Year in Review: Fashion and Ecommerce Trends 2021

Series #1

Jess Erdman, December 2021

As 2022 is fast-approaching, we wanted to take a look back at the year, through the lens of fashion. What were the fashion and ecommerce trends in 2021 that dominated? And why? 


2021 was an unprecedented year, yet again. We stayed home, returned to the office, and went back to working from home. And the fashion and ecommerce trends from 2021 heavily responded to the change in lifestyle. As consumers adjusted to the “new normal,” fashion trends followed suit, becoming more comfortable and pragmatic for a new lifestyle focused around the home. 


However, technology did not stop developing, despite a long pandemic, and in addition to a change in aesthetic trends, the way that shoppers looked for clothing changed as well.


Read our year in review below to stay on top of the fashion and ecommerce trends of 2021.


If you're looking to stay on top of the latest fashion tech and ecommerce news, we've got you covered. Follow our LinkedIn for fresh content:


Join our LinkedIn community



1- Minimalism and sustainability |Fashion and Ecommerce Trends 2021

Minimalism and sustainability provided stability during uncertain times

Forced to stay at home for undetermined periods, consumers turned inwards and re-evaluated their core beliefs around design. As the outside world continued to burn (literally and figuratively), consumers examined whether they even needed three pairs of the same sunglasses. Minimalism and sustainability dominated as fashion and ecommerce trends in 2021, as consumers began to re-evaluate their own values.



Thoughtful consumption is the leading values-based trend to emerge from 2021. Driven by both economic and environmental factors, over half of consumers bought less clothing in the pandemic, and intend to continue to consume less.

Fashion retailers quickly responded, as fast-fashion platforms such as Shein were met with digital thrift platforms such as Depop, allowing consumers stuck at home to still shop, but with less guilt around the environment. 

Pre-owned clothing section from Farfetch



2-  Bigger demands from retailers | Fashion and Ecommerce Trends 2021

Digitally-savvy shoppers demanded more from retailers

As consumers spent more time on digital devices, their level of digital sophistication skyrocketed. Consumers that were once afraid to shop online were suddenly thrust into a digital world of shopping, and they shopped across platforms, including: ecommerce retailers, Instagram, and TikTok. 


With new digital sophistication, shoppers demanded more from retailers. If shoppers were going to make a new purchase, they wanted to:

-access ecommerce websites with seamless user journeys
-receive accurate search results within seconds
-see clear product photos and videos


Consumers also developed a baseline expectation that every shopping experience should be personalized. From product recommendations to onsite re-targeted pop-ups, personalization continues to become more advanced, and is a way for retailers to capture shopper attention. We expect this fashion and ecommerce trend from 2021 to continue into 2022.


Survey from Net-a-Porter


To learn more about personalization, check out this article.


3- Visual Search | Fashion and Ecommerce Trends 2021

Visual search captured shoppers’ attention


As shoppers moved to online platforms, text-based search became even more overwhelming. Starved for alternatives, visual search emerged as a dynamic, fun way for shoppers to receive accurate search results. 


Visual search offered an innovative, easy-to-use search process that took advantage of one of the most important aspects of shopping in-store: the visual component. Shopping is an innately visual experience, and visual search offered shoppers new ways to discover products.


Through camera search and visual search filters, shoppers could forget about confusing fashion taxonomies, and search for products intuitively. For example, with the YesPlz Style Filter, shoppers were able to filter their preferred silhouette on a virtual mannequin and receive accurate results in seconds.




Smart retailers are getting ahead of the curve, understanding that shoppers want to see visual search implemented into the shopping experience. Discover more about the future of visual search in our latest interview with Clark Boyd, visual search expert, here.



4- Monochrome | Fashion and Ecommerce Trends 2021

Practical, monochrome clothing reflected our mood


In 2021, the sweatsuit made a comeback, as consumers continued to work from home and began to realize that the pandemic may last longer than expected. Comfort took precedence over tight-fitting clothes, and consumers began to mix and match their wardrobes to include not only sweatpants, but loungewear that could double as a work wardrobe for Zoom calls. 


The color palette for 2021 was dull, dominated by muted grays and beiges, and reflected the dark economic and psychological moods of consumers. A return to dull colors is nothing new--during previous recessions, the color palette also shifted to reflect the struggling economy. 


The standout fashion and ecommerce trend in 2021 was a reflection of dark times--but we predict that in 2022, fashion colors will be anything but dull. For a full description of the pandemic fashion trends we saw, and what to expect in 2022, read our interview with Agnes Kubiak, fashion trend expert.


What fashion and ecommerce trends can we look forward to in 2022? 


2021 was a turning point for consumer sophistication, as newly sophisticated shoppers demanded more from their retail experiences. Through new tools such as visual search, retailers began to engage shoppers differently, understanding the importance of bringing joyful experiences to customers during dark times. 



From a fashion perspective, values-based trends such as sustainability are here to stay. But,  expect a very different color palette for 2022. Fun cut-outs and playful  prints will overtake the muted tones we’ve seen for the past year. 


Stay tuned for the rest of our series, as we take you through the fashion, retail, and ecommerce trends of 2021.


Let's talk about visual search and AI solutions for your ecommerce.


Contact us



by Jess Erdman Jess Erdman
Content Marketing Lead

I'm passionate about creating cool content. The best part? I get to learn new things about fashion tech and ecommerce everyday. Have an idea or opinion about this article? Reach out at

Next Readings

Schedule a demo today