The biggest fashion trends from 2010 to 2019 that have shaped the decade: Athleisure, streetwear, '90s, and more
As the closing of 2019 brings about the dawn of a new decade, we take a trip down memory lane and recount the most impactful fashion trends that have shaped the way we dress and style today.
Return of the ‘90s
Trends are cyclical: they come, they go, and they return. In this decade, ‘90s fashion came back with a vengeance. Think waist-hugging bum bags, attention-grabbing neons, high-waisted mum jeans, tiny sunglasses, and midriff-baring crop tops. Heck, even the VSCO girls, who are also buzzing on Instagram and TikTok, are decked out in ‘90s staples including scrunchies, chokers, and Birkenstocks.
For the past few seasons, bags were getting a size downgrade (see: Karl Lagerfeld’s SS15 Fendi Peekaboo bag). But the micro bag didn’t reach its zenith until Jacquemus dropped the Le Chiquito and the smaller Mini iteration that could hold only a couple of Tic Tacs. While we’re unsure if bags can be scaled down any further, one thing’s for sure: celebs and style stars alike still can’t get enough of these little accessories.
Regardless of how you feel about leggings doubling as pants, athleisure remains a favourite we don’t see going away anytime soon. Marrying fashion with a heavy dose of comfort, activewear pieces such as tracksuits, yoga pants, and gym tanks have become mainstay pieces in our wardrobe.
Many have hypothesised that streetwear’s democratising ability — where the consumers have the power to decide on what’s trendy and hot — have been instrumental to its popularity. So while the trend have had its start with the ‘90s Californian surf and skate culture, the rise of streetwear-loving communities on forums such as BapeTalk, Strictly Supreme, and Sole Collector have contributed to its explosive growth. Designers including Demna Gvasalia and Virgil Abloh, who are behind streetwear bigwigs like Vetements and Off-White, cashed in on the trend, transforming the humble graphic T-shirt, a streetwear staple, into a coveted luxury item, all while drawing on cultural references. Vetements’s DHL T-shirt, Balmain’s branded logo tee, and Balenciaga Triple S sneakers have become hot commodities, spawning copies and parodies everywhere.
From Louis Vuitton x Supreme and Superga x Love, Bonito to Charles & Keith x Teresa Lim and H&M x Giambattista Valli, news of brand collaborations have been ringing loud these past few years. Clearly, consumers are appreciative of these cooperations, too, as their resounding successes prompt more partnerships.
The Kardashian-Jenner effect
Growing in tandem with social media, the Kardashian-Jenner clan has become a cultural force that has influenced the way we dress. Evidenced by the meteoric rise of Instagram-famous labels such as Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing, and Missguided, everything the family touches turns to gold as fans clamour to dress like them.
Conspicuous consumption takes on a new face as labels emblazon their creations with monograms and logos, turning(the more affordable) accessories such as MCM’s Visetos-patterned leather bags, Balenciaga’s baseball hats, and Gucci’s double G leather belts into best-sellers.
Ethical and sustainable fashion
Ever since the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed in 2013, the fashion industry has (thankfully) taken a more ethical and sustainable turn. Further fuelled by The True Cost, a documentary that pulled back the curtain on how clothes are made, consumers are becoming more conscious of their purchases and are reshaping the industry with their dollars. The growth of organic cotton, while still minute in comparison to conventional cotton, has been growing steadily as well, reflecting a rising demand for greener fabrics. Many fashion labels, too, have built their names on being ethical and/or sustainable. The successes of Reformation, Gabriela Hearst, Sottes, and Tove & Libra further points to the shift in consumer preferences. Moreover, bigger players such as LVMH and Kering conglomerates who have signed the Fashion Pact, are now investing in greener technology, while promising not to burn leftover stock and use fur.
The gender-fluid man
Since Alessandro Michele took over creative reins at Gucci, he’s worked nonstop to redefine men’s rigid style codes. The result: Jared Leto in a fiery red dress at Met Gala and Harry Styles in a sheer black pussy-bow blouse. Other men that have championed this shift include Billy Porter (with his countless, jaw-dropping red carpet dresses) and Timothée Chalamet (who wore the embellished Louis Vuitton harness/bib created by Virgil Abloh). Beyond the runways and the red carpets, fourth-wave feminism has been brewing with Time’s Up, #MeToo, and more. The movement has been tackling toxic masculinity while advocating for boys and men to express and present themselves freely — just look at the Fab Five in Netflix’s Queer Eye, who are big proponents of this changing sociopolitical perception.