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Fashion Forecast: Comfort and function rule




De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Design and Arts Associate Dean for Environment Cluster Christine Benet.

The year 2020 began with a call for the extreme and the flamboyant. But the sudden shift to work-from-home arrangements forced everyone to slip into cozier fits. For this coming 2021, comfort, versatility and function remain de rigueur.

Fashion design and merchandising expert Christine Benet, newly-appointed Associate Dean for Environment Cluster of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Design and Arts, reveals this year’s style trends.

This is in line with the predictions of giant trend forecaster World’s Global Style Network (WGSN), comprised of a team of over 250 experts and data scientists that curate an immense online library of insights and inspirations on fashion, retail and the whole lifestyle industry.

The financial anxiety brought by the economic decline highlights consumer needs rather than commercial concepts. Stay-at-home drove a new interest in flexible easy-to-style and easy-to-wear outfits.

Cutouts are key for cross-category bodywear. / PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF boyarovskaya and David Koma

“The pandemic did not stop consumers from their purchasing behavior. Rather, there is a shift towards more practical products,” Benet noted. “Fashion pieces are now considered to be investments that will last beyond the pandemic.”

Hip loungewear
For ladies, long dresses and skirts with slim silhouettes are a go-to.

Loungewear definitely reigns the racks. It is now more about print and texture and less on embellishments. Soft crochets are perfect for artisanal comfy vibe, while loud historic details and openwork embroidery bring romance to easy shapes.

Use rustic fringing to bring the boho spirit to loungewear.

“Loungewear has significantly risen in the Philippines and it goes to show how consumers have adjusted to the pandemic and created their own new normal at home,” Benet shared.

Ribs and shirring likewise add a gentle touch in the over-all nightwear-look, while rustic fringing gives the ensemble a boho spirit. Pretty patchworks like lace and ditsy florals as well as embroidered sheers create character in a minimalist ensemble.

Edgy details
Those who opt for an edgier touch can play with black and white contrasts in feminine looks, cutout cross-category bodywear or fine strappings in stretchy bra tops.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF white mountaineering Comfort remains king for crew-neck sweats.

For men, fitted styles are likewise in. For cozier options, crew-neck sweats remain king, while universal cover-ups and oversized cuts provide layered slouchy looks. Sets and coordinates are hero pieces especially when matched with parka, bomber and track jackets.

Virtual con-ready
The work-from-home set-up likewise led to the so-called Above the Keyboard Dressing, which gives importance to the visible pieces such as necklines that render a professional do.

“It took time for consumers to weave in their work schedule with their home environment. This goes the same with personal grooming,” Benet explained. “It may be simpler. Trying to look presentable during online work, while performing household chores, posted a challenge. However, consumers were slowly able to identify appropriate pieces that is still functional and fashionable highlighting top clothing.”

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF converse, cairuma, dopekicks/hypebeast

Sneakers, especially the growing interest on eco-sneaker materials, posit how the pandemic has affected the consumers’ priorities on comfort and function.

“The pandemic brought awareness to social issues, as the general public saw its effects even in the manufacturing sector of the fashion industry. Now, there is more interest in social entrepreneurs and sustainable products,” Benet added.

Benilde continues to be a subscriber to the WGSN, which is used by businesses and professionals to gather consumer insights and design movements.