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Style Reflections: iii. The Stages of a Fashion Trend

  • The fashion industry is constantly creating new styles of clothing. Trends rise and fall in popularity repetitively in a pattern known as the 'fashion cycle'.

  • A fashion trend occurs when a particular silhouette, colour palette, fabric, accessory or other new style rises in popularity. Many factors can start a trend: social, economic and political change; innovation in textile fabric and design; popular films and music idols; sporting events and stars and celebrity endorsements. A trend can also be created by textile manufacturers, fashion designers and fashion merchandisers.

Fashion Designer sketching new Clothing Collection

  • A fashion trend proceeds through the following STAGES:

  • Introduction: This is when a garment or fabric enters the fashion world at industry events such as trade shows like 'Premiere Vision' near Paris. A fashion designer may purchase and work with the new materials, which become part of their collections shown at runway shows in London, Paris, Milan and New York fashion weeks, for example. This is then documented by fashion editors and fashion journalists for newspapers, magazines and online. The more influential models, actresses and influencers are given access to the collection ahead of release, which leads to a surge of interest. Once released, a strategic promotion by the clothing brand or manufacturer is staged to drive sales. The item is available from select brands/manufacturers, is low in supply and high in price.

  • Increase: The item gains acceptance in the fashion world and starts acquiring the moniker of 'trend'. During the 'rise' stage, celebrities, trendsetters and fashion influencers will take up the trend and promote it on Instagram and TikTok, for example, leading to a rise in consumer demand. More retail stores begin to carry the trend.

  • Peak: The trend has peaked and everyday consumers are now wearing it. Most retailers will have identified and replicated the item and it will be available for sale at various price points, especially lower prices.

  • Decline: The trend has become saturated in the market. The fashion-forward will be put off by the ubiquitousness of the item and the widespread cheaper variations of it.

  • Obsolescence: The item is considered outdated by mainstream fashion wearers. It may, and often does, re-enter the fashion cycle at a later date, sometimes tweaked by advancements in fabric technology and to suit the tastes and needs of a different generation.


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