Designer Phoebe English and Personal Stylists at Stitch Fix Predict the Future of Workwear
British designer Phoebe English and personal styling service Stitch Fix are collaborating on a capsule collection that visualises what we will be wearing to work after the pandemic. Taking cues from a more flexible WFH lifestyle, the future of workwear will prioritise comfort above all else, and our "new normal" wardrobes will include loungewear staples with a smart, office-appropriate redesign. "There has been much conversation about a longing for occasions to dress up and enjoy fashion again," Phoebe English told POPSUGAR. "But, when it comes to workwear, I knew that the shift to working from home would mean comfort would remain a priority even when we return to some level of normality, and that our designs would ultimately need to reflect this."
"Over the past year, we have been responding to our new, more internal existences by changing up the shape, fit, and fabric choices of our garments to prioritise comfort, ease, and fluidity."
Emerging designer Phoebe English is known for her relaxed tailoring and use of sustainable materials, ever since graduating from the same Central Saint Martins 2010 class as Simone Rocha. English is a leading voice in the UK fashion industry's sustainability conversation due to using recycled fabric waste in her collections, and encouraging sustainable solutions among designers and students in her WhatsApp group "Fashion on Earth." Alongside her campaigning for a circular fashion industry, English co-founded the Emergency Designer Network with fellow designers Bethany Williams, Holly Fulton, and Cozette McCreery. During the 2020 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Emergency Designer Network reached out to London's fashion community and organised the creation of 50,000 surgical gowns and 10,000 sets of scrubs for British health workers – the initiative won the organisation a 2020 British Fashion Award.
Phoebe English's collaboration with Stitch Fix combines her expertise in sustainable and gender-neutral designs with the personal styling platform's expert human stylists, algorithms, and data-driven insights to imagine the future of workwear. "Over the past year, we have been responding to our new, more internal existences by changing up the shape, fit, and fabric choices of our garments to prioritise comfort, ease, and fluidity," said English. "These insights coupled with the detailed research conducted by Stitch Fix provided me with a really comprehensive overview of how the UK has been dressing, alongside their predictions and preferences for what they want from post-pandemic workwear."
"With this solid foundation in place, I was able to begin the creative process of designing and visualising exactly what that outfit looks like, thinking carefully not just about the structure and fit of the items, but the colours, patterns, and fabric choices, too. We opted for a primary colour of blue, for example, because the research highlighted this is the colour we've worn most over the last 12 months; an elasticated waistband was incorporated because of the new found priority for comfort. The decision to add a hood to the jacket was inspired by the research identifying 33 percent of [1,500] people most frequently opted for a hooded garment throughout the lockdown period. It's been a very considered process and one I've really enjoyed immersing myself."
Phoebe English x Stitch Fix includes an unstructured, deep blue dressing-gown-style coat and a hooded shacket (portmanteau for shirt and jacket), to be paired with relaxed trousers that feature an elastic waistband for comfort. Keep reading for a closer look at the designs.