To borrow a page from Pantone’s book, “We need to feel that everything is going to get brighter” – but more on that later.

On the heels of a truly harrowing year comes a handful of trends across fields like fashion, travel, wellness that wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for the ongoing pandemic. Sure, we still have more questions than answers, but as the world soldiers on, the pages ahead offer a peek into what 2021 will look like.


Like just about every category in our cover story, 2021’s colour trends were influenced by the tumultuous nature of 2020, with global colour authority Pantone steering the world in a hopeful direction in the months ahead. Colour is a visual language that people process without being consciously aware of it, allowing different hues the power to alter our moods, impact how an item is perceived, and even brand our own identity. They shape a place or support a visual with warmth, coolness, darkness, brightness, similarity, or contrast. Colours add emotions to your objects and, once again, Pantone is setting the emotional tone for the coming months with its colours of the year: Ultimate Grey and Illuminating, which has been described as a “cheerful yellow”.   This is the second time in Pantone’s history that it has broken tradition by presenting us with not one, but two colours. This marriage of hues conveys a message of vigour and optimism that is both enduring and enriching. We think we speak for most of our readers when we say that we couldn’t wait for 2020 to end and, while there’s no guarantee that 2021 will be any brighter, it’s imperative to hold onto hope for a better future. “Practical and rock-solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a colour combination that gives us resilience and hope,” is how Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Colour Institute, explains the union of grey and yellow. 17-5104 Ultimate Grey This subtle grey hue heeds caution as we enter the new year. It was elected for its qualities of fortitude and reliability. It’s strong, sturdy, and neutral – just like the average pebble. It’s not exactly fancy, but it’s also not modest. The colour is usually linked to demise, sadness, and gloom, and this shade of grey isn’t too far off. 2020 was an ongoing series of unexpected events, economic downfall, and a near-collapse of the global healthcare system, and Ultimate Grey reminds us to be grateful for what we have. Simple and a little reminiscent of a clean slate, it can also be characterised as the calm after the storm, emphasising peace and balance – something we’re all seeking in 2021. 13-0647 Illuminating If you’re looking for an easy way to cheer yourself up this year, look no further than the colour yellow. It evokes feelings of joy, positivity, and enthusiasm. If you want a visual representation of those emotions just think back to the Minions, those goofy yellow cylindrical characters that dominate the Despicable Me series. Didn’t just thinking of them put a smile on your face? This is the exact feeling this illuminating yellow aims to evoke – happiness – so keep looking for that ray of sunshine as you incorporate this lively colour into your everyday life, knowing there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. This or That “As society continues to recognise colour as a critical form of communication, and a way to symbolise thoughts and ideas, many designers and brands are embracing the language of colour to engage and connect,” adds Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Colour Institute. There are countless ways to incorporate these trending colours into your life. Add a bright-yellow sweater to your wardrobe, add an industrial-chic accent in shades of grey to your home, or simply change your phone cover. The two colours don’t always have to be used in unison, and one can always be favoured over the other depending on your mood. ✤

Fashion & Beauty

2020 was a year that called for athleisure – and lots of it – alongside DIY beauty treatments, dressing from the waist up, and focusing on eye makeup as lipsticks everywhere sat neglected for obvious reasons.

But between the prevalence of working remotely and seemingly endless days of wearing face masks in our future, don’t expect 2021 to look drastically different when it comes to fashion and beauty. Here’s a peek into what’s ahead. All by Myself A collective cheer was heard across the country when salons reopened, but the likes of DIY waxing and at-home hair colour will continue to prevail across the globe. The reason? People are still cautious about exposing themselves to situations where getting up close and personal is required. That means (even) more views for DIY beauty tutorials on YouTube and TikTok – using socks for soft hair curls is surprisingly effective. And along those same lines, spending more time at home will translate to wearing less makeup, and focusing on skincare instead. Heavy coverage, overcontouring, and permanent eyebrow tattoos will be replaced with lightweight foundation and more natural beauty looks. Easy Does It But first, comfort – there, you’ve just discovered the dress code of 2021. Athleisure will continue to dominate fashion as several parts of the world continue to live in partial or complete lockdowns circa now. But we’re unlikely to spend the months ahead in sweatpants. Instead, a relaxed sensibility will take over, so expect to see the likes of quality loungewear, sweater vests, less structured suits, and wide-leg trousers on the runways and in high-street stores. Our sartorial choices will be more practical, too. No one knows when life will return to normal – if ever – so think classics, wardrobe staples, and seasonless items that you won’t regret later. Him, Her, Them Unsurprisingly, unisex jewellery will continue to gain traction in 2021, as celebrities like Shawn Mendes and Harry Styles prove that restrictive mindsets towards gender are changing. And major fashion labels are keeping up. Bvlgari’s B.Zero1 Rock collection is edgy, cool, and glamorous, while Louis Vuitton’s LV Volt pieces feature sharp lines contrasted by soft, smooth contours in order to offer infinite combinations for seamless mixing and matching. The key to pulling off gender-fluid jewellery? Keep it simple. This is not the time nor place to pile it on, and a slightly industrial finish works best. Nip/Tuck Just like maskne, covidiot, and quaranteam entered our everyday vernacular in 2020, so did ‘Zoom face’ – or an acute awareness of all the little imperfections on our faces that we were previously oblivious to, courtesy of all those video-conference calls. But it wasn’t just women opting for cosmetic procedures like Botox, fillers, neck liposuctions, and tightening facelifts. Men got on the bandwagon, too. Experts predict that the trend will carry over into 2021 as not only will meetings and social celebrations continue to occur virtually, but Zoom face sufferers will also want to exploit the downtime to recover at home without having to disclose what they’ve had done. Opposites Attract “Of course,” is how jaded people responded when Pantone announced grey – Ultimate Grey 17-1504 to be exact – as 2021’s colour of the year. After all, a colour associated with gloom and doom felt like an apt choice after the year we’ve just survived. However, it has paired grey with Illuminating 13-0647, a shade of yellow selected as the two together represent “strength and positivity”. What this means for your wardrobe is that more appearances by these hues as the fashion industry looks to Pantone as the global authority on colour trend forecasting. In fact, some fashion houses are way ahead of the curve. Several shades of grey were spotted on Balmain’s Spring 2021 runway, while Prada’s Spring 2021 collection was set against an allyellow backdrop. ✤


The pandemic has transformed our relationship with food in more ways than one. Who could’ve predicted that we would spend 2020 learning how to cook, stress-baking, and making dalgona coffee instead of running to Starbucks? Let’s also take a second to bid farewell to last year’s bizarre food trends (yes, pancake cereal) and usher in these ones instead.

Get On Board The term “charcuterie board” may not roll right off the tongue, but households around the world have developed a palate for it – and they’re only getting hungrier. Customarily hosting an assortment of meats and cheeses, these boards are getting an upgrade. In 2021, you’ll see everything from breakfast items, chocolates, fruits, and fast food transformed into charcuterie platters as it’s a fun, easy, and easily customisable way to serve a small group of people. Middle Ground Put ‘flexible’ and ‘vegetarian’ together, and you have one of 2021’s most popular diets: flexitarian. The idea behind this way of life is to take a less rigid approach to eating, focusing on plantbased meals, but not giving up animal products entirely. Easy to maintain, a flexitarian diet advocates reducing one’s consumption of meat through global movements like Meatless Monday and adding more plant-based ingredients when cooking. Good for your health, good for the environment. Press Play So it seems cook-along classes are here to stay. While everyone was getting acquainted with their kitchens in quarantine, chefs around the world were getting acquainted with technology. The notion of dining out has changed immensely, and a lot of homebodies now find comfort in recreating their favourite dishes at home – and what better way to do that than with a virtual cooking class? Even fine dining and celebrity chefs are evolving, embracing the likes of Zoom and Instagram in order to connect with foodies on a more personal level. Spice Makes Nice According to annual trend forecast Pinterest Predicts, “bland is banned”. Professional and home chefs are bringing the heat to the kitchen with spiced-up recipes and zesty creations because salt and pepper are just not enough anymore. Last year was full of spicy noodle challenges and the growing popularity of YouTube web series Hot Ones, and it looks like we’re not satiated yet. Adding a sense to adventure to our everyday meals with be the likes of habanero, chipotle, pasilla, and jalapeño – and the Carolina Reaper if you’re truly daring. Can you handle the heat? Veggie Vibes Global lockdowns gave Mother Nature a much-needed breather – carbon emissions plunged, the waters of Venice were clearer than ever, and nitrogen dioxide air pollution dropped in China. But the ongoing climate crisis is not to be ignored in 2021. More people will see the need to think sustainably in their eating habits as a way to bring the planet to its former glory, especially as meat alternatives such as tofu and soy milk become more accessible to the masses. Fast food chains are also jumping on the bandwagon, so expect to dine on the McPlant Burger and Beyond Italian Sausage Pizza in the months ahead. ✤

Interior Design

Being stuck indoors for most of 2020 has made us realise the importance of having a home that is equal parts fashion and function.

Our homes have become our sanctuaries, and it seems this will be case for millions of people in the months ahead, influencing the following interior design trends. Au Naturel Speaking of inserting a slice of nature into your home, 2021 will see the rise of natural elements in furniture as well – rattan and cane pieces have skyrocketed in demand and continue to be the anchor of many brands’ new collections. “Modern whites and shimmering silvers have a become a thing of the past. Now, it’s all about bringing in earthy textures with bio design furniture,” says interior designer Manahil Mirza. Bio design, to put it simply, is furniture made out of living materials such as fungi, algae, or yeast. Furniture or this sort, teak wood end tables and rustic dining tables included, layers beautifully and is only enhanced by the addition of indoor plants. Incorporating wooden elements also fosters a connection with nature whilst promoting sustainability. Change of Scenery A home needs to be able to adapt as the family changes and grows, and new homes will now be designed with this in mind. Making the most out of spaces can be done through non-permanent walls that can be shifted or rooms that can be opened up and shut off as needed. “Not everyone has the space to convert areas into fullblown offices or playrooms in their homes, so most clients want multifunctional spaces as a solution,” adds Manahil. These trends can also be seen in shows like Tiny House Nation through the use of sectionals and carpets, both simple and comfortable ways to divide a space into two without comprising on the look and feel of the room. Other options include adding loft beds or placing a small office desk in the corner. Go Green Those of us who made it through lockdown without a garden have come to appreciate the value of all things green. Outdoor areas are becoming increasingly popular, and people are making sure to make any backyard or balcony into a liveable environment, especially as connecting with nature can help one’s mental health. And if you’re an urban dweller living in small apartment, then there’s always options such as indoor plants, growing your own herbs, and design elements like large windows to connect your home with the outside world. Think Rural The Cottagecore aesthetic – think: doilies, floral prints, and leather-bound books – will continue to gain popularity in 2021. It’s essentially the design trend equivalent of your grandma’s living room. Brought about by nostalgia and a need for comfort, this style pairs printed wallpapers and quaint throw pillows with touches of glamour, like statement gold accessories, to create a lavish living space. Looking for add a touch of cottagecore to your home? Invest in an antique or two, drape your dining table with a patterned tablecloth, and pretend that you’re out foraging with a wicker basket in tow. Work and Play Working from home became the norm in 2020, and it looks like this lifestyle will follow us in 2021. Many companies have already announced permanent remote working situations, and ping-pong tables and second family rooms are now being converted into home offices of sorts. We discussed the proper way to feng shui your workspace in our November issue, so be sure to look to those tips as we enter the new year. Not only will a dedicated workspace promote higher productivity, but it will also allow you to separate your work life from your personal life, making sure one doesn’t overpower the other. ✤


Not-so-breaking news: the travel industry suffered tremendously due to the pandemic so, naturally, most of 2021’s travel trends have been shaped accordingly.

While many of us are still debating how far we’ll go to board a flight – to vaccinate or not to vaccinate? – we say now is the time to keep hope alive and start planning your next adventure. High Time Countless people found themselves frustrated in their attempts to change or cancel their travel plans without incurring fees in 2020, giving rise to a whole new trend for 2021. With uncertainty still very much a part of our everyday lives, hotels and airlines have no choice but to offer a lot more flexibility – something expected to (thankfully) continue in a post-pandemic world. Customerfriendly practices like clear cancellation policies and refundable accommodation will inevitably give travellers the confidence to book last-minute trips, so expect to be more spontaneous in the months ahead. Home Sweet Home Staycations and domestic travel soared in popularity across the globe in 2020 as borders were closed, flights were cancelled, and travel bans were implemented. These restrictions gave us a newfound appreciation for our immediate surroundings, and experts predict the trend will continue into 2021 as international travel will take time to rebound. This ‘think local’ mindset will benefit not only local economies, but also the environment. Sure, the beaches of Bali, Phuket, and the Maldives are postcardperfect, but compare the carbon footprint if you visit your local beach instead. Keep It Quiet When it comes to travelling in 2021, think rural – not urban. Nature tourism will be big in the coming months as most of us will bypass big cities (read: crowds of people) in favour of hiking, camping, stargazing, fishing, and even forest bathing. Cabin rentals will be popular, as will beaches and ski spots in remote areas. People worldwide connected with nature in order to cope with the stresses of 2020, so it’s no surprise that our appreciation for the great outdoors is only set to increase. Safety First Not one day goes by without updates on ‘that’ vaccine, but the one that got frequent flyers talking was a recent move by Qantas – international air travellers will need to prove they’ve been vaccinated against coronavirus in order to board its flights, and other major airlines are expected to follow suit, making vaccine passports a reality in 2021. Travel will become (even) more complicated as a result of new health screenings and safety measures – think: temperature checks and pre-departure Covid-19 testing leading to longer wait times at airports. The upside of all this? More hygienic conditions in hotels, airports, and airplanes. Slow But Sure With travel – like life itself – becoming more complicated, holidaymakers will want their escapades to be more meaningful. This means that we’ll seek travel experiences that entail giving back in some way, be it through doing volunteer work or choosing sustainable accommodation and/or activities. Slow travel will also continue to dominate. Instead of rushing from one destination to another in a desperate scramble to update our bucket lists, we’ll take the time to really connect with the culture, food, music, nature, and people of one. This, again, will translate to longer and fewer trips per year, thereby reducing our carbon footprint. ✤


Yoga, spa visits, spiritual retreats, weight loss – the term ‘wellness’ is a broad one, with different people defining it differently.

But one thing’s certain: as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the globe, our desire – and need – for all wellness tools, techniques, and practices is higher than ever before. Hence the following trends. Back to Basics Life may have gotten more complicated thanks to a little thing called coronavirus, but wellness is headed in a refreshingly simple direction. In 2021, we’ll continue to find joys in the simple things like baking, bubble baths, and DIY skincare – just about anything that can be executed at home. More of us will also do less. That means bootcamp sessions will be replaced with yin yoga sessions, flexitarian diets will overtake restrictive diets, and we’ll turn our homes into our wellness sanctuaries as opposed to shelling out for pricey vacations and retreats. Long story short, wellness won’t feel as elitist as it did before. Digital Detox The pandemic practically wiped out any hope for work-life balance, with many reporting that they were not only working longer hours at home, but also attending more (virtual) meetings and logging in at odd hours. Pair that with extended periods in the company of Netflix – yes, I’m still watching – out of sheer boredom, and we collectively suffered from dry eyes, prematurely ageing skin, headaches, and insomnia. The year ahead, however, will see us be more savvy about screen fatigue, setting healthy boundaries with technology in order to reduce screen time. But you don’t have to go in search of fancy wellness retreats that enforce tech detox days. Start small by turning your cell phone off at the dinner table and ask your family to do the same. Small Picture Gone are the days when all we tracked was our steps. In 2021 and beyond, we’ll be micro-tracking, keeping a closer eye on things like pulse oximetry, heart rate variability, skin temperature, glucose monitoring, body composition, and more as technology in this area advances. It’s no surprise that the latest generation of wearables will track stress and anxiety levels. Case in point? The Apple Watch Series 6. Not only does this nifty timepiece monitor your blood oxygen level, but with the help of the ECG app, it’s capable of generating an ECG similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram. Cove, meanwhile, is a neckband that activates the part of your brain that regulates anxiety by using gentle vibrations behind the ears to trigger your body’s response to affective touch. What will they think of next? Mind Over Matter Talking about mental health is no longer taboo as a result of the pandemic – high time, too. In fact, it now ranks high on our list of priorities as people worldwide have tackled stress and anxiety caused by unemployment, financial issues, loneliness, and ailing loved ones. As a result, awareness around practices such as meditation and journaling will rise, support groups and mindfulness apps will gain popularity, and turning to therapy will become the norm. And speaking of which: expect an upward trend in the likes of virtual therapy as the pandemic has proved that you no longer need to lie on a couch in a therapist’s office to seek help. The Great Outdoors Whether due to government-imposed lockdowns or just plain caution, we spent most of 2020 indoors, giving us a greater appreciation of the great outdoors. Fitness enthusiasts turned to al fresco sweat sessions, many skipping online exercise classes in favour of cycling, walking, running, and even stretching outside. And because necessity is not the mother of invention, gyms and other fitness studios will continue to offer socially distanced activities like yoga sessions on the beach or HIIT workouts in the park in 2021, thereby expanding their operations and keeping their clients safe in the open air. Win-win. ✤