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Giles Deacon creates “post-pandemic workwear” in collaboration with IWG

Tom Bottomley
24 June 2021

Iconic British fashion designer Giles Deacon has created a collection of clothing in collaboration with flexible work space operator IWG, re-imagining how people will dress for the office when working from home (WFH) comes to an end, or in the new “hybrid working world.”

The "IWG x Giles" capsule collection includes three prototype looks (male, female and non-binary), and is informed by both Deacon’s creative vision and an IWG nationwide office worker survey of how attitudes towards dressing for work have shifted since the pandemic.

Deacon said: “There has been a noticeable change in people’s relationship with clothes over the pandemic, and as a result, what we wear to the office has changed forever. The IWG x Giles capsule collection has been designed with the hybrid worker in mind, combining a smart business look with comfort. Every colour and fabric have been selected to make the wearer feel happy, calm, confident and determined wherever they may work.”

The looks combine fashionable style, flattering silhouettes and softer tailoring to ensure the wearer looks sharp but comfortable while at work.

Fatima Koning, Group Chief Sales Officer at IWG, added: “Giles Deacon is a fashion icon and we are delighted to have partnered with him to create the IWG x Giles collection, bringing to life the latest post-pandemic workwear trends. The collection has been inspired by our experiences over the last year or so and the desire to look and feel fabulous, whilst not compromising on comfort.”

All fabrics are organic with poplins, soft needlecord, compact wool and cotton jerseys at the collection core - a move away from more traditional fabrics commonly worn pre-lockdown, with the aim of guiding workers to make more considered choices for their work wardrobes by buying pieces that are sustainable and have longevity.

The collection also plays to workers’ wishes to express individuality at work, as 55% of workers surveyed for the campaign said they work better when given the freedom to dress how they like, and 40% said they are more creative.

Millennials and Gen Z workers are particularly conscious of expressing themselves at work via their wardrobes. Over half (51%) of 18-24 year olds said their outfits reflect their personality, the highest of any age demographic, while 51% of 25-34 year olds said their office attire is linked to their creativity, higher than any other age group.

The designs provide insight into how the shift to hybrid work is changing office fashion trends as many businesses embrace flexible working and ‘dress for your day’ policies.

Part of the inspiration for the collection came from Deacon’s visits to IWG locations, including several in the Spaces portfolio, such as Spaces Liverpool Street, where the  capsule collection was shot. Each of the designs has been modelled by real office workers from a collection of industries.

The latest Wi-Fi login data from IWG, the flexible space operator with brands including Spaces and Regus, has shown that office visits are up by 58% since the start of the year.

The question of what to wear when returning to the office has been at the forefront of many workers minds, with the vast majority (64%) opting for comfy clothes over lockdown. Well over half (59%) said the days of formal business dress are over, while 39% think it will be more acceptable to wear less formal clothing in the office as a result of hybrid working.

While workwear fashion is clearly evolving, nearly two thirds (64%) still agree that what you wear is linked to seniority, and a third (32%) said they feel better about themselves when wearing smarter clothing, emphasising the need for style in the new collection.

Three lockdowns have meant working from home became the norm for many, but there are already clear signs that the future of work is a hybrid model. This year IWG has seen a significant rise in demand for both suburban (32%) and rural (20%) office space, as businesses begin operating with a ‘hub and spoke’ model. This approach means employees are splitting their time between home, a local office and occasionally at a corporate HQ.

Research by IWG among business leaders at FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 undertaken earlier this year revealed that three times the number of companies are looking to use a hybrid office model compared to those looking to carry on in the same way as pre-pandemic.

However, despite this clear shift towards more flexible practises, the office is set to play a key role in post-pandemic working life.

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