The Sudden, Uncomfy Fall of The Biggest Pandemic Fashion Trend

Last year, many people got many things wrong about how the pandemic might change our lives. No, cities did not die; yes, people still blow out birthday candles and risk spreading their germs. But few 2020 forecasts missed their mark so spectacularly as the oft-repeated claim that, as the world reopened, we’d return to it in sweatpants.

If any single event crystallizes this misfire, it’s last month’s announcement that the direct-to-consumer loungewear brand Entireworld was going out of business. The company had been a breakout darling of 2020, its cheerfully hued cotton basics poised at the fortuitous intersection of “cute enough for Zoom” and “cozy enough to work, sleep, and recreate from bed in, for the bulk of a calendar year”. News outlets, meanwhile, pointed to Entireworld’s astonishing 662% increase in sales last March not as a right-place, right-time one-off, but an indication of our collective sartorial destiny.

The sweatpant has supplanted the blue jean in the pants-wearing American imagination,” declared GQ last April. The New York Times Magazine followed suit a few months later with an Entireworld name-check in its August 2020 cover story, headlined “Sweatpants Forever”.

But it wasn’t to be. Instead, as 2021 brought forth the world’s reopening, I noticed a style sensibility that seemed to defy last year’s housebound pragmatism. From Instagram to the streets of my New York City neighborhood, the people were turning looks. Kooky looks, to be precise, from platform Crocs to strong-shouldered silhouettes.

My online window shopping exploits turned up scores of sundry garments, across brands, all in the same exuberant hue of 90s DayGlo green. From sensible underpants to faux fur–trimmed tops, I subconsciously catalogued the color labels assigned to each (“celery”, “gross green”, “slime”).

This new, psychedelic palette seemed like a spiritual departure from Trump-era minimalism and its many shades of beige. Less dutiful, more winking.

Sweatpants seem destined for a mere supporting role. Jessica Richards, a trend forecasting consultant based in New York City, agrees that the pandemic has changed the way we dress. “It’s actually for the better,” she says – and in more ways than one.

It’s no coincidence that the styles of the Great Re-entry reflect a certain giddiness, says Dr Jaehee Jung, a University of Delaware fashion studies professor who researches the psychology of fashion and consumer behavior. “The fact that there are more opportunities to present ourselves to others makes us excited about the clothes we wear,” Jung tells me.

“I’m definitely seeing people taking more risks, in terms of color choices, prints and patterns, even shapes and silhouettes that they wouldn’t have worn before,” says Sydney Mintle, a fashion industry publicist in Seattle. “People are like, ‘life is short, wear yellow.’”

Tamar Miller, CEO of the women’s luxury footwear brand Bells & Becks, has seen this fashion risk-taking impulse first-hand in her company’s recent sales. “My absolute, number-one, kind of off-the-charts shoe is one I did not expect,” she says.

That shoe, per Miller’s description, is a pointed-toe loafer in black-and-white snakeskin leather, topped by a prominent decorative tab with hardware detailing. It’s a bold choice, and one that affirms the demographic breadth of the desire to make a statement. Miller’s target customers are not members of Gen Z, but rather their parents and grandparents.

Secondhand clothing – and its promise of luxe-for-less – has also found its time to shine.

2020 was a banner year for the online resale market. Digital consignment platforms like Depop, ThredUp, and Poshmark swelled with the sartorial discards of an estimated 52.6 million people in 2020, 36.2 million of whom were selling for the first time, according to a survey by ThredUp. A majority of millennial and Gen Z consumers indicated that they plan to spend more on secondhand apparel in the next five years than in any other retail category, a sentiment expressed by 42% of consumers overall.

It’s a phenomenon that may also be contributing to the moment’s ethos of mix-and-match experimentation. “Gone are the days of sleek, edited ‘capsule wardrobes’, and in their place are drawers overstuffed with vintage treasures sourced from Poshmark or Depop,” writes Isabel Slone in a recent Harper’s Bazaar article headlined “How Gen Z Killed Basic Black”.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that fast fashion is on its way out. (“Some of those brands are doing big business, and the numbers don’t lie,” Mintle sighs.) But the boom reflects, and may have helped accelerate, a growing departure from trend-chasing and disposable, low-cost wares. You might even say that reflexive participation in fads is so 2019 – not least because the US is struggling with supply chain bottlenecks as we enter the holiday season.

But our Roaring Twenties may be on the horizon. For 2022, Richards anticipates sparkle, novelty, “shoes that go ‘clunk’” and “really maximalist styling”. She didn’t mention sweatpants.

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Source: The sudden, uncomfy fall of the biggest pandemic fashion trend | Fashion | The Guardian

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Reddit Cracks Down On Forums Trading Images Of Female Vinted And Depop Users

Reddit has shut down forums with thousands of users sharing and selling photos of female members of clothing resale apps like Vinted and Depop.  

Vinted and Depop have become a viral sensation with Generation Z shoppers looking to thrift second-hand clothing from the comfort of the sofa. The apps have also become a hunting ground for men who trade and sell photographs of young women modeling bikinis, bodysuits and other clothing for sale. 

Reddit banned r/NSFW_Vinted and r/vinted_sluts, communities with nearly a thousand members earlier this week after being contacted by Forbes. The social news aggregator, dubbed the “front page of the internet” has shut down two similar subforums sharing images of Depop users, and another Vinted forum in recent months. Despite this crackdown, the site still features several subreddits, some inactive, promoting images taken from Depop and eBay sellers. 

One of the subreddit moderators had compiled download bundles of hundreds of stolen images of female users from Germany, the Czech Republic, and beyond, offering to sell them “for the price of a coffee” on file download site Ejunkie. The download pages have since been taken offline.  

Bryony like many Vinted users started to use the app during the U.K’s Covid lockdowns to clear out her wardrobe of old and unwanted clothing. The 25-year-old from Essex, England, who asked for her full name not to be used, was unaware that a photograph taken to help sell a PrettyLittleThing bodysuit was being traded on the now banned subreddit r/NSFW_Vinted. 

“I’m obviously disgusted that my photos have been taken from this platform and distributed elsewhere without my permission and I find it quite sickening to be honest with you,” says Bryony, who had also received inappropriate messages from users asking to model clothing she was trying to sell on the app.  

“Multiple times I have had inappropriate messages asking for more pictures of me wearing the items I am selling…at first I thought nothing of it and then I clicked it was a little bit weird,” she says. 

Bryony is not the only female seller on clothing apps like Vinted and Depop to have received inappropriate or disturbing messages from men seeking to solicit photos, or used clothing. The BBC and Cosmopolitan reported in January about the problem of young women, and teenagers, being targeted on the apps and other marketplaces like eBay, while Depop users themselves have turned to Reddit to share scores and scores of disturbing direct messages. 

“These creepy messages take total advantage of the nature of sites like Depop and Vinted, which women have used to boost their income during the pandemic,” says Hannah Hart, privacy expert at ProPrivacy. “These downright disturbing incidents further highlight the fact that women face harassment and abuse simply for daring to be visibly female, regardless of which sites they frequent and whether they’ve been intended as social platforms.”

While these user-driven marketplaces are also home to some people who are in the business of selling images of themselves or used clothing to cater to fetishes often in contravention of the terms of services of these apps none of the women contacted by Forbes had intended, or were, aware that their images were being shared.  

Vinted says it takes a tough line on inappropriate messaging and bans users it suspects of breaching its policies. “We also recommend our users to refrain from sharing pictures of them wearing the items if this is asked to them in private conversation and to report the user who asked them that,” a spokesperson for Vinted said in a statement to Forbes

The Vilnius, Lithuania-based app says it tries to stop photos from being take off its platform but had limited control over users’ screenshotting images. “In such cases, we strongly advise our members to report this directly to the respective websites to inform them that imagery is being published without any usage rights and ask for these pictures to be taken down by the said website,” says Vinted’s spokesperson.  

Depop has in the past year pushed Reddit to take down content according to messages sent from the London-based app’s support team to affected sellers. “We take a zero tolerance approach towards predatory or abusive behavior of any kind on Depop. The safety of our community is our number one priority, which is why we have robust policies and advanced technology in place to keep everyone protected,” says Fabian Koenig, VP of trust and safety at Depop. 

Thrifting was once consigned to Goodwill, charity shops, and a corner of eBay but a new generation with small budgets and a passion for sustainability have thrust it into the fashion mainstream and turned secondhand clothing apps into a big business. American online craft marketplace Etsy swooped to buy British clothing app Depop, which has a cult teenage following, for $1.6 billion in June while Vinted raised $300 million in a fundraise that valued the app at over $4.2 billion in May.  

Reddit said it had a blanket ban on the sharing of non-consensual intimate or sexually explicit images, or video, and as such had banned the subreddits involved. The site’s policy of largely relying on users to self-police has repeatedly been tested in recent years with staff stepping in to ban controversial subforums like r/donaldtrump, anti-vaccine, and far-right forums only after facing a prolonged public backlash. Reddit has raised close to $950 million from investors since the start of the year largely to build out its team and advertising proposition. Send me a secure tipIain Martin

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Iain Martin

 Iain Martin

I joined Forbes as the Europe News Editor and will be working with the London newsroom to define our coverage of emerging businesses and leaders across the UK and Europe. Prior to joining Forbes, I worked for the news agency Storyful as its Asia Editor working from its Hong Kong bureau, and as a Senior Editor in London, where I reported on breaking news stories from around the world, with a special focus on how misinformation and disinformation spreads on social media platforms. I started my career in London as a financial journalist with Citywire and my work has appeared in the BBC, Sunday Times, and many more UK publications. Email me story ideas, or tips, to iain.martin@forbes.com, or Twitter @_iainmartin.

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