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Y2K, NFT fashion and Bridgerton: Lyst reveals 2021 trend index

By Rachel Douglass

Nov 19, 2021


Image: Lyst

This year has seen an unusual cohort of cultural and societal transitions, with these unprecedented times delivering a sense of the unexpected into what is now seen as ‘the new normal’. Fashion shopping platform Lyst has revealed its 2021 trend index, detailing these transitional and most influential trends of the past year, from hybrid workwear and on-screen style moments to dopamine dressing and Zendaya’s rise in fashion.

As 2021 came around, the uncertainty of what to expect from fashion was highly evident: Would people be going out, staying home or existing entirely online? FashionUnited selected the most important components of the index to help finally answer this question.

A consistent factor came from the continued rise in digital fashion, seeing the spread of NFTs and virtual drops become a regular part of the fashion agenda. Gaming collaborations were a popular go-to, with the likes of Balenciaga, Gucci and Nike turning to the gaming world for its fashion releases. 2021 also became the year where the world collectively realised the importance of conscious fashion, as noted by the platform. Searches for vegan leather products rose 178 percent, while plant-dyed searches grew 131 percent. Genderless fashion was also one of Lyst’s top movements, noting influential celebrities, such as the likes of Lil Nas X, as a main factor in its rise in popularity.

Image: Balenciaga x Fortnite

Dopamine dressing was the most important ‘moment’ as reported by Lyst, developed in response to our lives steadily coming out of lockdown. Searches for colourful, bold pieces saw a dramatic rise, which was also observed for going out clothing, as the return of nightlife became evident. Major events reverting back to their almost normal forms also had an impact, with the likes of the Olympics, Euros and Met Gala each significantly impacting particular areas in fashion and culture.

Bringing the on-screen, off-screen

Pop culture continued to have a huge influence on shoppers, with on-screen and music moments leading the way in defining 2021 fashion. Netflix series Bridgerton was appointed the top spot in Lyst’s on-screen segment, noting its influence in the significant rise in corset popularity, which saw a 23 percent search spike less than a week following the series’ launch. Gossip Girl, The Serpent and Squid Game were also among the most influential shows, as well as the soon-to-be-launched House of Gucci, which has already caused a 173 percent search flood for the fashion house. Kanye West, Dua Lipa and Billie Eilish were selected as the top three musical influences with their 2021 album drops, followed by newcomer Olivia Rodrigo, who also aided in the resurgence of Y2K fashion due to her aughties-infused music videos.

Image: Netflix

In fact, according to Lyst, Y2K fashion led the way in online trends, generating more than 220 million TikTok views and seeing a 389 percent increase in usage for the term. Kidcore, royalcore and cabincore were also popular digital trends, each driven by the TikTok platform.

The most wanted, from Harris Reed jewellery to Telfar’s Ugg

LVMH prize winner Nensi Dojaka topped Lyst’s round up of breakout brands, with her innovative takes on the Little Black Dress garnering an average of 7,000 searches a month since Q1. Christopher John Rogers, CFDA’s womenswear designer of the year and celebrity favourite, was also included. As was gender-dismantling Harris Reed and Kim Kardashian’s shapewear label, Skims, for which a 233 percent search spike was reported following the announcement of a Fendi x Skims collaboration.

Undoubtedly collaborations were a definitive part of the past year, with a huge range of brand-on-brand releases keeping fashion fans on their toes. Yeezy’s Gap collection topped the list, with the partnership causing a 320 percent search increase for both labels. Ivy Park and Adidas’ collection boasted the highest number of searches for a collaboration this year, while The North Face x Gucci pieces continue to appear on resale sites with prices five times higher than the originals.

Image: Fendi x Skims

So what is next…?

The high-tech, out-of-this-world future is on Lyst’s upcoming radar, with its top projected trend, ‘New Frontiers’, directly influenced by the rise in “human space flight moments” that have become a regular element of travel this year. This tech-minded forecast is further mirrored in ‘Futuristic Shoes’ and ‘Multi-Sensory’ suggestions for what to expect. Sport is another highly possible influence to anticipate, as the world looks towards the 2022 Fifa World Cup to sustain the impact of sport that the Tokyo Olympics brought upon shoppers. Lyst additionally predicts the continued adaption of workwear, in consideration of the return to the typical nine-to-five without compromising comfort.

Brands to look out for, according to Lyst, include the likes of menswear label Stefan Cooke, New York designer Peter Do and luxury house Area. However, it is LVMH Prize finalist, Connor Ives, that tops the list, who has already captured the attention of Rihanna and other top celebrities, even before his graduation.