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Faculty Experts Predict Six Pandemic Trends

FIT Home Campusㅣ2021-02-04 11:14

JANUARY 19, 2021


The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we buy, the way we dress, even the way we design our homes. Several FIT faculty have weighed in on recent trend reports; here are six highlights, placed by FIT’s Media Relations.


Fuzzy slippers are having a moment. Ellen Lynch, professor, Accessories Design, spoke with The New York Times about the history of the fuzzy slipper. She said faux-fur footwear was popular in earlier decades but in fancy shoes. Only recently have these materials “reinterpreted themselves into a more comfortable, durable, but not work-related kind of shoe.”


Clothing retailer bankruptcies will slow. So said Vincent Quan, associate professor of Fashion Business Management, in a short and pithy interview with KCBS Radio Los Angeles. He pointed out that more than 30 retailers filed for bankruptcy in 2020, which surpassed the previous record held in 2019. “I see 2021 ebbing, because if you would have filed, you would have filed this year.” Another ray of hope: after more than a year of sweatpants and pajamas, Quan expects tailored looks to return by Q4 2021.


Cut-outs are in. Refinery29 examined the trend of artfully cut out areas of garments. Valerie Steele, director of The Museum at FIT, said that cut-outs are “playing with that issue of hiding and revealing.” She added, “Skin implies nakedness and therefore, as Barthes said, eroticism is where the garment gapes, where suddenly you’re showing a flash of skin … If you cover it up and you show a piece of skin then that’s an exciting revelation.”


Post-pandemic, expect a return to pre-pandemic trends. In Fast Company, Dr. Steele discussed how simple white gowns became popular during the French Revolution because women could be attacked for looking like an aristocrat—but these simple gowns had emerged the decade prior. “If these historical examples are useful to us, then we would not expect a completely new fashion once we come out of COVID, but rather an exaggeration of trends that were already in existence before March,” she said.


The comfy-cozy couch makes a comeback. Phyllis Harbinger, a faculty member in Interior Design, spoke with New York magazine about the resurgence of the slipcovered white couch. “These couches are like comfort food for the external body,” she said.


Interior designers are rethinking the environmental cost of marble. It’s not a sustainable choice, Grazyna Pilatowicz, associate professor of Interior Design, told CNA Luxury. “For many years [interior design] was considered a luxury item, and being luxury, it wasn’t considering any kind of responsibility to the public.”


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