By: Tom Pyne, Director and Founder of Chelsea Peers
Over the past couple of years, evolving customer preferences for comfort in fashion have seen loungewear-inspired clothing arrive on the catwalk, bringing versatility, convenience, and style. Many more affordable brands, such as Chelsea Peers, are being inspired to push boundaries within the loungewear sector, exploring new shapes, fits and fabrics. Loungewear is no longer confined to the home; it has become a fashion staple and is being worn for almost every occasion and in every location, from the workplace to nights out, dressed up or down.
Due to increasingly flexible working habits and the UK’s growing freelance workforce, the loungewear category has been on the rise for many years. However, it exploded in the first half of 2020,accelerated by Covid-19 and the associated national lockdowns. Working from home was no longer the ‘want’, but a requirement and with this came the desire to feel presentable whilst remaining comfortable.
Stylish loungewear is the perfect middle ground, and its popularity has never been greater, as home-working consumers soon realised that they did not need to be wearing office attire – at least not from the waist down! With the exception of weddings, the suit and tie has become almost a thing of the past, as loungewear is now not only acceptable, but is an altogether stylish fashion choice both inside and outside the home.
While we are seeing a return to the office in some capacity, alongside regular socialising and attendance of larger-events, people have become used to wearing loungewear and all the benefits that come with it. It is therefore likely that the two will exist in tandem; normality enjoyed in clothing that can be dressed up or down, that is easy to feel comfortable in, regardless of shape or size.
This trend is symbolic of the societal shift towards self-care, as comfort breeds confidence. This idea of fostering personal wellbeing is likely to take centre stage in 2022, with brands from small independents to large corporates encouraged to champion wellbeing. In the fashion industry this translates to nurturing self-expression through clothing and Chelsea Peers’ latest capsule collection, The Wellness Project, certainly embraces this, featuring stylish sleepwear and loungewear relating to mental and physical wellbeing, in sizing up to a 28 and including maternity.
However, wellness extends beyond the personal experience as consumers become increasingly conscious of where their clothes come from and the production process involved. From the manufacture of fabrics and dyes, to packaging and logistics, making more sustainable choices is imperative when it comes to the future of fashion. Chelsea Peers is ambitious in its long-term targets to be one of the most sustainable brands in the sector and The Wellness Project has been created with sustainability in mind. Using recycled yarns made from plastic bottles and certified organic cottons, as well as recycled packaging, biodegradable poly bags and a no-paper policy in packaging; sustainability must be the way forward for fashion.
Loungewear has been reinvented to accommodate these many and varied societal shifts. As the demand for quality loungewear skyrockets, the market is set to grow and diversify with expansion into multi-purpose styles suitable for every occasion and aspect of home and work life, from functional workwear to DIY and gardening. Brands that didn’t previously sell loungewear are launching new collections, while existing brands are expanding to incorporate diverse styles that meet this new customer demand.
The market is becoming increasingly saturated, so it is important that brands keep their core values at the heart of growth plans if they are to stay relevant. As loungewear continues to disrupt the fashion industry, brands must pride themselves on authentic creativity when it comes to launching or expanding collections. Finding a way to stand out from the crowd is by no means easy, but it is what fashion is all about. The explosion of loungewear symbolises more than a trend, it is forward-thinking and a driver of change alongside significant shifts in the culture of our nation.