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Top 3 Trends For 2021 Back-to-School Fashion

Top 3 Trends For 2021 Back-to-School Fashion

Moms and dads want to know they nailed it when it comes to backtoschool shopping. In fact – most think they doAccording to a new nationwide survey conducted by OnePoll for Zulily, 84% of parents say their kids love the clothes they pick out for them. But still – parents are soliciting input. Nearly all parents surveyed (99%) say it’s at least somewhat important to involve their kids in purchasing decisions when it comes to backtoschool shopping.

On the heels of a year that was anything but normal, when it came not only to school schedules but school styles, we wanted to talk to kids directly to see what they are getting excited about when it comes to backtoschool shopping.

We surveyed 1,000 kids across the country and learned that kids are ready to shed their stayathome sweats in favor of something bolder. Here’s a glimpse at some of the trends in our 2021 BacktoSchool Fashion Forecast – a trend report informed by kids, for kids.

Our new Back-to-School Shop features millions of unique outfit combinations for kids available to mix and match, and express their individuality like never before. Complete with must-have brands like adidas, Crayola and S’well, plus backpacks, notebooks and desk organizers to help kids set themselves up for a successful year ahead.

Trend 1:

Movers and shakers

Kids are using style to help them feel their best, and as a means to channel confidence and boost performance at school. It’s not just about what looks good, but what allows them to feel, do and be their best selves.!

  • 92% 92%
  • 90% 90%

Ninety-two percent (92%) of kids agree that it is important for them to define their unique personal style.

Almost as many (90%) also say that being able to express their personal style helps them feel more productive at school.

What’s more – when it comes to how wearing new clothes makes kids feel, happy (79%), confident (57%) and strong (41%) are the top three moods that kids expressed feeling.

Back to School Outfits on a clothing rack

Trend 2:

Glue Guns and Glitter Bombs

Because of the pandemic, kids were living, learning and doing all things from home, holing up in sweats that made them feel comfortable and likely – comforted. As they prepare to get back to their routines with teachers, friends and after-school activities, all are poised to change drastically. Kids are ready to shed their leisurely layers and get creative when it comes to their clothing.

  • 90% 90%
  • 70% 70%
  • 87% 87%
  • 86% 86%

Ninety percent (90%) of kids say the clothes they wear represent their personality and individuality.

Seventy percent (70%) of kids say they add personal touches to articles of clothing that they purchase to make them feel more like themselves.

Eighty-seven percent (87%) of kids say that if their school offered an art class to dye, sew or customize their own clothes, they would be excited to take it.

Eighty-six percent (86%) of kids would want to design their own clothing if someone else could make it for them.


For kids who are feeling extra inspired this year, Zulily is launching a contest that will give six kids a chance to design their very own clothing collection – plus funds to put toward their education. Zulily’s new Back-to-School, #UniquelyZu Contest will provide six kids a chance to be the trend setting inspiration for an exclusive capsule collection.

Open now through July 31, 2021, the contest calls on parents across the country to submit an Instagram post on behalf of their kids ages 5 – 14, reflecting their child’s unique sense of design and fashion. Six inspiring designs will be chosen to win a $6,000 back-to-school prize package and a bonus opportunity for the winning parents and children to participate in a design session with Zulily, providing creative inspiration for an exclusive Zulily capsule collection to be launched in 2022 that will range from swimwear to back-to-school styles. For details on the contest, how to enter, and full terms and conditions, visit us here.

Trend 3:

Retro & Reimagined

This is not a drill. Retro styles are back (hello mom jeans!) and kids are turning to Mom and Dad for inspiration.

  • 84% 84%
  • 64% 64%
  • 59% 59%

Eighty-four percent (84%) of kids have seen characters from an older movie or TV show and thought they looked cool.

Sixty-four percent (64%) of kids aged 9 – 18 agree that they love retro fashion and it inspires their daily school outfits.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of kids in that same age group say they have raided their parents’ closet for clothing.

To check out more style inspiration, visit Zulily’s Back-to-School Shop through September 15, 2021.


All data included in this report was based on survey conducted by OnePoll for Zulily with a sample of 1,000 U.S. parents and their children (age5 – 18) in June 2021.

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