Top 10 TikTok Fashion Trends of 2021

Ever look through your closet and feel like you don’t know what to wear? Or do you want to revamp your wardrobe but don’t know where to start? Look no further than TikTok. Videos with the #fashiontrends2021 hashtag have racked up 835.5 million views to date. The popular app is all the inspiration needed for obsessed fashionistas and casual buyers alike. 

This level of accessibility has made TikTok a marketing goldmine for fashion brands and creates opportunities for content creators or future fashion entrepreneurs. Labels are partnering with influencers to reach a broader audience and turn viral moments into increased sales. Stylists are enhancing their portfolios through short-form videos. And content creators have become style personas and trend forecasters. Before we bid 2021 goodbye, revisit the most popular fashion trends on TikTok this year.

Oversized Blazers 

Create a cost-effective but stylish closet by mixing and matching different pieces of clothing to maximize your wardrobe. For example, the oversized blazer is multipurpose and can be worn to dress up a basic t-shirt and jeans or add some comfort to a more proper fit. 

Check Out This TikTok by rose.friederike

@rose.friederike

Style tip ♥️ #styletip #oversizedblazer #style #fashion #blazer #stylebikeshorts #whattowear #tuktokfashion #fyp

♬ Originalton – ROSE

Tie-Dye

It has been said that fashion trends tend to repeat every few years. For example, Tie-dye first peaked in the 1960s, but the eye-catching print took over casual fashion in 2021. The rise in popularity can be attributed to TikTok stars Addison Rae and Charli D’Amelio, who have a knack for tie-dye sweatsuits. It’s also an affordable wardrobe option since it’s DIY-friendly.

Check Out This TikTok by emmarubinsonofficial

@emmarubinsonofficial

ice dyeing! #tiedye #hacks #howto #fashiontips

♬ Gone – Charli XCX & Christine And The Queens

Cutouts

Over the summer, cutouts took over TikTok. From turtle necks to leather pants, the risqué fashion choice is a fun way to play around with your look. Designers like Christian Siriano and Prabal Gurung noted cutouts featured during runway shows this past fall. 

Check Out This TikTok by alinelowry

@alinelowry

Elegant vibes in Miami #elegantstyle #miamilifestyle #revolveme #highwaistpants #casualchic #cutoutfashion

♬ Listen To Me Now – nghigiango

White Air Force 1s

The Air Force 1 has a lot of imitators and knock-offs, but Nike’s classic silhouette stands above the rest. Although the sneaker has been in production since 1982, they’re a favorite among Gen-Zers and TikTok fashion influencers due to their versatility. So whether you’re rocking tie-dye joggers or a floral print dress, you can top off your look with a pair of Air Force 1s.

Check Out This TikTok by vvictornguyen

@vvictornguyen

Reply to @_iemjie what do you guys want next‼️follow me on insta for some fit pics‼️✨#fyp #fashion

♬ She Make It Clap – Soulja Boy

Puffer Coats

The puffer coat has been around for a while, but it experienced a renaissance in 2021. TikTok embraced the cold-weather coat for its flexibility. As a result, you can pair a neutrally toned puffer with just about anything in your closet and be comfortable. Perhaps that’s why Kanye West decided to make the item the focal point of his Yeezy Gap collection.

Check Out This TikTok by sonnyyyxo

@sonnyyyxo

styling a puffer jacket<3 #fashioninspo #outfitinspo #howto #tiktokfashion #fyp

♬ Classic – MKTO

Pleated Skirts and Tennis Skirts

Y2K fashion was a significant trend on TikTok this year. Styles from the 1990s and early 2000s re-emerged this year, albeit with a more contemporary spin. Pleated skirts and tennis skirts were part of a preppy look first popularized by Clueless in 1995 and later made iconic by Britney Spears. But in 2021, a leather jacket or a hoodie can be worn for an edgier vibe.

Check Out This TikTok by aestheticfashion19

@aestheticfashion19

how to style a tennis skirt!🤍 @ambria19 #tennisskirt #styling #ootd #fashiontok #style #fashion #viral #xyzbca #winterfashion #fyp #foryou #snowstorm

♬ stayin alive x poouussyy talk – Lilli

Cottagecore

It feels like the cottagecore aesthetic came out of nowhere towards the end of 2020. Instead, the trend popped up on feeds on every social media platform seemingly overnight. Cottagecore, influenced by rural and farm lifestyles, has continued to influence fashion in 2021. The style is marked by knit cardigans, lace gowns, and peasant dresses. 

Check Out This TikTok by labelswithlattes

@labelswithlattes

Obsessed with this aesthetic🍄 #cottagecore #cottagecorestyle #getthelook #letmestyleyou #tiktokfashion #fashioninspo #styleideas #winterfits

♬ Buttercup – Jullian & Sophie Wood

Bucket Hats

The bucket hat was another sign of the influence of Y2K fashion in 2021. Bucket hats were staples of hip-hop fashion during the 1990s. Since then, they have fallen in and out of favor with fashion lovers. This year, they’ve cycled back with the #PradaBucketChallenge garnering more than 1.6 billion views on TikTok.

Check Out This TikTok by saviragunawan

@saviragunawan

Look 1/2/3 ? 🖤🔥 What NEXT? 💖 Bucket hat from @tokopedia , link no 38 #fyp #TokopediaHaul #howtostyle #tiktokindonesia #fypシ #style #ideas

♬ Simple Dimple – ||all american tick tokers||

Oversized Hoodies and Sweatshirts

The oversized look has long been a favorite for Gen Zers, and this year was no exception. Hoodies and sweatshirts are especially loved for their functionality and comfort. You can wear graphic patterns or block neutral tones and style an oversized sweatshirt in dozens of ways. The simplicity of hoodies and sweatshirts makes them necessary for any fashion rotation.

Check Out This TikTok by zalando

@zalando

this until the sun decides to come out again 🥲 @kieu4nh_ #oversizedhoodie

♬ original sound – Zalando

Shaped Purses

Unique purses were must-have accessories in 2021. TikTokers livened up their outfits with whimsical purses and clutches. The fun accessories frequently trended on the app, from DIY basketball purses to Kate Spade’s popular heart-shaped crossbody bag.

Check Out This TikTok by shawnicolee

@shawnicolee

Wanted a basketball purse!!! So I made it! #diy #sewersoftiktok #diyproject #nomoreparties #tranformatiochallenge

♬ No More Parties – Coi Leray

For more information on careers in fashion, check out our Fashion Careers hub to explore opportunities in the industry.

The Rise of the Streetwear Creative Director

Streetwear has challenged the status quo of high fashion. No longer are streetwear brands knocking off the latest high fashion trends or riffing on popular themes. Instead, it’s the other way around, with accessible, streetwear-friendly labels now tapping into the imaginations of some of the most lucrative luxury houses of the world. Creative Directors for luxury brands are starting to ask streetwear designers to help them design their collections. Here’s a breakdown of why fashion houses hire our beloved streetwear designers — the next biggest wave for luxury fashion. 

Not a month goes by without a new collaboration between luxury houses and sports giants. The explosion of streetwear collaborations has significantly affected the luxury industry.

From the Streets to the Masses

When Karl Lagerfeld showcased a Hip Hop-inspired collection in Fall/Winter 1991, and Tommy Hilfiger showcased baggy clothes and big logos in Spring/Summer 1997, streetwear was deemed a spectacle and referenced as “hip hop” or “urban clothing.” The transformation of urban fashion into a mainstream commodity happened quickly, thanks partly to the rise of hip-hop culture. Music artists like Grand Puba adopted bold colors and extravagant jewelry into attire and mentioned Tommy Hilfiger in the single with Mary J Blige, titled “What’s the 411”. Then, in 1996, Tommy Hilfiger featured Aaliyah in her most iconic look for a campaign. He was the first designer to really push urban fashion on a mainstream level. Other designers began to follow suit.

Since then, the relationship between streetwear and high fashion has become more cyclical. Sportswear and luxury first collided in 1998 when Jil Sander collaborated with adidas, and high fashion made their first steps into the world of sneakers. After that, streetwear seemed on its way to becoming the next big thing. But then mainstream fashion had its resurgence (thanks to athleisure), and streetwear started to get swallowed up by the cycles of trends in runway style. 

A New Era of Luxury

As streetwear grew into a fashion phenomenon in the mid-aughts and beyond, so did its presence in luxury fashion. The trend was well underway before Kanye West collaborated with Louis Vuitton on an exclusive sneaker collection in 2009. But after that, fashion houses began incorporating more collaborations. The creation of high street brands like HBA, Pyrex Vision, OFF-WHITE, Heron Preston, and Vetements started making a dent in runway fashion.

Present-day, luxury companies are determined to benefit from the favorable surge towards Nike and adidas. Not a month goes by without a new collaboration between luxury houses and sports giants. The explosion of streetwear collaborations has significantly affected the luxury industry. As more brands launch joint collections with leading sportswear brands, the line between high fashion and streetwear continues to blur. 

Milestone success caused by Louis Vuitton has proven the growing market of millennials and Gen Z who want to purchase luxury goods. In 2019, a study from Statista reported that 67% of Gen Z respondents had purchased luxury items from collaborations. In 2017, Louis Vuitton embraced the streetwear movement with its collaborative capsule collection with Supreme. This collaboration was responsible for 23% of LMVH’s total income for the first half of 2017 — almost 23 billion dollars in revenue.

In addition, in the past five years, the popularity of streetwear designers being hired as creative directors has been growing. With the recent announcement of Streetwear Essentials course contributor and founder of RHUDE, Rhugi Villasenor, as the newest creative director for Bally, we can expect more similar promotions in the near future.

Virgil Was Here

In 2018, Louis Vuitton appointed Virgil Abloh as the first black artistic director for the luxury house, creating a ripple effect for fashion houses and brands. Abloh’s appointment as artistic director at Louis Vuitton brought him into the rarefied company of top designers like Marc Jacobs and Nicolas Ghesquière. Before Virgil Abloh founded his label Off-White, Abloh built his streetwear credentials under Pyrex Vision and worked for Kanye West. Abloh met the luxury house with elevated streetwear touches and navigated representation and storytelling into new heights collection-after-collection because of his background and experience.

Virgil was the blueprint for these houses and brands to trust the keys for more streetwear designers and creatives to take point — a legacy to always be remembered. 

With more celebrities becoming more than ambassadors but key stakeholders in brand positioning, look, partnerships, and messaging, the rise of brands adopting celebrities as creative directors have deemed creative directors the new influencer. A brand’s increased awareness grows as it spreads and reaches astronomically. Virgil expanded Louis Vuittons’ audience outside of just celebrities or the wealthy and democratized it across his faithful friends and followers in streetwear, high fashion, design, music, art, etc. And while Abloh may seem like an outlier, he’s not alone on the list. Virgil was the blueprint for these houses and brands to trust the keys for more streetwear designers and creatives to take point — a legacy to always be remembered. 

Taking The Main Stage

It’s undeniable that placing major influencers into these roles generate clicks, mentions, and searches that move beyond just the product announcement. As streetwear becomes more mainstream and trickles up to the main stage, luxury brands and bigger fashion companies recognize they need to partner and hire someone authentic to steer their brand. 

It’s not enough now for a fashion designer to design good clothes. There’s a need for them to have a deeper level of communication with their audience. – Nigo

Nigo, who evolved his streetwear brand A Bathing Ape (BAPE) into a full-fledged international lifestyle brand, was widely regarded as one of the first creative directors in the streetwear industry. Through BAPE and his Bapestas, he established the beginnings of what came to be Japanese streetwear and was responsible for the “hype” movement. Respected by all, his major association and long-time supporter with Pharrell led to the Billionaire Boys Club, and Human Made brands. After collaborations with Louis Vuitton throughout his career, he was appointed creative director of Kenzo in 2021.

Japanese culture had influenced the urban fashion scene for years, but Nigo’s appointment was a watershed moment. “It’s not enough now for a fashion designer to design good clothes. There’s a need for them to have a deeper level of communication with their audience,” Nigo shares with Vogue in the wake of his first collection as artistic director of Kenzo.

Authenticity & Cultural Significance

A fashion brand’s cultural significance helps people feel closer to the collections or campaigns they release. As consumer psychology shifts, social media plays a large role in a fashion brand’s and organization’s strategy — how much power does social media have on the rise of celebrity creative directors in streetwear?

The fashion industry, especially high-end designers, has always had a celebrity following. But the emergence of social media and how people consume content in this digital era has changed some consumers’ perspectives on who they look up to as creative directors. As a result, consumers are tuning into representatives of a group and social media personalities more than traditional celebrities.

Rhuigi Villasenor is one of the latest streetwear designers, and a rising star tapped to take over as creative director for a luxury brand. Bally, a Swiss luxury house, recently announced him as its next artistic leader, making him the second Asian creative director (aside from Nigo) for a European luxury Maison. Upon the announcement, social media engagement for Bally rose to 5,000%. Villasenor is the founder and CEO of Rhude, has been recognized by Forbes’ infamous 30 under 30 lists, and is an international man of luxury. 

Social networks and new media allow us to be constantly clued into the stars we obsess over; we no longer want to buy things just because a celebrity appeared in a 15-second commercial. Instead, we want to purchase something we feel is an authentic expression of culture, interests, and taste.

By appointing creative directors with a streetwear background, fashion houses stamp streetwear’s cultural significance. With a for us by our attitude, Rhuigi says it best on why fashion houses are hiring streetwear designers, “When a brand like Bally hires a Villasenor. . . they aren’t trying to catch up to the legacy of Bape or the heat of Palace. They’re linking up with designers who have created an entire subculture around getting dressed.” 

Learn the first steps in becoming a creative director or related streetwear careers by downloading The Ultimate Streetwear Career Guide.