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Millennial pink, khaki jackets and an end to fast fashion: John Lewis releases its Retail Report

Lauretta Roberts
12 October 2017

Department store John Lewis has released its fifth annual Retail Report which shows the key trends of the year in fashion and lifestyle; in it the store has declared an end to the era of fast fashion and has documented consumers' new obsessions such as Millennial pink, unicorns and khaki jackets.

In the How We Looked section of the report, John Lewis says fashion customers had entered a new age of authenticity and were no longer interested in fast, throw-away fashion.

"Gone are the days of fast fashion, where everyone wanted to own the latest 'must-haves'. Partly a sign of the economic times, customers need their wardrobes to work harder and are less prepared to invest in items that they will only wear a few times. They are looking for clothes that match their lifestyles, say something about their personality and feel well- made," it explained.

However what this didn't mean was shying way from bold looks and strong colours. In womenswear, sales of yellow and gold items increased in sales by 44% and 47% respectively while men were won over by pink (more of which later). Pink t-shirts saw a 74% increase and brightly coloured shirts rose 54%.

John Lewis

Women chose timeless styles but in bold colours and men broke up their suits with knits and trainers. Image: John Lewis

As clothing has slowed down and become more timeless and individual, so age become less relevant when it comes to the kinds of fashion we choose. "Age has never been less relevant as attitude and personality come to the fore. Our modern rarity womenswear range is a “slow fashion” concept, designed to offer timeless quality pieces that speak to customers in their nineties, as well as those in their twenties," John Lewis said.

Changing workplaces have also had an impact on the kind of items we buy with the women's matching skirt and jacket suit falling out of favour while men broke up their suits by wearing them as separates teamed with trainers, t-shirts, knitwear and other more casual touches.

It seems casual is a bit of a watchword with loungewear becoming ever more popular and its influence is being felt in other categories such as denim, where slouchy boyfriend jeans came close to toppling the skinny's crown as the number on denim choice for women. Many women too were pairing their jeans with utilitarian khaki jackets for a relaxed off-duty look.

Evening wear too has become less formal with the younger generation in particular preferring to invest in looks that could be dressed up or down. However looking good remained a high priority among the younger consumer due to the influence of social media and Instagram in particular.

Social media, Youtubers, bloggers and Pinners were among the greatest influencers on fashion choices throughout the year and were behind the rise of the colour of the year Millennial pink. Influencers such as Drake, Rihanna (see post above from January 2017), A$AP Rocky and Beyonce all posted images on social media of them wearing the dusky shade which became the number one colour searched for on the John Lewis site.

House of Holland

Gingham as seen at House of Holland SS17

Khaki followed behind while other styles that proved hugely popular were gingham, off the shoulder, stripes and spots, all of which had featured heavily in Instagram posts (and on the runway).

Instagram and, quite likely too, consumers need for a bit of fun and fantasy in uncertain economic and political time, were behind the motif of the year, namely the unicorn, which appeared in all forms from giant inflatables to prints on wallets and water cups. Mermaids too were popular as were watermelons.

Looking ahead the retailer predicts that Japan will have huge influence on lifestyle trends marking a move towards minimalism but men's shirts will be all about maximalism. Having been seduced by pink this year, men are expected to get even bolder with statement prints next year.

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