2021's Top Trends: A Year of Joy and Self-Expression
As we entered 2021, we saw our customers respond to our diverse category offering and expanded product assortment. We widened the aperture to bring in more active, athleisure and outdoor lifestyle apparel to fit every lifestyle. At the same time, we saw a return to occasion dressing, from work to wedding and beyond. This is certainly a testament to how customers have adapted to the uniqueness of this past year—merging casualwear with those special statement pieces to bring newness and excitement to our wardrobes.
We rounded up a few of the year's top trends and launches as we look back on 2021.
Coming out of the last two years of comfort and loungewear, we were excited to bring back the joy and excitement of dressing up. Our customers added joyful and novelty pieces to pair with casualwear—playing with a styling juxtaposition of comfort and glamour. We saw customers looking for extensions of self-expression with pieces that are expressive, unique and evoke emotion. This often translated to bolder colors, detailing and statement pieces. We saw a quick bounce-back of high heels, and our customers doubled their searches for heels in 2021. Similarly, our customers returned to tailored pieces, including suiting for men and women.
Final Touches with Fine Jewelry
Building on the return to joy and self-expression, fine jewelry became even more important to our customers. We saw Fine Jewelry-related searches increase 2.3 times from 2020. To meet our customers' expectations and offer more brands, we expanded our Fine Jewelry offering, with 14 new-to-Nordstrom brands, as well as a new site interface to deliver the best shopping experience on Nordstrom.com. Bold and colorful statement pieces made great wardrobe additions, from brands like Eera and SHAY, who deliver those bold and colorful statement pieces.
This year, customers shopped with versatility in mind and blended luxury with comfort. Their purchases, whether active, contemporary, or causal, needed to be able to transition throughout their day and make them look great and feel their best. We see our customers blending luxury with comfort. Even as we've seen more than a 1.5x increase from 2020 in sequin, sparkle and glitter-related searches, these details go beyond festive events as customers are adding statement pieces to their wardrobes. These statement pieces are no longer just for special occasions, and our customer incorporates these trends (like a sequin top) into special event outfitting along with everyday looks.
Along with a return to fashion and novelty, activewear continues to resonate with customers. Throughout the pandemic, we heard loud and clear from our customers that activewear, athleisure and performance athletic gear is a highly sought-after category. Some exciting brands that we launched this year include Halle Berry x Sweaty Betty, EleVen by Venus Williams,tentree, and Outdoor Voices. Some exciting brands that we launched this year include Halle Berry x Sweaty Betty, EleVen by Venus Williams, tentree, and Outdoor Voices. The active skort also made a comeback.
Beyond what they wear, our customers looked for inspired workouts that elevate their wellness goals. So, we took our active ambitions to the next level by partnering with Tonal in 40 Nordstrom locations, where customers can try the full Tonal experience firsthand.
Shopping with Their Values: Inclusive and Diverse Products
Amplifying diverse voices and brands has long been a part of our culture which is why this year we committed to the Fifteen Percent Pledge—introducing a new commitment to growing our purchases from businesses owned or founded by Black individuals by 10x by the end of 2030. This year we added nearly 150 Black and Latinx-owned brands across all categories.
We continue to work toward our goal to deliver $500M in retail sales from brands owned, operated or designed by Black or Latinx individuals by 2025. This year, we launched our Inclusive Beauty category, adding 12 new Black-founded beauty brands including UOMA.
Representing the communities and cultures we serve is important to us, which is why we've partnered with brands that focus on inclusivity. Some of our most notable brand partnerships include:
- Henna & Hijabs: an exclusive collection of hijabs created for the modern Muslim woman
- BP + Wildfang: a collection that pushed boundaries and gender norms
- Phluid Project: a gender-free fashion brand and is known for breaking the binary
- Nordstrom by Cristina Martinez: a collection designed by a contemporary artist whose work is rooted in telling the stories of Black and Brown people.
Sustainability Stays Top of Mind
We continue to grow Sustainable Style —a shoppable category to help customers find products that are responsibly manufactured, made with sustainably sourced materials and part of a give-back program. We've seen searches for sustainable products double this year, and we're excited to grow this category. This year, we launched new and exciting brands with products that qualify for Sustainable Style, including tentree:
- tentree, who plants 10 trees for every item purchased to 50,000 native trees to protect local ecosystems and offset carbon emissions--for every item purchased, tentree plants 10 trees.
- Goodfair: which sells vintage, was built on the mission to change the way consumers think about "buying new" through a sustainable, digital-first approach to thrift.
We are excited to provide our customers product assortment that fits every lifestyle as we look ahead and continue to expand on our brand partnerships and diverse category offering.