How Does a Trend Become a Trend?

How Does a Trend Become a Trend?

2016 was a year of chokers, Bardot tops, and midi skirts. No doubt the fashion industry had a great time as these much-loved throwbacks came back for another round. But how exactly did this happen? And how does a trend become a trend?

In years past, fashion trends usually started and evolved through the relationships between fashion houses, print magazines and consumers. However, with the Internet and social media at the forefront of trendsetting, the nature of fashion and consumption have been indelibly altered.

If you’ve ever wondered where today’s popular styles come from and why they seem to come and go overnight, here are some insights into the lifecycle of a fashion trend.

The 20-Year Fashion Cycle is Dead

Conventional wisdom used to dictate that much like a long-awaited comet, trends cycle around approximately every 20 years. This cycle is now pretty much obsolete as social media has served to place a spotlight on how “normal” and aspirational women dress around the world. When an old trend pops up again, they seem new and fresh because they are often created with improved materials and updated for today’s consumer.

All Hail the Fashion Blogger

Some virtual style influencers have as much reach as century-old fashion houses. This is because a number of them have signed prestigious contracts with brands as a result of their global audience. In fact, several have become so powerful that iconic brands like Vogue have all but declared war on them. These days “street style” occupies much of the blogosphere, taking the trend from “stylish unknowns” to fashion powerhouses who are shared and reblogged across the worldwide web at breakneck speed.

Casual Couture

By a show of hands, how many of us would have worn jeans to work ten years ago? And now? (Many of your hands likely shot up.) In recent years, style rules have become far less rigid, paving the way for experimentation and personal taste to prevail. Take skirt lengths for example. Who can say what the “right” length for a skirt is? However, if the public isn’t ready for a trend, it will simply fizzle and die before it even starts. Even Kendall and Kylie couldn’t bring back high-waisted jeans.


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