Birkenstocks one of most purchased fashion items of 2022 | Retail industry

Birkenstocks, trouser suits and seam-free workout sets were three of the most purchased fashion items of 2022. For those looking to tap into trending items, the Boxing Day sales could prove fruitful, with many of the most popular pieces on offer. I Shop Therefore I Am reads the 1987 work […]

Birkenstocks, trouser suits and seam-free workout sets were three of the most purchased fashion items of 2022. For those looking to tap into trending items, the Boxing Day sales could prove fruitful, with many of the most popular pieces on offer.

I Shop Therefore I Am reads the 1987 work of Barbara Kruger. So if we are defined by what we own, what does this say about consumers in 2022?

It appears many wanted to continue to enjoy pandemic discoveries such as comfortable footwear, with the luxury e-tailer Yoox reporting that its best-selling shoe of 2022 was the Boston Clog from Birkenstock.

The German brand, founded in 1774, has seen somewhat of a resurgence over the past two years. The once beloved shoes of healthcare workers are now a favourite among celebrities and influencers, with fans including Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and Sienna Miller.

With prices starting at £90, the online fashion search engine Lyst said searches for the Boston Clog style increased by 593% in the first six months of 2022. This marks the fifth time in two years it has appeared on the Lyst Index. Its taupe suede version was continually sold out, with many appearing for over double the original price on resale platforms.

Meanwhile, both Office and Amazon Fashion Europe reported Crocs as a top seller. At Office, it was the black Crocs with a faux fur lining that performed best. Much like Birkenstock, Crocs were previously popular among hospital and hospitality workers. Founded in 2002, the brand enjoyed renewed interest during the pandemic. They were the second fastest-growing brand in 2022, endorsed by everyone from Stormzy to David Hockney.

Comfort was also trending at Primark, with two loungewear items appearing in its top three products. High sales of the Snuddie – a £16 fleece-lined item Primark describes as “an oversized snuggly hoodie come blanket” – perhaps reflect consumers’ concerns over energy prices. The description also mentions keeping “toasty” and “chills at bay”.

Meanwhile, its seam-free sets, featuring crop tops, shorts and leggings, are very similar to Skims – the hugely sought-after Kardashian-founded brand. Primark prices start from £3.50 for a crop top, compared with £40 at Skims.

Elsewhere, an increased interest in workwear reflects a change in working environments as many returned to the office.

According to property consultancy Remit, the daily average number of employees in England and Wales working from the office hit its highest level since the pandemic in October. In London’s West End, 57% of staff were back at their desks, while numbers were also high in Docklands, home to many financial institutions opposed to employees working from home.

Consumers took a mixed approach to dressing for work, perhaps reflecting a hybrid working situation. Pieces that could be dressed up for office days then styled more casually for working from home or for weekends proved popular. Both M&S and John Lewis reported strong sales across their dress categories.

M&S sold over 400,000 of its tiered dresses ranging from £25 to £45 and available in myriad colourways and prints. With a round neckline and falling mid-calf, on the website it is pictured styled with formal boots, court heels and casual trainers.

John Lewis’ £59 floral printed archive dress was a bestseller in green. It has since been repeated in pink.

Meanwhile, Jigsaw reported strong sales of suiting, with both magenta and velvet two-pieces performing well. A single-breasted black velvet blazer (£278) was in Reiss’ top three selling products.

“Because of the cost of living, people don’t want to spend money on casual pieces. They want investment pieces and things they can wear that make them feel good,” said Jigsaw’s creative director, Jo Sykes.

Its magenta tuxedo suit with satin-trimmed trousers first hit stores in November 2021. That drop sold out in less than four hours. This summer, there was a waiting list of over 1,600 for it to arrive.

Sykes said sales of standout tailoring were up 30% year on year at Jigsaw and were outperforming classic suiting lines: “There’s a whole trend of wearing standout suits from day to night. Customers are also styling the jackets and trousers separately.”

Google has reported that searches for “wide-leg trousers’’ reached their highest recorded level in 2022. This is reflected at M&S, with over 190k sales of its side-striped version. Available in petite, regular and long, spanning sizes 6 to 20 and in a variety of colours including grey and blue, they retail for £39.50.

The bestselling jeans at the luxury e-tailer Net-a-Porter proved to be high-rise with a straight cut leg. Versions from brands including Khaite, Citizens of Humanity and Agolde were in the top five.

Zip-front ankle boots from the Row were top sellers at both Net-a-Porter and Matches Fashion. First appearing on the runway in its autumn/winter ’19 collection, the leather boots with a chunky rubber retail for £1,300 are regularly pictured on street style stars.

At the cheaper end of the scale, a pair of £89.99 cleat-sole Chelsea boots appeared in Office’s top sellers, whilst Clarks said it had sold over 1,000 pairs of its £130 Aprilia Chelsea boots in black in November alone. Its £135 lace up Rixle boots were also popular.

Sneaker-wise, various retailers reported Converse, New Balance and Veja as the bestselling brands.

As for bags, there has been a return to shoulder styles, with both Net-a-Porter and MatchesFashion citing the Loewe Puzzle bag as a top performer. Over at John Lewis, the Longchamp Le Pliage (£95) was a top seller. The retailer credits unboxing videos by Gen Z on TikTok (the hashtag has over 7 million views) for renewing interest in the French heritage brand.

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