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  • Will 2020’s love of comfortable clothes continue into 2021?
  • Will 2020’s love of comfortable clothes continue into 2021?
    Cottonbro (2020) ©

2021 Expert Outlook on Fashion and Style

How can clothing convey status but not wealth? How can heritage brands excel in an era of less brand loyalty? And how is political polarisation impacting style? In this part of the 2021 Expert Outlook, we speak to three experts about how people are redefining the role fashion plays in identity.

Location Global

In 2020, the fashion industry was dealt a chaotic hand. In one sense, COVID-19’s cancellation of social life rendered fashion obsolete, with stylistic expression constrained to the square of a Zoom call. Stuck at home with webcams for catwalks, the formerly fashion-obsessed instead took on minimalist aesthetics, ditched denim for elastic waistbands, and proclaimed pyjamas viable office workwear. Nike, for example, prepared for the fashion apocalypse – gearing its products towards staying at home, and swapping ‘Just Do It’ for ‘Just Do Nothing’.

At the same time, style wasn’t always ...



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    How people came to see clothes as armour

    The concept of ‘defensive dressing’ might once have evoked images of Kelvar vests or plate armour, but in 2020, protective apparel and accessories have become commonplace as people look to minimise their exposure to COVID-19. How is a desire to stay healthy and safe impacting style choices?

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    Why every day is casual Friday in the ‘new normal’

    Restrictive social distancing measures and an increase in remote working have seen the spaces for sartorial self-expression shift from public to private. In the post-pandemic era, how might people use clothing to define their identities, and what kinds of garments will they come to cherish?

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    Why do young Americans love branded merch?

    Branded merchandise was once solely found at business conventions and in the wardrobes of fervent fans, but it’s enjoying a renaissance as Gen Yers and Zers seek new ways of expressing their identity. What does this resurgence reveal of the shifting nature of consumer-brand relationships?

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    Can possessions bring comfort in a crisis?

    In an always-on consumer culture, people are used to buying what they want whenever they want. But can possessions comfort and fulfill us during uncertain times? Canvas8 spoke to Bruce Hood, author of Possessed, to understand the psychology behind owning new things.