Trends & The Fashion Cycle – Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Trends, trends, trends! They are everywhere, now more than ever. They go as quickly as they came. But this is not how it used to be.

Historically trend cycles would resurge roughly every 20 years but be modernised with the current aesthetic. Notably the 90’s re-birthed Mod glasses from the 60’s to pencil skirts. Though originally from the 50’s, they largely worn during the first half of the 1960’s.

Fashion & Trend Cycle Stages

Fast forward to now and the fashion cycle that once was, is rapidly dying. Fashion cycle is the life span of a fashion and breaks down into 5 stages.

1. Introduction – new styles and creations are released

2. Rise – the styles are marketed and made popular

3. Peak – the styles are at their most popular, replicated and sold at a range of prices for cheaper versions

4. Decline – mass produced styles lose interest with consumers and are sold as sale items

5. Rejection – the styles end make way for newer styles

How Trends Work?

Before the rise of the social media and the digital age fashion life cycles were slower, because designers and their respective teams would create and forecast trends. These fashions were then marketed through fashion magazines and editors; cue Vogue and Anna Wintour. Celebrities and models wore such looks, this made them more popular and evoked longer lasting trends. These were known as macro trends, within or amongst them smaller trends; micro, would emerge from subcultures. For which there are many origins; as a rebuff to the narrow minded and exclusive status quo of mainstream culture. Or through reworked clothing as a means to create trendy looks inspired by current fashions or trends, that were too expensive and unaccessible to the masses. 

The Rise Of Social Media

However over the last decade social media has changed the way things work. First there were early fashion Youtube stars, such as Samantha Marie and Patricia Bright. Then came Instagram fashion influencers; Chiara Ferragani and Aimee Song. All have created cult followings, and marked their place as fashion experts, through wearing popular trends, collaborations with bigger brands or creating their own fashion lines. This shortens the life cycle of trends. 

Now every other individual with an interest in fashion, has the access to replicate this formula but at an even faster rate. As social media platforms such as TikTok, push brief content; as little as 15 second videos to ever present consumers. This creates competition between content creators of all sizes as the need for more content is much larger than before. The fashion gatekeepers of before are no more but instead a thousand plus fashion ‘influencers’ reign. This demand causes an increase in fast fashion, supported by micro and macro trends as the need for new land latest looks are an ever present need. 

But what does this need for the future of fashion or is this the end of mainstream fashion?

Click here to read my previous article.