Cottagecore, luxury sustainability, and loungewear: here are the trends that defined 2020

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Cottagecore, the rustic and romantic aesthetic beloved by Gen Z and TikTok, was everywhere this year, championed by it-girls of the likes of Mille Bobby Brown or Taylor Swift (who this year released the most Cottagecore album ever known to man). This trend had us channeling the preppy style of Lady Di’s early years: compared to 2019, Peter Pan collar blouses saw a +62% increase in clicks on Stylight in 2020, along with floral dresses (+141%) and cable-knit cardigans (+56%). A brand who is known to embody Cottagecore to the fullest is LoveShackFancy, which saw a +127% growth in clicks vs 2019.



Peter Pan collars






Floral dresses





Maybe because many of us started DIY-ing or renovating our homes during lockdown, maybe because it looks just plain cool.. either way, the utility look boomed in 2020, with several high-end brands embracing the trend – from Rick Owens, to Givenchy and Stella McCartney. On Stylight, we reported an uptick for all things utility this year: over 1000% more clicks for boiler suits vs 2019, along with cargo pants (+104%), combat boots (+224%) and bucket hats (+81%). This fall, even the iconic rubber wellies had a revival, with +208% more clicks from September to October for Hunter – yes, the label that made the rubber boots we all wore to festivals in 2008.



Boiler suits 



Cargo pants



Combat boots



Bucket hats


Covid-19 and lockdown regulations have marked a change for many industries, and fashion is definitely one of them. As staying at home, limiting travel and wearing a mask have become the new normal, customer interest shifted towards different categories than normally expected. We highlighted below some of the categories that our customers preferred during the pandemic.




In times of Corona, sleepwear became the new office wear. As many of us had to adapt to working remotly and creating new routines, we looked for new ways to feel put together while staying at home. And that included investing in new loungewear pieces: vs 2019, we reported a +56% increase in clicks for the loungewear category, and a +59% for pajamas. Luxury sleepwear brands thrived, with labels like Asceno (+54%) and For Restless Sleepers (+60%) growing exponentially in clicks in comparison to last year.




Surprisingly enough, it was a great year for activewear. With people trying to keep fit indoors and focusing on their overall health, interest for activewear surged. Globally, we registered a category increase of +40% for clicks on leggings and +52% for sport bras vs 2019. And let’s face it: activewear is both great for a virtual workout or for sitting on the couch streaming Tiger King.





Quite unexpectedly, face masks have become the defining accessory of 2020. When it was apparent we would be wearing face masks for the long run, users became more willing to invest in a trendy face mask to incorporate into their outfit. If you’re gonna have to wear it 12 hours a day, you might as well make it cute, right? The peak for face masks happened this summer, with +864% more clicks on the category in August vs May.

“There’s a natural and expectable process behind [lockdown trends]: with a shift in the cultural mood, what sells shifts too. No social occasions, mandatory working-from-home, and at home workouts: this is when the shift from formalwear to comfortable attire happened.” 

– Ilenia Sarman, Head of Brand & Content Marketing at Stylight

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Vegan leather & fur

Employing cruelty-free alternatives for leather and fur is slowly becoming a prerogative of big luxury brands. Some fashion houses, like Stella McCartney, have made this their mission, having already employed vegan fabrics for years. Yet most established brands, like Chanel, that are popular thanks to iconic accessories of high quality leather, have had to face an ever-increasing demand for vegan leather goods, which in turn has compelled them to explore synthetic alternatives to animal-based fabrics. Therefore, we are not surprised to see that, according to Google Trends, searches for luxury vegan leather items have grown by over 1000% compared to 2019.



Jeans are among the most purchased and worn garments in the world, and unfortunately also the most polluting: we now know that making a pair of jeans requires a lot of water and dangerous chemicals. In recent years, however, several labels, including high-end ones, have been working hard to lessen the impact of jean production on the environment, by reducing water consumption and replacing nasty chemicals with less harmful ingredients. Some examples? Take Nudie Jeans, a Scandinavian eco-denim label, that has seen a +30% increase in clicks in 2020 vs 2019; or Outland Denim, a sustainable jeans brand based in Australia, known for being one of Meghan Markle’s go-to denim picks.

In 2020, faced with increasing demand for sustainable clothing, several well-established fashion houses started approaching luxury in an eco-friendly way. We identified the most impactful trends in sustainability we’ve seen in high-end fashion this year.  



In 2020, we’ve seen several fashion houses embracing eco-materials to craft their collections: Gucci for instance pioneered the use of econyl, while Prada launched its Re-Nylon product line, and Burberry presented a collection of eco-sustainable products for SS20. And there’s more: Ganni employed recycled wool for its knitwear line, while YOOX presented an eco-friendly capsule in collaboration with Sharon Cho. On Stylight, German brand Aeance, which produces their garments with high-tech eco-materials, saw an increase in clicks of +514% this year vs last.


Dead-stock fabric & repurposing

Waste is one of the main issues arising from clothing production, and to avoid it, many brands have started to repurpose their waste fabrics. Take Acne Studios, which has launched a whole repurposed line; or young labels like Florence-based Avavav, that are committed to employing dead-stock fabric to craft their garments. On Stylight, Marine Serre, a ready-to-wear label committed to repurposing fabrics, launched into stardom for being worn by Beyonce in Black is King, has reported an increase in clicks of well over 1000% compared to 2019.



Leather: the fabric we loved in 2020

Who would have thought that leather would be the defining textile of 2020? We’ve seen it everywhere: leather blazers, leather pants, leather dresses.. this retro fabric just screams 90s rom-com outfit (yes, we know you’re thinking about Julia Roberts’ bookstore look in Notting Hill – we are too). Clicks on leather trench coats, an outerwear staple of the year, grew by +106% in 2020 vs 2019.

Lavender, coral, chocolate brown: the shades of 2020

2020 saw the return of Early-Aughts inspired hues, like lavender, with over 1000% more clicks vs 2019, and deep coral, with +175% more clicks vs last year. What totally surprised us? Chocolate brown: dresses in this color were booming, with +172% more clicks vs 2019. Delicious!



Our analysis is run on internal Stylight data from our 12 million monthly users across the 16 markets in which we are present. Time frame selected is from 01.01.20 to 30.09.20, and compared to 2019 for the same period. Whenever the timeframe selected may refer to a different time frame, or whenever the data may belong to an external source, it has been duly referenced in the body of text of the report.

written by:

Clara Del Genio

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