnsen, a purveyor of peasant and baby doll dresses.

Copenhagen brands impress for 2020.
S/S 2020 Cecilie Bahnsen Cynthia Anderson/Shutterstock

Brands with a streetwear element factor in, too. Italian streetwear brand GCDS, minimalist label ALYX and Marine Serre, which got a stamp of approval by Beyonce this year when she wore the designer’s crescent top, leggings and boots to a basketball game, are picking up momentum, Lyst reported.