It’s never been easier for an apparel and footwear brand to know what’s trending. Social media provides companies instant peeks into the closets of the masses and despite being too slow for some, speed-to-market production has never been faster.
However, it required a unique recipe of nostalgia, accessibility and communication in 2018 to make a trend a commercial success.
Retailers that stocked leopard prints in 2018 were spot on. The statement print, Edited said, touched every women’s category including outerwear, dresses, footwear and accessories, as well as children’s wear and men’s wear.
Footwear proved to be an easy way to adopt the animal print. Edited data shows leopard print footwear made up 32 percent of the U.S. footwear market. Meanwhile, across the pond in the U.K., the quantity of leopard print tops in the mid and mature women’s wear category increased 24 percent year-over-year, Edited reported.
For men, the trend hit its stride among High Street retailers like River Island and Topman, where consumers also gave snake and zebra print shirts a try.
The “It” bag has been replaced by the “Instagram” bag. And if the black Mansur Gavriel bucket bag won 2016 and Cult Gaia’s bamboo Arc bag won 2017, then it was the au natural straw bag that owned 2018.
Straw bags (and variants made with bamboo and other handwoven, natural materials) were the finishing touch to the bohemian, wanderlust vibe that was prevalent across the social media channel during the summer. Rounded shapes were especially popular, and offered consumers a more affordable way to sport a look popularized by Mansur Gavriel’s leather circle bag.
In the U.S. Edited reported that the quantity of “natural bags” at retail increased 123 percent year-over-year. The number ballooned 249 percent in the U.K.
The bags were also an accessible and stylish way to incorporate natural materials into wardrobes. “With sustainability and eco trends now vital to retailers and consumers, it’s no surprise that more retailers and shoppers embrace raw materials,” Edited said.
From U.K. retailer John Lewis removing gender labels from its own line of children’s clothing, to behemoths like Asos, H&M and Zara introducing gender-neutral clothing collections in 2018, fashion embraced unisex styles.
And it’s being accepted across all tiers. Edited reports that from January to November 2018, high-end retailers accounted for 53.4 percent of the unisex fashion market, followed by the mass at 31.5 percent, premium at 11.4 percent and value with 3.7 percent.
Denim, however, may be one area where brands are reconsidering a unisex approach. Edited noted that Gap and H&M both introduced unisex denim collections in 2017, but did not carry the concepts into 2018.
Chunky dad shoes
The chunky dad sneaker is the product of a perfect storm of consumer and fashion trends. Comfortable, nostalgic, sporty and in some cases, luxury, the dad sneaker was the polarizing shoe that won over even the most critical fashionistas.
“This year we’ve seen a huge resurgence in luxury and street influences that has helped propel this into the mainstream,” Edited said about the kick.
And consumers can shop the shoe at all tiers. While Balenciaga’s Triple S, which retails for $895, became an “It’ item with street style stars and bloggers, so did the $75 Fila Disruptor II, a model that debuted in the ’90s.
Edited sees mass market retailers getting into the action too with their own labels. Zara, Topshop and Pretty Little Thing were among those Edited noted that rolled out their own styles as early as February.