What Does 2021 Fashion Communication Look Like?

It’s the million-dollar question. After 12 months that saw the fashion industry – and the world in general – turned upside-down by the Covid-19 pandemic, what are the trends, theories and indicators that can inject some much-needed positivity into our plans for 2021? Here are some (often contradictory) predictions for the future of fashion marketing.

Anti-Marketing Marketing

You may not want to hear this – particularly if your job is to service the endless feed of content for your brand – but, looking at wider cultural trends, there are signs that a “less is more” approach is taking hold in marketing. In the U.K., the end of year music polls unanimously voted ‘Untitled (Black Is)’ by the relatively unknown band Sault as the best album of the year. And when we say “relatively unknown” – we mean no-one knows who they are. Their producer is credited as Inflo, whose previous work ranges from the unremarkable (The Kooks, Tom Odell) to the critically acclaimed (Little Simz and Michael Kiwanuka). Beyond that, there are few clues. But, having released two brilliant albums in 2019, “5” and “7”, they repeated the trick in 2020 – their latest album, “Untitled (Rise)” was praised in The Guardian newspaper for delivering the ‘best album of 2020, again’.

Google them, and you’ll find a minimal website where you can buy the albums and a Bandcamp page where you can hear the music. That’s it.

Why does any of this matter? Because, in an age (and an industry) where it’s supposedly impossible to score a hit without a global joined-up social media campaign, an obscure British band gained traction by turning their obscurity into their unique selling point: reclaiming the power of mystery in the face of over-saturation. 

How does this translate to your brand strategy? Admittedly marketing abhors the vacuum of obscurity – but consider the media-averse approach of Margaret Howell or Martin Margiela over the years. Did it do them any harm? 

Mystery will be big in 2021. Think teaser campaigns that build anticipation and excitement – hold back on detail, hint at bigger things to come.

Fashion Equals Fantasy