Fashion Optimism: Joyful Pieces To Boost Your Wardrobe (& Your Mood)

Designed by Meg O'Donnell
Fashion reflects the zeitgeist in one of two ways: it holds up a mirror to society or it rails against the status quo, providing an antidote to the current state of things. From the divisive political landscape to our growing awareness of the climate crisis, it's fair to say that things haven't been so peachy of late. There was no way designers could have known of the looming coronavirus pandemic when they were designing their SS20 collections, yet catwalks from London to Milan defied the doom and gloom with serotonin-boosting brights and mood-lifting motifs.
From smileys to stars, hearts and rainbows, whimsical prints took hold this season but were far from childlike or saccharine. Cheery symbols were embraced by everyone, from Loewe’s playful cartoon dodo handbag to Fendi’s mega graphic flower prints. At Marc Jacobs’ elated show, models in canary yellow suits, giant red hats and daisy-print dresses strutted en masse to a jazzy soundtrack that had showgoers tapping their feet. A celebration of individuality, the collection put the fun back in fashion, kickstarting the season with a bang. 
"With a kaleidoscopic palette and myriad sparkles, it’s no surprise that the runway mood was positively ecstatic," explained Natalie Kingham, fashion buying director at Matches Fashion, at the retailer's SS20 trends presentation. Colour therapy was seen across catwalks, too, with joyful hues like buttercup yellow and pillar-box red laughing in the face of the staid and serious minimalism of the last few years. "Always an advocate of uplifting designs, Molly Goddard made her voluminous tulle more egalitarian this season, with wearable slim shapes in an irresistible, smile-inducing palette," Kingham said. Meanwhile, Paco Rabanne’s rainbow-striped turtleneck emerged as the happiest piece of the season. 

A slew of smaller labels have been advocating a more positive outlook for some time. Lazy Oaf’s kitsch cartoons and playful slogans have garnered a cult following since the brand's founding in 2001, while US-based Kina & Tam is loved for its Animal Crossing meets Sylvanian Families aesthetic. Jewellery label Wilhelmina Garcia is the latest brand to take over our feeds with its cute motifs, with signet rings featuring shamrocks, daisies and butterflies reminiscent of our school disco accessories. 

"Fashion really is a much more fun, friendly and inclusive place right now," says Zeena Shah, our favourite positivity advocate whose Instagram brightens up our feed on a daily basis. "You can feel the positivity in the air. With everything that is going on in the world, from politics to the climate crisis, it feels like a very dark place, and one way to combat that is to bring some positivity into our daily lives. Kindness, love and positivity are words to live by for 2020, and they’re shining through our fashion choices and on the catwalk." 

Ahead, we’ve rounded up our favourite mood-boosting fashion finds, from rainbow-hued tees to kitsch collectible jewellery. Inject some joy into your wardrobe (and life) with these playful picks.

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