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Five 2021 trends that went viral

By Léana Esch

30 Aug 2021


Image: Crocs via Criminal Damage

Social media make for endless inspiration within easy reach, contributing every season to the rise of fashion trends that become viral on all different kinds of platforms. FashionUnited has narrowed down the five key trends that have recently taken over the industry. Their common point? They all appeared during last year’s lockdowns on social media - TikTok mainly - and have now risen to cult status of many wardrobes.


Trends from the early noughties are numerous: low rise jeans, micro bags, bright colours and skinny sunglasses - and they’re all back in full swing. Popularised by Gen Z, the trend is taking a more subversive and modern approach - it features iconic designs from the beginning of the millennium mixed with contemporary details. We’ve seen cut-outs and ruched trims on tops and bottoms and outfits that blend technology obsession with futuristic inspiration. Gen Zers are looking at what was on-trend when they grew up and are re-popularising key looks and items. The trend is also closely linked to the rise of vintage and pre-loved fashion, as customers can easily tap into this early 2000’s style without sacrificing their budget or sustainable credentials.

The nap dress

At the other end of the spectrum stands the nap dress, a line of dresses designed by Hill House Home that has now seen many iterations across retailers. Originally cut in a midi length, it features a smocked bodice, ruffle sleeves and tiered skirt - a billowy and comfortable option to throw on at any time of the day. Its easy style has proven to be a hit this summer and comes in countless colours, patterns and lengths, from a mini white version to a maxi floral one. It’s available for all ages and provides a breezy style customers have appreciated to lounge in while wanting to look put-together and polished.


According to The Sole Supplier, the demand for Crocs has been up 210 percent since 2020, putting the footwear brand on the radar of designers and celebrities alike. The musical director of this year’s Oscars, Questlove, wore an eye-catching gold pair to the Academy Awards, Justin Bieber and Jaden Smith sported some on the streets and Balenciaga has partnered with Crocs on a special collection. The latest success? Nicki Minaj’s pink pair. Crocs also became particularly successful during lockdown - they presented a comfortable and simple option to lounge in and run necessary errands. However, they have stuck around this year too, and don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Bright checks

Retro-inspired checks have been spotted on the runway and at many brands, from Prada’s colourful midi skirt to Acne Studios’ plush scarf. Ganni’s rainbow checks have taken over social media and so have Baum Und Pferdgarten’s patterned pieces. They come as a modern variation of the traditional plaid print and appear on oversized trousers and smocked blouses, brightening any piece of clothing they adorn. The trend mainly took off last autumn and has seamlessly transitioned to the spring with lightweight tops and camis.

Co-ord sets

Popularised by lockdowns and the necessary comfort associated with them, co-ord sets have gone viral in 2020 and have kept consumers’ interest this year - Google data revealed that searches for loungewear sets have increased by 223 percent in March last year. Their appeal is still strong in 2021: they provide comfort and a streamlined silhouette that can transition from the couch to a night out. Easily dressed up with heels and a blazer, they’re versatile and can be mixed and matched to create endless combinations.