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Maximalism and Streetwear Ruled the 2010s, The RealReal’s Trend Report Says

The 2010’s—a decade without a snappy moniker—have come to a close. As the fashion world takes stock of the innumerable trends that made the era what it was, some standouts have emerged from the fray.

Luxury resale website The RealReal, which launched in 2011, has been mining data on millions of sales and shoppers since its inception. On Thursday, the company released its Decade in Resale trend report, which outlines the brands and styles that made the biggest impact on consumers’ hearts and wallets.

According to The RealReal, “maximalism,” or over-the-top, eclectic styling, ruled the decade. Streetwear’s reign, which now seems obvious due to the trend’s current ubiquity, really rose to prominence during the latter half of the 2010s.

Ultra-hip streetwear brand Supreme still dominated the decade in terms of resale value. As millennials came into their peak spending power, the trend snowballed with remarkable force.

Some of the decade’s most popular products, which garnered the highest resale value on The RealReal, included Supreme’s Box Logo hoodie, Goyard’s St. Louis tote, Van Cleef and Arpels Alhambra bracelet, Hermes’ iconic Birkin bag and Louis Vuitton’s inescapable Neverfull tote.

Despite the proliferation of new designers and brands, the 2010s saw gains for some of luxury’s longstanding labels. Products from Gucci, Fendi and Dior showed the fastest growth in resale value over the past 10 years.

In fact, the 2010s were an era defined in large part by nostalgia and reflection. A resurgence of styles from the 70s, 80s, 90s and even the early aughts made vintage pieces prized acquisitions on the resale platform.

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Searches for vintage goods increased by a whopping 830 percent over just the past two years, analysts said. The top vintage obsessions of the decade included Chanel’s Quilted Small Double Flap bag, Fendi’s Semi-Sheer Zucca FF blouse and Gucci’s Logo Leather belt.

Luxury logos also proved to have incredible resonance with consumers. The average resale value of products bearing logos from labels like Dior, Gucci, Hermes and Chanel was 1.9 times higher than products without prominent branding.

“Logos were omnipresent in the 2010s,” Sasha Skoda, The RealReal’s head of women’s, said. “They transitioned from status symbol to badge of honor representing favored fashion tribes… More brands than ever are adopting logos to define their brand, and strong demand is driving continually rising resale values for logo pieces as we enter a new decade.”

While the 2010s felt like a swirling maelstrom of trends, a close look reveals that certain pockets within the decade were dedicated to distinct styles.

According to The RealReal’s analysts, maximalist styles sold three times more than other trends, though,  including minimalist, sexy, ’90s streetwear and boho.

Fashion all-star Alessandro Michele, who was appointed creative director for Gucci in 2015 after stints at Fendi and Tom Ford, is widely credited for spearheading the maximalist movement. The trend is characterized by the heavy use of embellishments, patterns and other eye-catching elements.

While maximalism surely ruled the era, specific products enjoyed their “moments in the sun,” analysts said. The RealReal broke down each year’s favored products by resale value and demand.

The Herve Leger Bandage dress dominated 2011, while Valentino’s Rockstud pump was all the rage in 2012. Celine’s Luggage tote reached It Bag status in 2013, and Kenzo’s Tiger sweatshirt signaled the rise of streetwear in 2014.

In 2015, the Mansur Gavriel Bucket bag drove bag enthusiasts to the site, while Vetements’ high-waisted, patchwork jeans enraptured shoppers in 2016. Gucci’s notorious Princetown Horsebit loafers, Yeezy x Adidas Boost 350 V2s and Jacquemus’ Le Sac Chiquito mini bag dominated 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively.

The streetwear trend skyrocketed in part due to the constant roll-out of creative collabs. Streetwear’s resale value increased by 1.6 times throughout the decade, driven in part by these popular partnerships.

“Streetwear took the 2010s by storm, making a rapid migration from niche to mainstream,” Sean Conway, The RealReal’s streetwear and sneaker expert, said. “Coveted collaborations and exclusive drops created mass appeal that drove demand and skyrocketed value, blurring the lines between streetwear and luxury.”

By way of example, The RealReal highlighted Louis Vuitton x Supreme’s collaboration, which generated resale value that was 4.5 times greater than the luxury label’s value on its own. Off-White and Nike’s collaboration has a resale value about six times greater than either of the participating brands alone.

Traditional gender distinctions in fashion were also upended in recent years, with designers experimenting with unisex designs and influencers calling for more inclusivity.

Since 2017, 3.5 times as many women have bought men’s sneakers, while the number of men purchasing women’s handbags grew 1.6 times higher.

The rise of sustainable fashion also took shape over the course of the past decade, as consumers became more aware of the industry’s impact on the planet. The trend stands to continue into the Roaring ‘20s (as they’ve been affectionately dubbed).

Throughout the 2010s, brands with prominent sustainability profiles demonstrated 1.5 times greater resale value than others. And over just the past two years, searches for sustainable brands have increased 3.6 times over, proving the value of leading with ethics and environmental responsibility.

The era’ sustainable standouts include Stella McCartney, Nanushka (which demonstrated a 1,090 percent increase in searches in 2019), Bode and Wake.

According to a consumer survey conducted by The RealReal, shoppers plan to change the way they consume fashion in the 2020s. Three-fifths (60 percent) said they would buy more resale in the coming decade, while more than half (55 percent) claimed they would taper off fast-fashion purchases. Forty-six percent of shoppers said they would make a conscious effort to buy from more sustainable brands and retailers.