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Fresh Off The Runway: The 2021 Fashion Trends You Need In Your Closet Now

These spring/summer 2021 trends are the definition of fresh.

Style

If it feels like you've been living under a rock these past 15 months, you're not alone. While the world has been in an uproar, staying up-to-date with the latest fashion trends may not be high on the list of priorities. The sudden shift within the fashion industry early into the pandemic left many designer brands on life support. With all of the major setbacks due to a sluggish economy and overall uncertainty, many designers decided to push through fashion fatigue, continuing to encourage major style moments, bringing a pulse back to this season's runway.


These collections, created during the worldwide stay-at-home orders, gives us a sense of each designer's creative imaginations running wild with chic possibilities, setting the bar high with iconic trends for spring/summer 2021. Many of the season's independent and designer brand collections from names such as Hanifa, Versace, Christopher John Roberts, etc. are giving exciting silhouettes along with mixed patterns, one-of-a-kind prints, vibrant colors, features of nature and drama as fashion is finally seeing a playful resurgence.

Picking up where we left off last spring, here are the top runway trends you'll want to implement into your wardrobe this summer season.

Asymmetrical

Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

A favorite throwback 90's trend, the ultra sleek asymmetrical design detail is tailor made for the chic minimalist. Complementing the body's natural shape, this particular cut immediately elevates everyday staples to a timeless silhouette with a dose of edginess. From one shoulder necklines to unbalanced hems, this trend is one to buy into this summer.

Backless

Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Bronx & Banco

A bare back is one of the latest trends turning heads this season. While we've been hibernating indoors with oversized knits for the past year, skin is finally having its breakthrough moment in 2021! With its chic approach to long sleeve knits, this trend gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "business in the front, party in the back."

The Blue Hue

Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli/WireImage

Color is a priority this summer. One of the most stand-out colors this season, blue is making an appearance on almost every runway this season. Mixed and matched with designer details paired with complimentary colors, there are so many ways to experience its many shades.

Peek-a-Boo

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

As we become more adventurous with our style, post-COVID lockdowns, exposed skin is making yet another attempt at mainstream fashion. While leaving plenty to the imagination, a little bit of skin goes a long way. Sheer styles are a chic addition to any look.

Sheer Enough

Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Flying Solo

For a sexy night out, slinky sheer fabrics are super chic when in the mood to feel absolutely fabulous. From bodycon to oversized fits, this trend was made for the bold. My favorite sheer look this season is the gray trouser by Acne Studios. The long tailored pants are the perfect silhouette for a sleek ensemble effortlessly transitioned from day to night.

Under the Sea

Handout/Versace Press Office via Getty Images

The most exciting ready to wear summer trend, 'escapism' was a major theme on this year's runways. My favorite demonstration of nature in design, Versace had the best whimsical flair bringing to life the ultimate under the sea fantasy with literal starfish prints and mermaid styles. While many of us have been looking forward to our perfect beach getaway, it's no wonder designers are making our island fantasies come true. With beachy nets and shell accessories, I'm most excited to see this trend in action.

Applying Texture

Estrop/Getty Images

There is a new era in fashion and we're beginning to have fun with our wardrobes again. This season is all about texture. In addition to the summer trends, this season almost every designer has implemented drama and texture with a 3D element tempting one to look as well as touch.

Heavy on the Prints

Mike Coppola/Getty Images For NYFW: The Shows

This year's uniform are the iconic neon floral prints of designers such as Christopher John Roberts and the lucid geometric designs of Mugler. For a major mood boost, bold retro patterns and mixed prints are a feel-good goal this summer. As this pandemic comes to an end, it's exciting to get back to fashion.

Featured image by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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