2020 has been tumultuous to say the least, and to say that we’re all relieved the year is ending is an understatement in itself. Amidst everything, the effects of the pandemic are also apparent in the fashion industry. Fashion as we know it has completely pivoted. Many longstanding brands have filed for bankruptcy – signalling a possible bleak ending. Other have announced closures that shut down stores for good.  

All the top fashion moments in 2020
Image: Jacquemus

Bleak as it was, fashion this year has also produced many silver linings. Fashion’s most anticipated event – Fashion Month – pushed through despite the pandemic, with designers and creative directors at helm asserting their creativity in a slew of virtual showings, creative films, and socially-distanced physical shows.

Knitwear and loungewear rose to new heights in popularity due to the pandemic lockdown, whilst the entire classy-top-scruffy-bottoms Zoom dressing became a new trend. Ahead, we highlight more of such moments and items that shaped up the fashion industry in 2020.

The ‘It’ Fashion Items

Whilst fashion’s It items have never really vanished completely, they’ve certainly faded for a few years. 2020 saw a huge return of these items though, from Bottega Veneta’s cloud-like Pouch bag to Khaite’s famous oatmeal cardigan and bra set.  

Of course, these coveted items wouldn’t have achieved their It status without the help of celebrities. Of which, the Telfar Shopping Bag got a bigger surge in popularity when congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore it on Capitol Hill; whilst the JW Anderson patchwork cardigan went viral when Harry Styles was pictured in it for a Today Show rehearsal.

Others include the classic Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars which became a hot topic after US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris revealed her love for them; whilst Marine Serre’s iconic crescent-moon body stockings skyrocketed to fame after being featured in Beyonce’s legendary Black Is King film.


Face masks were undoubtedly the hottest item in fashion this year. Besides helping to curb the spread of COVID-19, these ubiquitous fashion staples were also key in expressing the personalities of those whose faces they conceal.

Luxury brands like Off White and Burberry have taken to selling designer face masks, whilst others like Louis Vuitton made their mark with face shields. Delicate chains and extravagant details were soon added as complementing touches to face masks, proving that fashion always has a way of expressing itself, even in the midst of a pandemic.

Celebrity WFH Style

The lack of red carpet events this year translated to a shortage of our favourite stars flaunting their award show ‘fits. Nonetheless, celebrities turned to displaying their best looks – be it for a lazy day in or for an award show – in the comforts of their sprawling mansions instead.

Whether it’s Dua Lipa’s fashion-forward pieces, Zendaya’s custom Giorgio Armani Prive gown that she donned on for her acceptance speech, or Hailey Bieber’s ultra-comfortable style that spell cozy days in, celebrities have certainly served up plenty of fashion inspiration and iconic moments during lockdown.

Creativity during Fashion Month

Back in September, Fashion Month for the Spring/Summer 2021 (SS21) season pushed through despite uncertainties caused by the pandemic. For the first time ever, runway shows were staged in an array of formats that includes both virtual and physical-digital shows.

Highlights during the season include Moschino’s puppet show, courtesy of the ever-creative Jeremy Scott; Christian Louboutin’s interactive gaming show; and Balenciaga’s music video pre-collection.

Louis Vuitton’s show was presented with green screens and special visual effects, whilst Isabel Marant showcased their collection with energetic dancers. All in all, this year’s fashion weeks were unparalleled in their creativity.

Diversity in fashion

The fashion industry still has a long way to go when it comes to being inclusive, but this year did showcase several highlights within fashion’s diversity.  

Rihanna returned to showcase her Fall 2020 collection in her Savage X Fenty Volume 2 show, and inclusivity – the singer’s leitmotif – was without a doubt at the forefront of her show. Her game-changing line-up of models included men, women and non-binary models of all races and body types.

Versace’s SS21 runway featured, for the first time, a size-inclusive model line-up; whilst Senegal-born, Italy-raised model Maty Fall walked a total of 37 shows – more than any other model during the SS21 season.

TikTok Fashion Month

TikTok – every Gen Z and millennial’s favourite app – made its mark in the industry by launching its very own Fashion Month. Two fashion shows were livestreamed each week, with fashion and social media coming together for a creative approach to the runway.

All the top fashion moments in 2020
Image: TikTok

TikTok’s Fashion Month saw the participation of brands like Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent and JW Anderson. It wrapped up with TikTok Runway Odyssey, a first-of-its-kind virtual runway show that featured designer brand Alice + Olivia and sportswear giant Puma.