Just before COVID-19 went viral (pun intended), the last major fashion purchase had to sit in the closet for three months before seeing the light of day. For months on end, lounge and athleisure garments were front and center of the quarantine style repertoire. Many weekdays saw day-to-night iterations of an adorable workout set. Many experimented with ways to style and pare down these active wear garments just in time for a sweat session, quick Zoom conference, dinner at the terrace and sunset cocktails. Although most digital meetings and events still require a dress code, trousers, pencil skirts and pumps have, for the most part, been on hiatus along with our pre pandemic lives.
Weekends are now for silk pajamas, resort-inspired maxi dresses and sometimes, a maillot paired with a robe or long skirt. Also referred to as lounge or resort wear, these new style staples mirror a slower and more mindful lifestyle phase. In the past, Saturdays were dedicated to getting errands done and possibly, a night out on town. These days, things on the to-do list can easily be accomplished with a few taps on a computer or smartphone. Thankfully, there is more opportunity for escaping the city after lockdowns were lifted, albeit relatively limited. With new safety guidelines now dictating even the way we craft our social calendars, we are finding that there is actually more time to truly luxuriate in the things that truly matter—whether with family and close friends at home, or snuggled up with that book you’ve long been meaning to get into.
The drastic wardrobe transition is not exclusive to a chosen few. It is universal to say the least. The garments we wear, now lean more towards a new way of life. And while the loyal style ally will still find a reason to bring out those heels and season’s favorite purse, it’s functional clothes for lounging and leisure that will best define fashion in 2020. Here a list of brands to know moving into the cooler season.
REBECCA VALLANCE SPORTIF was on the drawing board in late 2019 was launched just in time for when consumers began investing more on WFH wear. Envisioned as the casual extension of the beloved the Australian luxury design label, Sportif was created to become “core basics to live with you throughout the seasons and become your leisure staples.”
Fabric like organic cottons were selected with ultimate comfort as measure. Bright colors enlivened an otherwise clean color palette, as translated on track tops and sweat pants. Although inspired by sports and active lifestyles, pieces are meant to “fit into the lifestyle and existing wardrobe of the RV girl.” By this, the new range proposes a more relaxed way of dressing where tailored jackets work well with a hoodie and pair of comfy sweats. Sounds like the ideal ensemble on a day when a workout and several Zoom meetings are on the agenda.
COLLECTIVA is a conscious brand that “exists to elevate the human spirit, create a sense of well-being and support at-risk indigenous communities of artisans by offering collectible heirlooms made with love in Mexico.” Everything that holds the label’s name is locally sourced and produced. Following ideals of luxury, everything from their atelier is meticulously crafted and can take up to 90 hours to create by hand.
Its current Fall collection is a showcase of the artisan craft, using simple silhouettes as the canvas. The team describes, “We created a wardrobe that can be worn anywhere in the world, but whose heart is never far away from Mexico.” Travel restrictions may be keeping us from the yearly sojourn, but one can channel idyllic Tulum, Chichen Itza or Cabo in an inspired loungewear piece by COLLLECTIVA.
ASOS recently launched it essential style edit, ASOS Design. True to the label’s ethos for making fashion more accessible for the 20-somethings, the new range promises to serve up “a full line up of high fashion fits. Think max looks at minimum prices.” To introduce the new line, they partnered with young entrepreneur and social media sweetheart Lottie Tomlinson for a digital campaign. Pieces showcased in this sartorial treat included 90s inspired flannel shirts, shift dresses with shoulder pads as well as adorable knit sets.
The label’s first circular fashion collection also came as exciting news in September. It once again reinforced that with enough foresight, will and creativity, the entire fashion consciousness can work together towards a truly sustainable industry. The collection “features 29 trend-led styles across clothing and accessories, all designed and made to meet industry-leading circularity principles, with no compromises on product or price.” The line is the result of ASOS’ commitment at made at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit (2018) to train all designers to create circular garments by 2020.
NORBA is a Ukrainian-based leisure and essential wear brand for women. Pieces from their atelier are decidedly and consistently minimalist, with emphasis on providing comfort and sense of confidence to wearers. The team expounds, “This is something we call essential wear—clothing that makes you feel good in your own skin.” With our home, work and social lives now taking place within the safety of homes or on the digital sphere, we are also witnessing how a sports bra can suddenly go beyond a workout into work hours. “Our pieces are designed to be work in and out of the gym, during leisure time and working hours.”
Olga Norba, brand founder and visionary explains, “We’ve chosen a gentle, soothing palette, as we thought the world need some more serenity at the moment. The only source of inspiration is women—uniquely beautiful just as thy are, fierce, smart, capable of changing the world.” If there is one thing that makes NORBA brilliant it’s that the label was able to bring an unshakable sense of confidence through chic, comfortable clothing that embraces women.
PAIRESS was developed as a fashion brand for empowered women. Its coufounder, Showly Wang, begins: “We’re on a mission to help women succeed in the work place through stylish and functional apparel that makes life easier…” That also includes those who are working from home, or anywhere for that matter. The idea was to enable women to break the glass ceiling instead of limiting them through stereotypes or garments that restrict them. To do so, the design team decided to create a sensible wardrobe of “comfy outfits for working from home, office and anywhere in between. With real pockets that actually fit your phone and more!”
Pieces like the Serena and Patsy set, for instance, are made using soft, stretchable and breathable fabric. They are designed so that they can easily transition from work into leisure in the after hours. Ease of movement and comfort are what distinguish the brand. Their pieces are kind to both form and body that it they sometimes feel like your favorite pair of pajamas—but suited for meetings or a quick errand run. Everything from PAIRESS are ethically made, with fabrics are sourced from surplus materials. The team explains, “We are proud to partner with local women-run factories in NYC with fair wages and ethical working conditions. When possible, we purchase surplus fabric from local NYC brands that would otherwise go to waste.” Small details like inspirational tags attached to the inseams remind wearers that pieces from PAIRESS are words of encouragement from like minded women, translated onto garments. On my black and white ultra soft set, a tag reads: “Phenomenal woman, that’s me—Maya Angelou.” Now there’s a fashion voice that truly knows how to get a message across.
EDIT+ ignites creativity through sheer simplicity. Designs are meant for versatility and ever transforming. Seamlessly crafted coats, jackets and vests are intended to give wearers the freedom to translate their style sensibilities in their own unique ways. EDIT+’s Executive Director and creator of the modular clothing system, Jean Sung, explains: “The changes in our surrounding were the main inspiration that led to the need for more versatile clothing. It also caters to a daily busy lifestyle, along with fun and protection. Lastly, our passionate commitment to protecting people and the planet played big roles in the overall concept.” Ethically and sustainably made as garments that take you from day to night , EDIT+ cleverly uses details detachable hoods, coat extensions, adjustable sleeves to allow creation of endless fashion possibilities.
The Fall collection is mostly made up of modular outerwear. It includes a Sunday Hoodie, Yoga Coat, Fleece Coat and Winter Padding Coat. Jean says, “In putting together our new Fall Collection, I was driven by the need to fill the industry void of stylish yet functional clothing that everyone can afford.” As a response to the seasonality that anchors the fast pace in fashion, the company had the idea to create durable and distinctive pieces that can be altered or adjusted to suit various seasons in a year. “You can’t change the weather, but you can change your clothes,” says their team. “
PARIS 99 brings a touch of nostalgia to a cleverly edited wardrobe. Unlike most brands, it is more concerned about evoking memories, emotion and sense of connection instead of being on-trend. Founded by art history graduate Paris Stam, the label is a well-kept secret among taste makers who appreciate smart re-imagination of creations past. In creating pieces for her label, Paris “looks at the art of eras and cultures she draws inspiration from and incorporates their visual similarities and effects into designs.”
A recently launched collection impresses a feeling of elation from the simple joys of stepping out or being outdoors. It is an emotion most of us can relate to especially after months of hiding in our homes. Poignantly referred to as “Picnic,” the collection is anchored on art works from the 16th and 20th century depicting a fête champêtre. Patterns such as gingham followed the shapes and forms on picnic blankets—timeless, soothing, familiar, yet unexpected. Much like our favorite lounge pieces, silhouettes are relaxed, allowing for ease in movement. There were sets comprising a top and bottom that could also be mixed and match with other wardrobe staples. And then there were iterations of the baby doll dress used as a canvas for the woven effect of a gingham pattern that inspires a day under the sun. It’s pieces like these that, while remaining relevant to our need for comfort and function, usher in a good energy on days when you need it the most.
PRIORY is a Canadian-based fashion brand that has mastered the art of creating effortlessly chic style staples. Its team is dedicated to crafting what they call “lived-in women’s wear.” Everything imagined, designed and produced at their atelier is made to address the need for comfort, functionality and quality. Its distinguishing marks are found in the consistently relaxed silhouettes and shapes that convey a “refined uncomplicated-ness.”
This season, Vietnam holds as a take off point for a collection that holds true to the brand values of PRIORY. The creative team explains: “Vietnamese people have a quiet simplicity and strong respect amongst their culture, which stuck with us throughout our travels and into the design process. Lounging by the waters of Phu Quoc, we were reminded that we need so much less than one would think to be happy.” The collection showcases buildable, lounge looks that celebrates the body in all its shapes and sizes. Colors are decidedly muted to bringing the Asian diffused light to the wearer, wherever she may be. Both color and shape hint that this is a wardrobe built around travel and daily city living and this held as premise for the crafting of each piece. “How can we celebrate our bodies within the frame of daily city life: riding a motorcycle, going to work, sitting on plastic stools eating seafood with your hands on a street corner with friends? This is where we flirted with the dichotomy of loose and form fitting pieces and opted for more muted color choices in outfits.” When it comes to loungewear, PRIORY is front and center along with a select few, that know how to transport a wearer from home to a haute holiday.