Stores have shuttered, collection launches have been cancelled, runway shows postponed indefinitely. Fashion the world over has been reeling from a pandemic so catastrophic that it will likely never look the same again.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. COVID-19 has forced designers and boutiques to press reset and, critically, to think more sustainably and creatively—and to get back to the holy grail of what makes all of us excited about clothes in the first place: pure, unadulterated creativity.
From running shoes to embroidered bolero jackets, clothes have the power to inspire, to unite, and to express who we are—and who we want to be. And we want to be happy.
Below, we asked some of our favourite local boutiques, designers and luxury resale stores to weigh in on what they’re most excited for this spring, what makes Vancouver style unique, and whether we’ll still be in sweats post-2021.
Joy Mauro, Founder, Turnabout Luxury Resale
“We’re excited to see elevated casual really coming into play. Oversized shirts, flowing dresses, layering, bright and sorbet tones, prints, and relaxed fits in pants, jeans, and active wear is still huge. However, styling, colour and prints are looking more like everyday wear and not just for-the-gym looks.
Although we still have an audience for the coveted label high-heels, definitely the lower heel and flats are flying out the door. Designer sneakers are huge and in-demand as are loafers, slip-ons, mules, sandals.
Hot labels are Golden Goose, Adidas/Nike (especially collaborations), Birkenstock, APL, YSL, Givenchy, Dior, Gucci, Chanel. No pencil or uncomfortable skirts; it’s easy-to-wear even with sneakers or paired with a T-shirt look.
Large bags are going well—multifunctional pieces that allow for a laptop and can go from day to night.
Scarves with labels and logos are huge. People should not remove their label if they want resale value! Hats with a wide brim in straw, raffia and other fabric as long as they’re more fun and casual. Sunglasses are huge, especially all the fabulous designer labels, while belts with designer logos are sold as soon as we get them.”
Courtney Watkins, Owner, Mine & Yours Luxury Resale
“Bright hues: To offset the gloomy days of 2020, bright hues are taking the new year by storm. Don’t shy away from wearing prints and colours to breathe some life back into your wardrobe. If you’re not fully committed to a head-to-toe patterned look, try a pop of colour designer bag. Expect to see more bright colours and eye-catching patterns in 2021.
Athleisure: Without question, athleisure and loungewear were the dominating trends of 2020. We see elevated athleisure continuing to steal the spotlight this year with designer sneakers, logoed hoodies, and more monogram pieces. Long story short, dressing comfortably doesn’t mean sacrificing style.
Maxi dresses: Comfortable silhouettes that look ‘put together’ are still at the forefront of everyone’s closets with virtual meetings and gatherings continuing into 2021. Maxi Dresses are set to gain even more popularity this year, becoming a more stylish choice for those who don’t wear sweatsuits.
Water bottle bags: Sustainability is always on trend but this season we are seeing designers make it easier for us, with bags specifically designed to hold your water bottle or attachments for your bag or belt. Plastic water bottles have never been so last year.”
Jennifer Chaplick, Owner, Ami Boutique
“Come spring, we anticipate seeing a continued movement towards all things easy, breezy, and above all, comfy.
Raquel Allegra, the queen of tie-dye, will have us looking chic but cozy in beautiful tie-dye pieces—definitely a major trend. Her pieces are completely comfort-based and easy-to-wear yet quality is never sacrificed.
The quest for comfort will extend all the way down to our toes—we’re super-excited to introduce our customers to Arizona Love, a French footwear line of fun, colourful trekky sandals. Think Tevas for the cool girl. These sandals exude chic comfort. Made from vintage and recycled bandanas, we can feel even better about wearing them.
Just because we’ll be coveting cozy doesn’t mean we won’t want something colourful in our wardrobe to lighten our mood. La Prestic Ouiston never disappoints with their fun, playful prints. Frank & Eileen has also upped their game with their coloured denim shirts. (Though their white denim shirt is a wardrobe essential, think ballet pink, beautiful soft grey, and soothing sage green.) And we’ll soon have the unique stretch leather brand Sprwmn in our store. This brand features second-skin leather pieces with an athletic-inspired aesthetic. The fit lifts and contours the body with a very slimming silhouette—and during these COVID times, we can certainly use all the smoke and mirrors we can find.
Inherent to the West Van lifestyle is a West Coast, bohemian-adjacent look. We’re noticing that clients are loving our Natalie Martin dresses, perhaps as a means of escapism. Natalie’s dresses are transporting us to the beaches and resorts that we can’t visit right now, and wearing the dress around the kitchen gets us half way to our forbidden paradises.
As for sweats, I don’t think they’ll go away anytime soon. Customers do want other options, though, and with the change of seasons coming, the transition will be easy. Sweat shorts will be everywhere—they’re still easy and comfy and by the designers that we know and love.”
George Tsogas, CEO, Kit and Ace
“We’re looking forward to an increased appreciation of long-lasting loungewear, as well as warm functional apparel, ideal for walks and short runs while staying close to home.
With so much of the population working from home over the last year—likely with a more concise wardrobe—we also feel there is a greater realization that classic high-quality pieces, crafted sustainably, and made to last, are wardrobe essentials, and that we can do more with less.
We anticipate this being a broader global trend, as it’s likely the WFH lifestyle will continue until vaccination is readily available, so the focus will remain on at-home comfort with just the right amount of polish for Zoom calls, as well as ease of movement for outdoor walks, biking, and exercise.
More than ever, clothing to support a healthy lifestyle is important. We believe strongly in the coexistence of comfort and style. The injection of rich colours and fun patterns like stripes into comfortable styles will be another way to lift our collective spirits. In this way, the clothes we wear help power our optimistic outlook.”
Gary Lenett, Co-Founder, Duer
“We create clothing that solves problems for our customers, versus wearing labels for status. Having said that, we really like the trend towards utility/carpenter styling because this originates from a very practical need—all of us are at home taking on DIY projects like gardening where function and comfort need to intersect. We’re excited for any trends where there is a convergence of style, comfort and problem solving.
We don’t see the trend towards comfort and leisurewear slowing down as we come out of the pandemic. Now that we’ve all experienced what it’s like to dress comfortably while working, there’s no way back. But we will see this expressing itself in a lot of creative ways, with more formal clothing adopting aspects of athletic wear and leisurewear in order to be just as comfortable. I think we’ll start to see men wearing really comfortable stretch suits, dress pants, and slacks.”
Jason Matlo, Designer, Matlo Atelier
“Safety and style: Fashion cotton masks, from basic black to printed and sparkled, to accessorize your outfits. At Matlo Atelier Vancouver, we believe in the mask as a fashion item, a statement in your wardrobe that can be personalized and worked into a high-fashion, chic look. As we move into 2021 and vaccines begin to roll out into the mass public, it will remain important to stay safe and stylish until we reach the point of herd immunity in our community.
High fashion loungewear: People have likely become accustomed to a level of ease and comfort in dressing over the last year. Our Helena Dress collaboration with The Sleep Shirt offers a high-fashion look that’s versatile and easy-to-wear. From the home to the office, out with your bubble and back home to lounge, the Helena dress offers three looks in one chic and comfortable dress.
Shopping local: The pandemic has hit the economy hard and it will be important to support local businesses for them to be around in the future. I’ve seen and heard of people trending towards things that are artisanally made by local designers and artists. The scale-back of big box stores and brands will also prompt a buy-local movement as smaller designers may weather the storm better than huge companies because of lower overheads and production flexibility due to smaller operations.
After being in comfortable clothes for so long, I think most people will look for ease in clothing, so I believe we’ll see trends towards more loungewear elements in Ready-to-Wear collections globally. I also believe, to some degree, we’ll see a global shift away from vanity and self-absorption.
People who are devotees of fashion will always strive for style and personal expression within their wardrobes. People for whom fashion and style are not a priority will continue to wear sweats and basics. Everyone has the right to do what they want with their personal brand and style. Personally I will always strive and lean into extreme, directional, whimsical, and editorial fashion looks.”
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