It’s that time of the year again when we look back at 2021 and (sometimes) wonder what all the fuss was about. From the deaths of fashion heroes to ridiculous fashion trends, here are the eight things fashion people were talking about in 2021.
1. The death of Virgil Abloh, 41
Gone well before his time, Virgil Abloh’s death from cancer was a total shock to the fashion industry as a whole and lovers of fashion everywhere. Abloh was the founder of cutting-edge streetwear brand Off-White, the creative director of menswear for Louis Vuitton, and a DJ, architect, and skater. As an African American, he was one of the first black designers to head up a major luxury brand, breaking boundaries left and right as he added his streetwear vibe to one of the highest high-end luxury brands. He will be greatly missed.
2. The death of Alber Elbaz, 59
Best known for his years of work with luxury brand Lanvin, Elbaz’s death was the first from Covid-19 in the fashion industry and came with a shock. Having worked with many major fashion brands, including Geoffrey Beene, Guy Laroche and Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Elbaz had just launched his first eponymous fashion brand, AZ Factory, weeks prior to his death.
3. The ongoing obsession with the ‘90 and Y2K
Some of the ugliest fashion ideas from the ‘90s and Y2K are still hanging around, thanks mostly to Gen-Xers who can’t seem to get enough of crop tops, baby tees, low rise jeans and baguette bags. The increased awareness around sustainability in fashion has helped thrift stores worldwide, but it’s also seen some of the ugliest bits of fashion become popular again.
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4. Sustainability or Greenwashing?
While Gen-X and beyond have begun paying more attention to sustainability issues in the fashion industry, there’s also been a huge amount of ‘greenwashing’ going on within the industry. Brands from fast fashion to luxury have been spouting their new environmentally-friendly, ‘green’ and recycled initiatives. But all the shouting is covering up the continued growth of overproducing brands like Shein. A few big brands doing it right are Uniqlo, Stella McCartney and Pangaia. Pangaia’s neon pink sweatshirt is also one of the hottest fashion items of 2021 after Harry Styles was spotted wearing it, an actual sustainable trend you can happily support.
If Hermes is selling clogs, clogs are hot.
6. Bodycon ‘90s Calvin Klein style
Silk slip dresses, slinky knit dresses, skinny cardigans with no front closure, knit pencil skirts etc. These items are modern iterations of the 90s Calvin Klein aesthetic that are all over Instagram, TikTok and being sold at ridiculously cheap prices online. If you’re going to get into this trend, at least be classy enough to invest in the original pieces either online or from a quality secondhand store. Recycle, remember!
7. Pearls are STILL a thing (because Harry)
So, pearl jewellery has been having a moment since Harry Styles wore that pearl necklace in May 2020 at the SiriusXM studios. Since then, pearl jewellery of all types has been practically a mainstream trend. Girls, guys and non-binary types have been loving pearls in all their glory. The latest must-have pearl item is the iconic Vivienne Westwood pearl choker. Get one now, before Harry buys them all.
8. Harry Styles is STILL a thing (because Pearls)
Yep, Harry Styles remains one of the most influential fashionistas globally. He wore a Gucci dress on the cover of Vogue in 2020 and broke the internet (apparently), and we’re still influenced by his love of pearls that started in 2019. In 2021, GQ has named him the best-dressed musician of 2021, Prestige voted him the top Style Icon of 2021, and he even has a website dedicated only to his clothes!
What more could we want for our fashionable Christmas present than a visit from a bonafide style icon? But if Harry’s too busy, we’ll take a pair of Hermes clogs, thank you!
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