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The year fashion fell and rose

A look back at some of 2020's big moments that reshaped the industry

Senegal's Dakar Fashion Week, which took place in December, was held in a baobab forest to ensure physical distancing among viewers.
Senegal's Dakar Fashion Week, which took place in December, was held in a baobab forest to ensure physical distancing among viewers. (AFP)

For the fashion industry, 2020 was the year many things changed. Though consumer spending tanked and shops closed, it brought in its wake an era of digital fashion shows, unique runways, a socio-political movement that changed the face of industry, and brought focus back to the karigar.

A look back at the year that was in some pivotal moments:

Digital fashion shows

Giorgio Armani’s Fall 2020 runway show in Milan was first of the many shows to be cancelled owing to the virus outbreak in Europe. The fashion house instead opted to livestream it behind closed doors. The concept “phygital” was also introduced this year—a trend started by Italian brand Ermenegildo Zegna, which reconceptualised fashion shows as we know it, by merging the digital and the physical.

Even couture went digital. For the first time in its history, Haute Couture Fashion Week in July and the FDCI Couture Week in September went digital, bringing haute couture to Instagram Lives and IGTV videos.

Protests rocked fashion industry too

The socio-political movement brought changes to the fashion world as well. Luxury brands, magazines and designers were forced to take stock of their actions (and inactions). From lack of diversity to racism and even tokenistic “support”—all of it was called out after the Black Lives Matter movement spread across the world.

Trending: Fluidity

The unsustainable loop of seasons in fashion saw an overnight cessation, with Gucci foregoing seasons and limiting its collections to two a year. The Lakme Fashion Week, too, went season-fluid for the first time. This, in turn, saw the rise of fashion films in India, with brands like Raw Mango and péro, showing how the medium helps blur the lines between movies and fashion.

Fluidity also became a big part of fashion collections this year. This gained more attention when Harry Styles graced the cover of Vogue, wearing a Gucci jacket and dress.

The force of e-commerce

The pandemic pushed Indian design houses to fully embrace the online platform. Designers like Amit Aggarwal, Rahul Mishra and Tarun Tahiliani turned to online shops to offer their creations and survive the effects of the virus on business.

More vocal for local

The Prime Minister’s Vocal for Local campaign helped move the limelight back to the lesser talked about stars of the fashion industry—the craftspersons. Aimed to promote local craft and small, homegrown brands, this campaign came at a time when thousands of karigars from all over India lost their jobs owing to closure of studios and shrinking budgets.

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