When writing any year-end recap, it's easy to cower at the immediacy of now by declaring the past 12 months to be the best, worst, strangest, or weirdest. As we're only too aware, though, 2020 truly was something else. This was true of every walk of life, not least in the fashion world, where sweats colonized wardrobes everywhere; Paris and Milan turned virtual; street style died, came back, and died again; and conversation centered around not how the industry progresses, but on its very purpose and survival.
In such dire times, the bread and butter stories that usually wind their way across a Highsnobiety editor's desk can feel inconsequential, bordering on inappropriate. Yet if anything, it's our shared appreciation of such nerdy minutiae — and our freedom to clown on it when applicable — that makes being part of this community so fun. That we can still find the energy to get upset about a cuffed pant or sneaker reissue in the face of a pandemic has to mean something, albeit what that something is I'm not entirely sure.
As we bid good riddance to 2020, Highsnobiety's style editors share a look back at some of the trends we'd like to vanish along with it.
"In the Chinese calendar, 2020 was the year of the rat. In the fuccboi calendar, it was the year of the dunk. And while amazing colorways abound of the Nike Classic, the most trendy dunks of 2020 wandered into strange, exotic, and hideous territory. I love the spirit of maximalism and kitsch, but sticking your feet into an homage to your favorite middle-brow ice cream is... well, disgusting. And don’t even get me started with the fuzzy Grateful Dead ones that look like they’re begging to be soaked in bong water. Let’s add 'Grateful Dead fetishism' to the 2020 leave behind list as well." - Thom Bettridge, editor-in-chief
The Overly-Complex Rollout
"To riff on Thom's Grateful Dead point, can we stop fawning over the British royal family? In a deeply fractured country where food banks face unprecedented demand, there's something gross about brute-forcing what, let's not forget, is an unelected freak show. My home – not my style icons!
That aside, it's my hope that 2021 finally sees us make some headway in reinventing the fashion calendar. Instead of drops, collaborations, pre-collections, and whatever other fashion garbage speak has come to pass, let's get back to two really good collections rolled out incrementally throughout the year." - Graeme Campbell, style editor
Jogger Jeans Must Die
"I would like to physically burn jogger jeans and trousers. NO ONE ON THE PLANET needs trousers or jeans to have elastic at the hems. It creates such a gross mushroom over your pants in materials that are not meant to drape over shoes like that. Let denim, twill, and wool have a clean hem, please and thank you. I am so shocked Hedi made elastic hemmed jeans for the Celine 2021 collection it hurts." - Noah Thomas, associate fashion editor
Insensible Hems as a Whole
"As a sneakerhead who dresses from the ground up and feels most comfortable in jeans and a hoodie, I’d like to put forth the motion that we please, please return to a world where pants have a sensible hem. Now I have nothing against bootcut jeans or bellbottoms and respect anyone that truly vibes with that aesthetic. But I feel like it’s almost gotten to a point where you’re looked at funny when your pants don’t swallow your shoe whole.
Some guys — especially sneakerheads like me — aren’t trying to redefine fashion. We just want to be comfortable and, on occasion, show off our kicks. Returning to more conservative hemming and — dare I say it — the classic pin-roll, would be something I can fully get behind." - Fabian Gorsler, footwear editor
Single Use Fits
"2020 has left us more plugged in than ever, meaning trends are stale once they’re scrolled past. Being 'fashion-forward' can mean going into debt just to maintain a social media persona. When did it become unacceptable to post the same piece twice? At this point, I'm tired of seeing clones on my feed showing off the newest collab just to be worn once. People are asked to drop stacks on single-use pieces to keep up with the hype. I want to see designers commit towards craftsmanship and utility to provide consumers with long-lasting options that are worth the investment. Without worthwhile clothes, people turn to fast fashion. Let’s appreciate quality in all of its authenticity and expect more from producers in 2021 because clothes are meant to be worn." — Haley Culp, associate fashion editor
Sus Sustainable Ethos
"I swear to god, if I see one more fast-fashion brand or influencer praise themselves for their 'regenerated plastic bottle cashmere second-hand organic cotton' collection, I'm calling you out. Yes, every step towards a greener future is a step forward, however if you're in the business of pushing out products on a daily basis (watch this space, as we have more work to do to educate shoppers, as well) you better check yourself. Let's hold brands, big and small, more accountable next year." — Christopher Morency, editorial director
Life < Fashion
"I hope that the general trend and behavior of 'must-haves' will change. Corona times taught us that a new bag and a new sneaker is half the fun when you can only wear them in your home and can't show them to your friends. I love the innovative design and great craftsmanship, and I appreciate those who are pushing boundaries, but I hope more and more people come to the conclusion that buying all the it-pieces won't make you happy either. Invest in traveling, time with your friends, your home. Follow people on social media who inspire you with original outfits and their own clothing — not the ones who wear what they get paid to wear." - Herbert Hofmann, head of buying & creative director
"This isn’t a trend I want to leave behind, per se, just a trend I'd like to see more moderated. Thinking back to when Lil Miquela was uploaded onto the scene in 2017, there were murmurings of a virtual influencer take-over, which didn’t quite manifest, although Lil Miquela did star in campaigns for Prada, Calvin Klein, and Givenchy – she was even on Highsnobiety Magazine's cover! More power to her.
However, under Covid-19 conditions, the availability of IRL working models has become logistically harder to manage, and there’s certainly a trend for digital avatars replacing humans as a result, and wearing digital clothing.
The use of digital models runs parallel to the recent gamification of fashion which sees luxury designs made for online spaces, such as Fragment creating designs for Cyberpunk 2077, and more pointedly, the Balenciaga: Age of Tomorrow video game which was created to reveal the new FW21 collection. Perhaps anyone pursuing a career as a fashion model in 2021 would be better off learning code and making one instead. I cautiously wonder where the road goes from here." - Max Grobe, associate fashion editor
"I think the period of carrying the bag that only fits your daily vitamins has come to an end. Fashion has always been known for often being frivolous, but paying upwards of $600 for something that honestly doesn't add much to your fit pic in the middle of a panny (also known as a pandemic) seems foolish." - Corey Stokes, fashion director