- Guest Contributor |
With a new era of retail on the horizon, we pit two opposing aesthetics against each other to help inform future buys. Normcore vs. Logomania. Which direction should you go?
The Case For Normcore
Minimalism was one of the biggest trends to emerge following the 2008 recession. With people falling on hard times, displays of wealth such as bold logos and maximalist dressing were viewed as brash. Since the pandemic began, we've seen normcore bubble up in a big way - basic tees and loungewear have been retailers' bread and butter.
The concept also ties in with the drive for sustainability, going hand-in-hand with slow fashion by focusing on classic pieces and capsule wardrobes that rely far less heavily on trends. With consumers likely to have less disposable income for the foreseeable future, they will be carefully choosing what to spend their money on, making the investment in comfortable, timeless pieces a no-brainer. Lastly, it ticks the nostalgia box, bringing on the 90s vibes.
Which Normcore Products To Back
Well cut white tees, polo shirts and tank tops should all be promoted within your basics range. Racerback tanks have gained trend status via Instagram during lockdown, helping consumers view basics in a new light. Focus efforts on core hues such as white, black, navy and grey. With unisex a key element of normcore, think about genderless lines - the tee is the product that fits best here.
The official outfit of quarantine, sweats are the new norm thanks to the rise of loungewear. While consumers may have stocked up for now, there will be a renewed focus on the athleisure category going forward now that comfort has become so central to daily life. Keep your assortment fresh with pattern and color updates, and consider drop cadences and collaborations.
The cornerstone of every wardrobe, blue jeans are a normcore staple. Keep washes mid-blue and invest in straight-leg, high-rise styles for the longest shelf life. Champion this piece's versatility with day-to-night edits, and expect a revival of the 'jeans and a nice top' trend. Sustainability is integral to the capsule wardrobe, so ensure your denim is as eco-friendly as possible.
While normcore can be epitomized by chunky dad sneakers, it's not limited to them. Tevas, Crocs, Birkenstocks and flip flops are all worthy of investment, presenting year-round options. Look to classic brands with a pared-back aesthetic to strike the right note.
Neutrals can provide a fresh update on this well-established trend. With classic color palettes a key element, neutrals are an ideal fit. Employ tonal dressing when merchandising - a great way to promote add-on purchases.
Bucking the comfort trend and despite lockdown, blazers have continued to trend on Instagram and often styled with bike shorts. Though colorful and striped versions are prominent at present, keep future buys classic - navy, oversized cuts that tie into the unisex aesthetic.
The Case For Logomania
One stark difference versus the 2008 recession is that social media is integrated as a part of daily life. We share not only selfies, but beliefs and opinions - shoppers have already been leaning in favor of brands with values that align with theirs. Political and social events throughout 2020 have brought this more into focus. According to a new MWWPR consumer study reveals 83 percent of consumers have been influenced by a company's leadership through the pandemic. While accounts such as @pullupforchange are holding brands accountable over comments on the BLM movement. Consumers might not be rushing to share logo covered items as a sign of wealth, but in allegiance to brands that reflect similar beliefs. The relevance of logos in streetwear helped the market impact of Animal Crossing and similarly defined looks in Gucci's Tennis Clash collaboration. The solid template of a logo is a visual stamp that works with our online personas as we continue to socially distance offline.
Logomania products to back
While entry-level designer items were once handbags or caps, we could see designers invest more in PPE product development - including masks. Victoria's Secret, PrettyLittleThing and Supreme are some of the retailers that have already launched branded face masks. As consumers become more comfortable with this item, they will be more experimental.
Though logomania may traditionally be associated with luxury retailers, we note a number of mass market retailers stocking branded underwear. Comfort is key and underwear is an essential to what customers need right now. This also goes hand-in-hand with nostalgia and a nod to the classic CK sets.
Think about this as an extension to the loungewear trend, but it can also play into activewear assortments too. Celebrities have been sharing their comfortable lockdown looks - with Kylie Jenner's Chanel tennis ensemble and Love Island alumni Olivia Atwood's Missy Empire sweater. Subtle central logo placement is a nod to the 90s and, again, ticks that nostalgia box.
Retailers can win with both. At the core of each are essentials and both stories also feed into the broader need for nostalgia. Logos present an opportunity to add a premium feel to basic products, keep them subtle and blend with normcore to serve both stories.
This article was written for FashionUnited by Retail Analysts Rebecca Milne and Aoife Byrne of Edited. Edited is the leader and industry-standard for real-time retail analytics, where the software leverages artificial intelligence to track and reveal insights on competitor product ranges, pricing, discounting and trends across the global retail landscape. The software is used by buyers, planners and trading teams to generate a huge competitive advantage.
Images: Top two images by Kiet Duong for Teym. Third image Calvin Klein SS20 via UPR