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UK consumers are choosing timelessness over trends, says new report

Tom Bottomley
19 March 2024

A new report titled 'I wouldn’t wear that', from British athleisure brand Blakely Clothing, has revealed that consumers are stepping away from so called fashion trends in favour of buying more for quality, timelessness and comfort.

That was the key finding from a survey of 2,000 18-35 year-olds across the UK when they were asked their thoughts on 2024’s 'hottest fashion trends', with 58% of shoppers saying they won’t be following trends this year, and 77% stating they care more about how long their clothes will last than how 'on trend' they are.

The reports also reveals that while search data is showing that online interest in fashion trends is falling, searches related to comfortable clothing and athleisure are on the rise, with online interest in athleisure rising 25% in the last quarter alone.

An overwhelming majority of respondents, 78%, stated that they are willing to spend more on clothing if it means better quality and durability, while 67% said they are now more likely to invest in classic and timeless pieces than in trending attire.

Founder and CEO of Blakely Clothing, Gareth Newman, said: "The definition of fashion is changing. Enduring quality and comfort are at the forefront of consumer demand, focusing on wellness and value for money rather than trending aesthetics."

Across a range of womenswear trends identified in popular fashion magazines as top choices for 2024, the least popular were 'hot metals' and 'snowflake patterns', with 64% of women saying they don’t intend to buy or wear those.

Those predicting menswear shoppers would be leaning into 'animal prints' and 'glitter-bombed' looks this year will also be disappointed to learn that 65% and 69% of men respectively have no intention of shopping for either. Instead, they will be far more likely to opt for 'back in black' - the only trend to entice a high volume of shoppers, with 72% of men happy to follow a 'trend' that largely amounts to what many people consider a standard wardrobe - dressing solely in black.

For brands and retailers hoping to see growth throughout the year ahead, the data hints at the need to focus energy on demonstrating quality, value and longevity in garments, rather than seeking to launch product ranges that satisfy ever growing lists of trends.

That said, 60% of respondents in the Blakely survey did admit to having their personal style influenced by social media, so while shoppers may not be swayed by the trends put forward on runways and in fashion and lifestyle magazines, evidence suggests they can be sold a certain look by the Instagramers, TikTokers and other social media stars in their newsfeeds.

Northern Irish shoppers are most likely to be influenced by what they see on social (71%), while buyers in the east of England are as apathetic about social suggestions as they are about mainstream trends - just 44% in the region cited social media as influencing their purchases.

Newman added: "The regional variations in how social media influences fashion choices highlight that digital trends often don't mirror actual wardrobe selections.

"It's becoming clear that consumers are less swayed by online fast fashion trends than we might assume."

While there is no doubt that brands can still gain significant value from being seen and shared in sought after fashion titles, any not yet setting social media at the heart of their 2024 strategies may find that Blakely’s figures "provide serious food for thought".

The research was conducted between 30 January - 5 February 2024, via a national survey. Search data and online trend insights were collected through Google Trends, Ahrefs, historic Google keyword data, Pinterest and TikTok trends, while 'top trends' for 2024 were established through recurrence frequency in titles such as Vogue, GQ and other major fashion and lifestyle publications.

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