The year 2019 ended on a positive note for the fashion and luxury industry, but alas, who could’ve forecasted the unfortunate circumstances that were to occur in a matter of weeks!
If the ongoing trade wars and geo-political tensions between the US and Iran weren’t enough, wild bush fires spread out of control in Australia followed by the ultimate devastation plundered by the novel coronavirus across the world.
Balenciaga, at this time, captured the uneasy mood around the globe with its ‘end of the world’ themed runway show in Paris at the onset of March.
By the end of the quarter, coronavirus had its own distinction being termed as COVID-19, ramifications of which had hit the world economy and brought the entire world to a halt.
As a response, consumer spending experienced an all-time low with consumers confining to their homes and businesses embracing the work from home culture. Lack of demand hit the supply chains, drastically leaving countless orders cancelled and workers jobless. Everything right from sourcing raw materials through to manufacturing, logistics and retail operations, for both bricks-and-mortar and online stores, came to a standstill.
Keeping the situation around the world in mind and monitoring consumer behaviour over the last 4 months closely, online e-commerce platform Lyst, which has over 9 million monthly shoppers, has released its quarterly report on the top fashion brands based on consumer preferences.
Lyst analyses plus social mentions and engagement over the first 3 months of the year, from 1 January through 31 March, to determine what’s in demand in the fashion space.
The upcoming Q2 report will paint a clearer picture of COVID-19’s global impact, but for now, based on the Q1 data, consumers’ brand allegiances remain largely unchanged.
Brainchild of streetwear genius Virgil Abloh, Off-White topped the list as the world’s hottest brand for the third successive quarter, pointing out to the influence of today’s younger, millennial and Gen Z shoppers, who uphold the label’s anti-establishment take on luxury.
Following the buzz surrounding its Fall/Winter ‘20 show, where Balenciaga presented an end of the world themed presentation, the brand jumped one place to reclaim its position as the second hottest brand in the world (the spot was last occupied by the label in Q3 2019).
International sportswear brand Nike emerges as one of the fastest risers this quarter, climbing up nine places to number 3 – nudging Gucci to number 4. This is the first time the latter has slipped out of the Top 3 slots since The Lyst Index came into being. The success can be attributed to the powerful global initiatives undertaken by the sportswear giant this quarter, along with an increased consumer demand for its products namely hoodies, sweatpants and shorts.
On the fifth spot, we see Prada jumping up two places since last quarter following the announcement that Belgian designer Raf Simons would become Co-Creative Director alongside Miuccia Prada. The news saw Raf Simons’ namesake label enter the hottest brands’ list for the second time ever, rising 12 positions to place 17th this quarter.
Read on to discover the entire list along with reasoning as to why the brands/labels occupied, jumped or dropped to that spot in the first quarter for 2020.
- Launched the Activate Movement programme in collaboration with Evian
- Released a Lunar New Year-centric capsule collection
- Debuted the Off-White X Air Jordan IV at Paris Fashion Week
Position during last quarter – 1
- Released koala hoodies to raise funds to support Australia’s bushfire relief
- Flooded the runway for apocalyptic Paris Fashion Week show
- The brand’s parent company Kering announced that it would manufacture surgical masks to aid in COVID-19 relief efforts
Position during last quarter – 3
- Released ‘Mamba Forever’ ad in tribute to Kobe Bryant’s tragic death earlier this year
- Announced a multi-year partnership with Liverpool FC
- Donated over US $ 15 million as a COVID-19 response effort
Position during last quarter – 12
- Reported 10.5 per cent revenue growth in the previous quarter
- Released a Mickey Mouse collection for Chinese New Year
- Pledged to donate €2 million in response to COVID-19
Position during last quarter – 2
- Raf Simons joined Prada as its Co-Creative Director
- Partnered with the UNESCO on an education programme
- Funded two new ICUs in three of Milan’s hospitals in response to COVID-19
Position during last quarter – 7
- Reported 13 per cent revenue growth for FY 2019
- Collaborated with iconic designer JW Anderson and Rimowa for its Moncler Genius project
- Donated €10 million to a Milan-based hospital project in an effort to aid COVID-19
Position during last quarter – 4
- Launched a capsule collection for Chinese New Year
- Teamed up with model Winnie Harlow for its #BaguetteFriendsForever campaign
- The Carla Fendi Foundation donated €100,000 in response to COVID-19
Position during last quarter – 6
- Unveiled a sneaker collaboration with Onitsuka Tiger
- Opened a pop-up store in Beverly Hills
- The brand’s parent company Mayhoola donated €2 million in response to COVID-19
Position during last quarter – 8
9. SAINT LAURENT
- Announced that its turnover for 2019 surpassed €2 billion
- Released a Valentine’s Day capsule collection
- YSL’s parent company Kering announced the brand would manufacture surgical masks to help combat COVID-19
Position during last quarter – 9
- Presented a co-ed collection on the runway together for the first time
- Announced new flagship stores in Paris and London
- Donated over US $ 850,000 in response to COVID-19
Position during last quarter – 5
- Held a carbon neutral show at London Fashion Week
- Launched an AR shopping tool with Google Search
- Announced manufacturing and donation of surgical masks in response to COVID-19
Position during last quarter – 10
12. Stone Island
- Launched exclusive collections with retailers Browns, END and Luisa via Roma
- Unveiled installation by artist Ken-Tonio Yamamoto in its Milan store
- Rumoured to consider buying a stake in soccer club Modena F.C.
Position during last quarter – 11
- Reported 9.4 per cent sales growth during the last quarter
- Launched a 100 per cent biodegradable boot during its Fall/Winter ‘20 collection
- Launched the Residency programme to promote hope and happiness during the COVID-19 crisis
Position during last quarter – 14
- Appointed Renaud de Lesquen as its new CEO
- Released its Spring/Summer ‘20 campaign, fronted by Marc Jacobs and Charlotte Rampling
- Parent company LVMH declared that the brand’s fragrance factories would shift to manufacturing hand sanitiser gel in response to COVID-19
Position during last quarter – 13
- Went for a co-ed show format for Fall/Winter ‘20
- Simon Porte Jacquemus announced he would feature in a series of free online fashion courses
- Unveiled a jewellery version of its Le Chiquito bag
Position during last quarter – 22
- In a move that went viral, the brand sent celebrity lookalikes down the runway for its Fall/Winter ’20 showcase
- Announced a collaboration of special edition bottles with Evian
- Released its latest Spike Runner 200 sneakers in collaboration with Reebok
Position during last quarter – 15
17. Raf Simons
- Launched a new line of sportswear-influenced footwear
- Collaborated with Dr. Martens to celebrate the boot’s 60th anniversary
- Released an 11th collaboration collection with Fred Perry
Position during last quarter – 29
- Announced athlete Megan Rapinoe as face of the Autumn/Winter ‘20 campaign
- Revealed 30 finalists for the 2020 Loewe Foundation Craft Prize
- Released the third Eye/LOEWE/Nature outdoors wear collection
Position during last quarter – 20
19. Thom Browne
- Opted for a co-ed show format by presenting both women’s and men’s collections together for Fall/Winter ‘20
- Created a sports-inspired collection for Nordstrom’s New Concepts pop-up programme
- Released a co-branded Galaxy Z flip phone with Samsung
Position during last quarter – 33
20. Rick Owens
- Unveiled a Rick Owens tour bus in collaboration with Moncler
- Collaborated with Champion on an exclusive sportswear collection
- Collaborated with Veja on two sustainable sneakers
Position during last quarter – 28
This quarter, the Lyst Index shows that consumer allegiance to powerful brands remains strong, despite the uncertainties caused by COVID-19.
Sure, the consumer interaction with brands and the way they shop for fashion is fast changing. The COVID-19 crisis is accelerating shifts that were already happening in our industry, and catalysing further changes. Digital formats are proving to be more important than ever to fashion brands and institutions. According to Lyst, information and communication are key for our community. Those who adapt quickly to the changing landscape, using data-backed decisions while drawing on their core strengths, will be best placed to thrive.