With no stores to discover new fashion or street style to watch, and fewer magazines and look books to flip through, the pandemic has thrown off the spring/summer trend cycle.
But according to new data from Trendalytics, a product intelligence company that helps brands and retailers make decisions using data-driven insights, consumers sought comfort and nostalgic apparel instead of traditional springtime themes during the month of May.
Though denim trend forecasters have had a watchful eye on the evolution of dye effects for several seasons, the color bubble burst during the pandemic.
Searches for women’s tie-dye sweatpants increased 4,758 percent since last year, according to Trendalytics, while searches for tie-dye sweatshirts—which are up 1,072 percent compared to 2019—are still on the rise. Interest in the retro motif is also extending into the accessories market. Compared to last year, searches for tie-dye socks are up 266 percent and searches for tie-dye purses are up 492 percent.
Online retailer PrettyLittleThing capitalized on the tie-dye trend. Data from retail data platform Omnilytics back this up, showing that the retailer sold out 450 tie-dye-themed products in May alone.
“As we enter the summer months, this young, care-free style continues to dominate consumer searches,” Trendalytics said. In fact, searches for tie-dye bikini tops are already up 464 percent from last year.
Kids are getting into the psychedelic spirit, too. Much like the women’s wear market, the kid’s market shows loungewear and swimwear among the most popular product categories for the tie-dye trend, according to Trendalytics. Searches for girls’ tie-dye sweatshirts are up 353 percent compared to last year, while searches for girls’ tie-dye swimsuits are up 233 percent.
Consumers’ interest in nostalgic, DIY fashion doesn’t start and stop with tie dye. Trendalytics pointed out that the “surge in popularity for tie-dye terms is accompanied by a similar surge in popularity for bleached terms.”
Searches for bleached sweatshirts are up 336 percent compared to last year. And searches for bleached jeans rose 257 percent.
The vintage effect crosses over with other ’90s-era fashion statements that made a comeback in May. Searches for silk bandanas increased 194 percent from last year. Data also showed that searches for butterfly necklaces rose 125 percent.
And other trends from the tail-end of the decade are filtering through. Searches for baguette bags—a Fendi style made famous by a “Sex and the City” episode in 2000—increased 217 percent compared to last year.
Slippers, which typically pick up momentum during the holiday season, became a stay-at-home staple for men in May. Searches for men’s slippers increased 58 percent compared to last year, Trendalytics reported, with slide slippers and sheepskin slippers being the most popular iterations.
Meanwhile, searches for normcore favorite Crocs rose 78 percent. Search interest and social buzz for the EVA footwear brand are up compared to last year, and the trend is expected to grow over the next three months, Trendalytics said.
Sweatshirts became the unofficial men’s uniform of quarantine at the start of the pandemic. Omnilytics reported that Boohoo had an 88 percent sell-out rate for the comfy basic. Consumers, however, are finding summery ways to reinterpret these loungewear habits they developed during shelter-in-place orders.
Trendalytics data indicates that men are updating their loungewear by searching for “lighter substitutes” like muscle tees (up 160 percent compared to last year) and lounge shorts (up 91 percent compared to last year).
Consumers may be upgrading their activewear, too, as gyms begin to reopen in some regions of the U.S. Searches for men’s workout shorts are up 80 percent and jogger shorts are up 56 percent compared to last year’s numbers, Trendalytics reported.