Twenty-twenty has been quite the year, hasn't it? If I asked you to think back when we were all talking about Tiger King and Normal People, I'd wager you'd say that was in 2019, such is the time-defying power this year seems to possess. Did you even realise that it was this year that Parasite won the Best Film Oscar? And that Meghan and Harry left the Royal family too? There's really an impressive roll call of events that happened pre-pandemic, honestly. So, then, how can I be telling you about the biggest fashion brands of 2020? A good question, as it requires a decent memory and the patience to sift through a lot of online content. But I can tell you I've done it—I've found the most popular brands of the year so far.
Thanks to spending an embarrassing amount of time online and trawling through global search platform Lyst's extensive trending reports, I've come up with a list of 12 brands I know have made the most impact in 2020. While I've looked at Lyst's Q1 and Q2 data of the most popular labels and products, I've also had a look at the information they give on a weekly basis, and search surges when big events happen (e.g. Adele and Beyoncé wearing Marine Serre). Then I've also looked to the particular products that have been trending and considered all the influencers I've seen wearing said brands and products. For full transparency, some of this is anecdotal, but after spending a decade in this industry, you can trust me to know what I'm talking about. Without further ado, I present the biggest, most popular brands of 2020 so far.
For many of us in the fashion industry, The Frankie Shop is one of those cult brands that has suddenly appeared everywhere. While 2019 was definitely a big year for the brand, it's in 2020 that I've seen a real shift. Thanks to its more affordable price point that sets it apart for other minimalist-style designer brands. It's also great at creating classics with a twist: T-shirts with shoulder pads, oversize suiting and cool, utilitarian jumpsuits.
According to Lyst, "The Frankie Shop’s cult Eva T-shirt continued to sell out despite having been restocked several times since its 2019 launch. Spotted on the likes of singer Rita Ora and fashion buyer Tiffany Hsu, the padded shoulder top helped drive a 112% rise in searches for muscle tees."
Who didn't see that image of Adele in that Marine Serre top, posing in front of Beyoncé wearing the same crescent moon-shaped print? When two of the biggest female singers in the world wear the brand, you know it's going to be huge. And the data from Lyst proved it with "global searches for Marine Serre's crescent moon print spiked 426% in 48 hours" after both the singers wore the print. The bodysuit, as seen on Bey, became a breakout search term and led to the brand being one of the biggest of the past quarter.
We've had our eye on House of Sunny at Who What Wear for a while now. We'd seen the cool-girl brand bubbling up on Instagram, watching as a few influencers picked it up (e.g. Lucy Williams). Then, one of the biggest things to happen to a brand, a Kardashian/Jenner wore one of its dresses. Worldwide Google searches for the brand immediately spiked, and the dress in question has been sold out over and over, with more being pre-ordered.
It's hard to remember a year when Ganni hasn't been popular. I've also lost count of the number of uber-popular pieces the brand has created. From the original slogan tees and oversized jumpers that everyone wore a few seasons ago to the checked dresses (of which there are plenty), not forgetting the leopard print dresses and jackets they do so well, Ganni has created a following of loyal followers. And I'm one of them. After the most recent Copenhagen Fashion Week, "searches for leather pieces rose 31%", revealed Lyst. And there was also "demand for “oversized collar” tops and dresses", says Lyst, both of which are signature styles from the Scandi fashion label.
If there’s any brand of recent years that truly brought sassy back, it’s Jacquemus. While the fashion house has been going for a decade it’s the past few seasons that have really made an impact. From the lavender fields of Provence featuring bold sunset hues of pinks, orange and yellow to knitted bodycon dresses, this label is seen on everyone from the A-list to the biggest influencers, and there’s no sign of it slowing down.
I’m aware that H&M isn’t exactly groundbreaking when it comes to being one of the most popular brands of 2020. However, especially since the pandemic, we’ve seen more readers turning to this brand. And then, a few weeks ago, the high-street revealed a pink dress that took off like one of its designer collaborations. It sold out in an instant and everyone wanted to get hold of it.
There’s no greater endorsement than being worn by the Duchess of Cambridge. While she can’t be accused of being too fashion forward, there are times when K-Mids tries something a little different. Recently, she wore a floral dress by Insta-famous brand Faithfull the Brand and searches for the label “spiked 512% within one day,” found Lyst. “Meanwhile, searches for floral dresses have risen 21% since Sunday,” the global fashion search platform revealed.
I like to think there’s no brand that really shows us exactly what we were all about for most of 2020: comfort. Birkenstock’s Arizona sandals—the classic two-strap shoes—aren’t new but thanks to the pandemic and the arrival of summer it’s the leading shoe of the year. Lyst said the sandals spiked 225% over the past quarter too. But there were also other factors at play: from a sell-out collab with Proezna Schouler (seen on Alexa Chung and Sienna Miller) and celebrities such as Katie Holmes wearing the classic Arizonas it’s no wonder we’ve been after them so much.
As someone who loves trainers and finds themselves looking at the new sneaker trends each year, the increase in the popularity of New Balance is no surprise. It takes the dad shoe aesthetic and turns it down a notch but still keeps the chunkier look without the loud colours. You end up with a rather chic finish, that looks great with dresses and suits. As seen on every influencer I can think of.
Telfar is a 15-year-old label but in 2020 its classic tote bags became sought-after items. Propelled by Uber-cool celebrities wearing the bags, such as Solange Knowles, Telfar, despite being an American brand has become super popular in Europe.
Brother Vellies is another brand that isn’t new but it did get on everyone’s radars this year. Founded by Aurora James, this shoe label creates the most gorgeous, eye-catching shoes around. Oh, and they’re also sustainable. Win, win.
Tove Studio is the kind of 2020 holiday brand that we all need. Perfect for lounging by a beach, but realistically it’ll be more lying in a park, look to this minimalist brand for the coolest summer looks of the year.