I’m a fashion and pop culture addict. To fuel my cravings, I run a fashion/pop culture blog in my spare time interviewing forward-thinking, entrepreneurial creatives in Singapore. Because they mostly hang out in niche cliques—teens who resold sneakers before sneakers were even a thing, outspoken influencers who champion diversity of thought, young adults with boundary-pushing dating/love habits, etc— they seem to always claim first dibs on answers to where we’re moving next (as a culture).
Which brings me to something I noticed late last year: my social feed was bombarded with best-of/worst-of throwback moments from many fashion platforms. While scrolling through this digital memory lane, I wondered in a bittersweet way if 2020 would remotely resemble the soon passing decade or start from zero. I needed perspective on what the aesthetic was going to look like (because I couldn’t see it), which explains one question I’ve recently been inclined to ask on my blog—what will fashion look like in 2020?
To my intrigue, common answers I received from the numerous people I spoke to ranged from feelings, like “confusing” and “tired”, to socially-minded, like “sustainable” and “individualistic”.
So it seems like in 2020, it’s trendy not to look trendy.
With a statement like “It’s trendy not to look trendy”, I need to preface that I don’t mean people are avoiding all trends; they’re simply more thoughtful when they choose to wear them. There’s a newfound mainstream appeal in things you can’t find anywhere else—sentimental jewellery passed from previous generations, band tees which scream your subculture, denim custom-made by your fashion student friend and even vintage designer bags from the likes of Fendi and Dior.
This statement also seems to make sense if to directly respond to what’s been happening in recent history. In my opinion, up till not-very long ago, it was all too easy to look like everyone else. Fashion influencers played dress-up for brands to sell their “looks” of the season, which then drove their followers into large high-street stores to live out their Pinterest-based aspirations, or even more quickly, shop those looks instantly, online, from their desks at work, myself included.
Speaking of 2020, someone I’ve been taken to style-wise is Alexa Chung. In her new YouTube series “Franglais” (I’m proud to admit that I’ve seen every episode), her most recent conversation with Chanel ambassador and French epitome of style Caroline De Maigret struck a chord with me. In that chat, Alexa commented on style icons throughout history, implying that the reason why they’re beloved is that “It’s magnetism, not beauty.”
And while they were not referencing 2020 in particular, her point seemed to illustrate very accurately the mindset many people are adopting with dressing today.
It’s an inclination towards wearing something with “personality”. I recently chatted with fashion stylist Daryll Alexius Yeo, who’s worked in the industry for more than a decade. In my experience, fashion people are obsessed with youth and newness and if you don’t chase either you could easily be labelled as a loser, but that was not at all how our conversation unfolded. Over coffee, I vividly remember Daryll mentioning of clothes lasting forever in someone’s wardrobe as a 2020 mindset.
It was a breath of fresh air.
Confession: I used to have a habit of buying versions of the same thing “in case”. To break the habit, last year I decided to buy (another) pair of blue Levi’s 511 jeans, but purposely made myself wear them with every outfit almost every other day I went out. To my pleasant surprise, they didn’t age poorly. In fact, I think they looked better on me with each and every wear. I felt more self-assured every time I put them on, and I finally felt like I was doing something fashion-wise that was actually environmentally positive.
My shopping tip to build a better wardrobe: Don’t just buy what you think looks good, but buy what you know you’ll wear. That said, my newfound minimalist approach to wardrobe hasn’t crimped my enthusiasm for fashion. I still love seeing what brands launch when they do. Now, however, I make sure to keep in mind that just because a designer sends 100 looks down the runway doesn’t mean all looks are for me; and neither should they be all for you.
Text: Marcus Lee
Do Singaporean women care about fashion trends at all? Here’s what they think.