2021 brought a mixed bag of fashion trends. Work-from-home attire dominated, with casualwear accounting for over three quarters (77%) of our most-purchased clothing, but there was also a sense that people were ready for a change as we prepared for life to open up once again. Have we found more of an equilibrium in 2022? It’s early days, of course, but so far, the year is shaping up to be an interesting one.
The rise of the conscious shopper
The pandemic catalysed the rise of the conscious consumer and this trend is still alive and well in 2022, with many of us wanting to buy fewer, better quality items rather than engage in mass consumption. Recent Stitch Fix research* revealed that over 50% of our customers believe that the pandemic has made them more conscious shoppers, focusing more on quality, longevity and provenance as opposed to trend-led purchasing. This shift in consumer habits is potentially game changing. We know that today’s savvy shoppers are often looking for ways to make their wardrobes work harder, which is where personalisation comes in. The option to shop a personalised selection of items, based entirely on an individual’s preferences has become more appealing for those trying to shop smarter. By embracing this personalised approach to retail, shoppers are more likely to receive items that are right for them, resulting in less returns, fewer one-offs and a curated wardrobe of much-loved, often worn items.
A new approach to workwear
That said, we are still seeing discernible trends among our customers and in fashion retail as a whole. It’s clear that we’ve not fallen out of love with comfy, casual clothes, as between November 2021 and January 2022, we saw that over 21% of customer request notes referenced “casual” clothing. However, we are also seeing a significant increase in demand for “workwear”, with womenswear requests up by a massive 96% from the same time in 2021. Now that many of us divide our working life between the office and home, we’re seeing more of a “business comfort” approach to our workwear wardrobes. This sees the boundaries blurring between casualwear and more formal attire, with work-appropriate outfits now including the casual, comfortable pieces we all favoured during lockdown, as well as fresh workwear staples.
Dressing up again
After years of cancelled weddings, parties and celebrations, it’s uplifting to see that customers are now looking forward to attending in-person events again. From February to date, we’ve seen a whopping 345% increase in requests for “wedding” outfits, across men’s and womenswear, from the same time period in 2021. Given that we have spent the past two years in casualwear, it’s not surprising that people are seeking the expertise of personal Stylists when it comes to shopping for these special events. The fact that we can connect so personally with customers and help them prepare for key events in their lives is one of the things I love most about Stitch Fix – that human interaction is so important and it’s a privilege to share these special moments with our customers.
*Research conducted by Stitch Fix UK. The survey ran from 3rd December to 16th December 2021, surveying a consumer sample of 1,793 Stitch Fix UK customers.