2021 trend analysis

2021 SME fashion trend analysis written for independent SME fashion brands. Here are five trends that independent brand owners need to know about in 2021:


Brands must accelerate their shift toward a demand-led model...

The pandemic has accelerated the pre-existing critique of consumerism. Even before Covid-19 only 60% of garments were sold at full price showing that brands have hugely excessive inventories and require collection-wide markdowns. The solution to overproduction, stock and markdowns? Moving towards an effective, demand-led model or developing made-to-order garments.

SMEs brands should reduce the complexity of their assortments in order to take a first step towards 'less' in their fashion business. Check out our Rockett Fashion blog post on methods to avoid overstock in your business.


In Bangladesh alone the cancellation of $2.8 billion of orders impacted the livelihoods of 1.2 million people...

This year we've seen the truth of the power imbalances in fashion supply chains following cancelled orders at the beginning of the pandemic. Suppliers across the world are demanding a relationship with brands which is based on fair treatment, mutual respect and adherence to contracts.

We hope to see brands across the fashion spectrum reinventing their relationships with suppliers & manufacturers making positive moves on sustainability and human rights. Successful partnerships between brand and supply chain are a vital factor in accelerating towards a sustainable, efficient and demand-led fashion system.


Circularity is likely to be the next big disruption in fashion.

Consider what your business needs to do to close the loop. We've seen a rise in circular business models appear across the fashion spectrum this year. It's a disruptive model which will involve change throughout the supply chain from manufacturers, marketplaces, designers and suppliers.

To take your first steps towards circularity as a designer you can:

  • design for longevity

  • design with a purpose

  • collaborate widely

  • source from recycled

  • produce with renewable energy

  • think biodegradable

  • provide services to extend product life.


The unexpected now has to be considered probable...

In the McKinsey Covid-19 report released this year we've read that 'the current crisis underscores the fact that the unexpected now has to be considered probable'. If they've survived a turbulent year, it's highly likely that SME fashion brands have learned an 'unprecedented' amount from 2020. But how do we carry on learning, adapting and innovating towards a better fashion future?

2020 made us think about a lot of things, rethink how the fashion system works and consider opportunities for the future of fashion. Adapting, thinking outside of the box and responding to the crisis has forced brands to innovate. A trend which is highly likely to continue into 2021.


More is not always better in fashion...

Across almost all areas in fashion we've seen diminished demand & the successful brands appear to be the ones responding quickly to customer behaviour while staying true to their brand identity. The pandemic has shown us that 'more is not always better especially when it comes to assortment, stock & complexity in fashion' (McKinsey, 2020).

The fashion calendar has become virtually redundant & brands have started to watch customer needs closely to align their product drops. These steps towards efficiency with more reliance on customer need are part of a powerful movement in the right direction for change.

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