2021: Seasonless, comfort-driven clothing
Fashion designers predict key trends for 2021
If most of 2020 was spent in track pants and boxer shorts, 2021 heralds a wave of comfort dressing realised in bold hues, vibrant prints and season neutral pieces. For instance, a bride would invest in a one-of-its-kind lehenga skirt, which could be teamed with multiple options - from a low-cut choli to a biker jacket to an itsy-bitsy bralette. Or a bridesmaid would buy a vibrant printed kaftan with an incredible mix and match appeal. Repeat, restyle and recontextualise will be the key sartorial mantra. “I see the trend of comfort dressing to continue, but with a glamorous touch. All in all, I see a return to more classic dressing and people would like to invest into pieces which will last them for long,” says designer Falguni Peacock of label Falguni Shane Peacock.
Comfort with craft
India has always been a bridal market and given the offerings showcased at the India Couture Week this year - there’s been a shift towards lightweight ensembles with a pared-back approach to embellishments. Designer Monica Shah of Jade predicts comfortable silhouettes, off-the-wall colours like purples, yellows and deep blues, and pieces with an heirloom value taking centre stage in the coming year. “I think comfort with craft is going to be high on every bride’s list of priorities when it comes to her bridal ensemble. We’re going to see lighter fabrics and breezy silhouettes that not only facilitate movement, but also make the bride feel completely at ease on her big day,” says Monica.
Quality over quantity
Designers also predict brides valuing quality over quantity. Designer Rimple Narula of label Rimple & Harpreet asserts that the hoarding mentality once synonymous with a section of Indian customers has died with well-informed and well-travelled consumers itching for pieces, which offer ease and movement without compromising on craft. “2021 is all about valuing quality over quantity. Brides who’ve come to me are very optimistic. They are discerning, globally exposed and are looking for one-of-a-kind pieces,” say Rimple, whose label exemplifies revival of rare embroidery techniques rendered on lightweight fabrics.
A cocktail of comfort and joy
The resort scene in 2021 too looks upbeat with designers predicting a minimal approach to party and destination dressing. Designer Saaksha Bhat of label Saaksha & Kinni says, “Minimalism in terms of silhouette will be a key trend of 2021 - after a year of wearing pyjamas and comfortable workout clothes, people will ease back into dressing up with comfort being at the forefront. Bright colours will also be a key trend - colours that bring joy and that are effervescent. After a difficult 2020, people will look for a dose of optimism in their garments. Print on print will also be a key trend - with people wanting to wear vibrant, vacay worthy prints - a source of escapism and happiness.”
Repeat and restyle
Designer Nikhil Thampi known for his edgy pantsuits and glamazon evening gowns opines that the audience and consumers now know the difference between a splurge and an investment. “Consumers now want to spend money on garments that are going to be eternal and trendless. It’s the return of the classics that I see ruling 2021. Investment clothing is where the consumer is not bored of repeating looks if they are given the freedom to style it in their unique way. And it’s now that the personality of the wearer is going to be in the forefront as compared to the brand or label they wear,” says Nikhil.
Art of personalisation
Menswear designer Kunal Rawal sees 2021 as the year of comfort, customization, and personalisation. “With weddings getting more intimate and efforts shifting towards sustainability I think men will be looking more for one of a kind, hand-made personalised pieces. Comfort will become a very important element for a man, whether it’s lightweight fabrics or ease driven silhouettes. Versatile separates will be a big trend too, I think men will buy pieces that they can later multitask to create multiple looks giving them value for money,” says Kunal.
“This year, in my opinion, will see a lot of rebellion, when it comes to fashion. People have been restricted in 2020 and will now seize the opportunity to stand out. I believe we will see layers of streetwear make their way into occasion wear - I can totally imagine a pair of drop crotch pants being styled with a sherwani. Another trend that we have seen this year that I think will continue in 2021 is military tones for occasion wear. I think men are moving towards more versatile shades and military tones like olive, gunmetal grey or deep charcoals which are here to stay,” he adds.