10 Biggest Trends of 2020

12 December 2020

Though We’re All Glad 2020’s Over, Let’s Look Back at Some of the Biggest Trends It Had to Offer.

2020 has been like the curveball that no one could get a handle on. Trend forecasters were ducking and diving the out of control ever changing direction of global trends, public opinion, and the actual chaos on the ground. Compiling this list of what could be considered just 10 global trends of 2020 was a difficult task.

We were all completely united as Covid-19 brought us to our knees, but at the same time very divided by so many other strong beliefs.

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Feel like reminiscing each 2020 trend with visuals? Here’s the video version of this article.

With that in place, let’s get back into the article.


To Mask or Not to Mask

No fashion gurus could have predicted that the 3 layer face mask would have been the most “must-have” item of 2020. Overnight clothing factories that previously manufactured high-street couture were transformed into face mask manufacturing facilities, ready to send millions of masks to every corner of the planet.

The global million mask challenge was taken up by anyone with a sewing machine at home to provide free face masks to those who couldn’t afford one or needed them when there was an initial global shortage for frontline workers.

Once we all got over the fact that Covid was happening and we were suddenly in the market for masks, new debates began. Those who agreed that masks can combat the spread of the virus, and those that well…didn’t. It became a form of protest to not wear a mask. Whatever side of the mask debate you were on, it was a hot topic, just like this year’s most worn garment!


Karen Shaming

2020 was the year that poor Karen finally got her comeuppance, and took everyone with the name Karen down with her. Wikipedia explains it pretty well with this explanation: Karen is a pejorative term for someone as entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is appropriate or necessary. The meme evolved to depict white women who use her privilege to demand her own way at the expense of others.

It was about time we called out people who call the cops unnecessarily and cause a ruckus at the food hall if the pickle was left off their son’s hamburger. But it wasn’t great the way it caused some innocent Karen’s to be typecast for being a bit too Dudley doo gooder. We just hope it doesn’t prevent everyone from stepping in when someone legitimately needs a stranger to help.


Green Pressure

2020 presented real public pressure on brands to Go green or go home! The public wanted more than “new and improved” claims that didn’t have real effect. Super sleuths of the internet uncovered all the dirty secrets that corporates were hiding and tried to hold them accountable for the mess they made.

The knock on effects of the pressure has been a mainstreaming of alternative plastics and adopting sustainable practices and a vocal online audience that will keep companies accountable if it turns out to just be lip service.

Speaking of going green, check out Greenest Cities in the World | Top 10


Cancel Culture

Cancel culture went up a frenzied notch in 2020. It has always been borderline witch hunting so it can be dangerous territory when the mob gets started.

In case you haven’t witnessed cancel culture; it’s ostracism in the modern sense often including online and social media coverage that kicks a person out of their social or professional circle very unceremoniously. To be cancelled pretty much means you’re looking for a new job, friends and social media account name.

Some of the most famous cancels were Glee’s Lea Michele and Ellen for bad workplace culture, then Jimmy Fallon for a blackface sketch he did in 2000, and JK Rowling made transphobic comments.

Doja Cat and Lana Del Rey were called out for racial slurs, which earned Lana the trending hashtag  #lanadelreycist. Least surprising of all is that Shane Dawson was cancelled for being a jerk and a creep. And if Jana Pinkett-Smith says you’re a creep, then you’re a first class creep cos she’s royalty!


Antifa vs Neonazi

Facism and Neo-nazi groups have been on a slow rise in the past 10 years, but 2020 was like their Arab spring which saw radical and sudden protests on the streets. The movement began in the US after rising awareness of the unfair treatment of people of colour and police brutality towards them.

Radical political views became a watershed that split the US and the world ahead of the October elections between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

What started out about systemic racism turned into a battle in the streets on anything from gun rights to mask wearing, and whether or not Covid-19 was a conspiracy. Those opposing the Fascism right were labelled Antifa short for Anti-fascists. They often organised themselves in nightly protest marches usually dressed in all black, often carrying weapons.


Puzzles and Bread

On the complete other end of the scale to those taking to the streets to protest, were those spending lock down in their homes baking and building puzzles. Bread baking became one of the largest pasttimes to stave of boredom, and insatiable stay-home hunger.  Everyone had a picture of a baked bread to share on social media from March into mid-May.

When the bread coma finally wore off we realised we had dancing to shake off the pounds. More on that later.


Alternative Meats

2020 was the year of plenty in the alternatives meat arena. And with rumours swirling that Covid-19 came from a variety of animals, many opted out of real meat as the options got tastier. Previously vegans had little more than Soya and Tofu to choose from in their “meat free alternatives freezer” but now the aisles are lined with alternatives.

Seitan, a product of wheat gluten, offers the density of meat and a great source of protein in one. Fermented beans, Tempeh, was roasted, toasted, fried and dried to create all sorts of new products that are entirely vegan friendly. Jackfruit, the smelly banned fruit in Thailand hotels has become the poster child of alternative meats for its versatility and texture.


Global Burnout

In 2020 there was no denying how right Pascal Chabot was with the opinion he proposed in his book in 2013 and adapted documentary Burning Out. We witnessed first-hand how burnout was more of a disease of civilization rather than an individual problem.

As we heap on more and more remedies for the pressures of modern life it’s hard to know what came first, our need for this type of help or brand’s wily nature to rush in and provide solutions at a premium. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg scenario with regards to the healing, but there is no more denying the exhaustion we are collectively feeling.


Tiktok Everything

2019 might have been when TikTok went global, but 2020 was the year TikTok went mainstream. The dance challenge platform was everywhere. No grandma could shuffle to the bathroom without becoming a viral TikTok sensation to the soundtrack of Siren Song or Savage Love or whatever we’re calling Jawsh 685’s track <side burn Jason Derula>.

Tik Tok was banned in India in June, then Pakistan in October, and Trump banned it from 12 November from a previous executive order he signed in August, which was overthrown before it came into effect. The bans all stem from countries political relationships with China where it originated, and plus, politicians are just irritated with how much time their teenage daughters spend on the app.


Zoom Work/Workouts and Working It!

Before 2020 only a few paranoid corporate types knew about Zoom. By March 2020 we used it more in a day than Google. The overnight success was actually 9 years in the making as their CEO Eric Yuan had plugged away at the paperwork for going public and creating a platform that offers what rivals haven’t been able to deliver in terms of reliability and access.

Thanks to their efforts many were able to stay in touch, be taught, stay fit and have a life-line during lockdown when life got really lonely.



What trend affected you the most in 2020?

What are your trend predictions for 2021?