Top 8 Fashion Trends of 2020

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fashion franchise

It’s been a tough time for business owners in the retail industry, but let’s look at how the sector is evolving. By incorporating a couple of these fashion trends into your offering, you can capitalise on demand and boost your profits. Or just add them to your wardrobe to make sure you’re always in style!


The retail sector has undergone significant changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fashion businesses have been forced to adapt to quiet high streets, social distancing regulations and PPE requirements. But let’s take a look at the eight biggest fashion trends of 2020 to see how the industry is moving forward.

The fashion industry

In the UK, the fashion sector is worth £26 billion and has a workforce of 800,000 people; in fact, it’s the UK’s largest creative industry. And despite the negative press surrounding ‘fast fashion’ and its effect on the environment and human rights, 80 billion items of clothing are sold internationally every year (The Green Hub).

Top 8 fashion trends of 2020

1. E-commerce

Let’s start with the most obvious fashion trend. The COVID-19 pandemic caused the government to close retail outlets across the UK. As a result, high street fashion stores with an online division put all their resources towards internet sales, and ‘brick-and-mortar’ businesses created websites and e-commerce channels.

Many fashion stores wouldn’t have been able to survive without making profits through their websites, so this is the top trend shaping the sector in 2020. Any fashion business willing to adapt should be focussing on its online department this year.


2. Loungewear

Now, let’s get into the clothes and accessories we’ve all been seeing in 2020. Loungewear has to be the most popular fashion trend of the year. With most people spending much more time in the comfort of their own homes, the demand for comfy, cosy clothing has gone through the roof. If you need a new hoodie and jogging-bottoms set, you’ll have plenty of choice.

Under the loungewear trend umbrella, certain items have been particularly successful. This year, most women's retailers have released various co-ord collections, with cropped vest and cardigan combos to satisfy all fashion tastes.

Even if you need to venture outside, the loungewear trend has you covered; quilted coats are all the rage, giving you that feeling of warmth and comfort without sacrificing style.

3. Knitwear

You might expect knitwear to rise in popularity as nights start to draw in and the weather becomes colder - but this year there are some specific fashion trends to note. With more of us looking for cosy yet stylish pieces, knitwear has had a bit of a shake-up in 2020.

For women, jumper dresses and long cardigans have come back in a big way, as we all opt to be as warm and snuggly as possible. And in an effort to create different and interesting looks, more people are wearing buttoned cardigans as jumpers; an easy way to look chic and polished.

And finally, a wildcard - who would’ve thought tank tops and sweater vests would be bang on trend in 2020? As odd as this throwback might seem, retail businesses across the UK are bringing out knitted numbers in a range of neutral tones.

4. Statement sleeves and necklines

Some commentators put this fashion trend down to the ‘Zoom effect’. As many of us take part in meetings on video call platforms, the cliche of wearing a smart top with pyjama bottoms has made its way into the fashion world. A huge proportion of tops, shirts, blouses and knitwear on sale now feature interesting sleeve details and necklines - especially in women’s clothing.

From balloon sleeves to polo shirt collars and asymmetric necklines, this trend can take a number of different forms. During the summer, it materialised in the bowling shirts with camp collars promoted across many men’s retailers.

Inspired by Victorian fashion, balloon sleeves have been all over women’s retailers this year. They were taken to the extreme on the catwalk, with its exaggerated puff-sleeves and swathes of fabric, but have found their way into high street stores too. This design detail can completely transform your silhouette and upgrade your video call outfit.

5. Equestrian / Preppy

Blazers, v-neck jumpers, knee-high boots - the equestrian and preppy styles are back. Perhaps this fashion trend reflects a move towards smarter outfits as we venture outside again and contemplate returning to the office - however long we might have to wait.

As we get into autumn, blazers, suits, jodhpur-like leggings and low-heel boots will be perfect for running errands on crisp days. Checks are also set to be popular this season, as well as tassels and fringe details to complete the equestrian-cowboy look.

6. Nineties

Anyone who mourned the end of the nineties will have been overjoyed in 2020; those grungy styles are back in fashion! We’ve already seen bucket hats and chunky trainers peak in popularity during the summer, but square-toe shoes and bulky boots will be right on trend through autumn and winter.

To bridge the gap between summer and autumn, chunky mens sandals like double-strap slides can be paired with shorts or trousers. And hefty boots will give dresses an edge - as well as providing warmth and comfort on cold days.

7. Leather and shearling

Different textures add interest to an outfit during autumn and winter, and fashion businesses have plenty of options to keep you toasty as the weather turns. Leather and faux leather are key fabrics for 2020, cropping up in everything from trousers and boilersuits to shirts and The Matrix-style trench coats.

Shearling jackets and coats are also set to be big this winter. But banish all thoughts of Del Boy; with the right outfit, high-quality sheepskin outerwear can be ideal for creating a stylish, warm and cosy look.


8. Hiking and biker boots

Whether it’s our dreams of getting out and about, our move back towards nineties fashions or our desire to be comfortable, hiking and biker boots are back in style. You’ll see hundreds of versions of chunky, black lace-ups on the shelves - or, more accurately, on your screens - this season.

This fashion trend is a great opportunity to add an edgy look to your outfits, as it pairs well with short and long skirts and dresses, as well as cropped and full-length trousers. So, whether you’re heading out for an autumn walk or just doing the weekly shop, a good pair or hiking or biker boots will show you mean business.

Join the industry by investing in a fashion franchise

If you’ve dreamed of opening a fashion business but are nervous about getting started, you can minimise risk by joining a franchise and launching a unit under a recognised brand. Browse our fashion franchises or take a look at our entire selection of retail businesses looking for passionate investors.

>> Read more articles on the Fashion sector

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