RIP Traditional Fashion Trend Cycle

Carol and I have discussed the warp speed trends evolve today as compared to when we started Second City Style nearly 10 years ago. They are pretty much obliterated. Who can keep up? Traditional fashion trend timelines are long gone having given way to one constantly moving stream of newness, fast-fashion and social media. A recent post on The Business of Fashion by Kate Abnett discusses just that. and the end of fashion trend forecasting.
According to Laver’s Law (English fashion historian James Laver’s 1937 explanation of trend cycles), “When a trend is in fashion, it is ‘smart.’ One year before this it is ‘daring.’ And 20 years later, it becomes ‘ridiculous.’ It generally took 50 years he said for a trend to come back into style. And even though mass production of apparel in the twentieth century picked up significantly, cycles were still predictable and seasonable – and predicted by designers and brands.
How things have changed. Yes, Pantone still predicts color trends and there are still some traditional forecasting houses, but little else is the same. Social media has become the primary predictor – which trends are in, which trends are out and which will stick around season after season (think skinny jeans). In other words. “what’s trending.”
“Social media has absolutely, totally changed the trends landscape,” said Ruth Chapple, head of content at Stylus Fashion. “It’s making some trends stick, while long ago we would have been over them more quickly. The Valentino rock stud, which everyone expected to be a one-season wonder, has been going strong for eight seasons,” she said. “The death of the stud was forecast long ago, but that was very much a social media trend, where the bloggers made that trend stick.”
However, the demand for a constant stream of fresh fashion means stores have to be highly responsive like H&M and Zara which takes just two weeks to take make a design and get it into stores dropping over 10,000 new designs per year! If you can’t keep up with the demand you could be SOL. It’s a little different for luxury brands which tend to have a bit longer of a life cycle, but they have had to step up their digital game as well.
Read Do Fashion Trends Still Exist? by Kate Abnett
– Lauren Dimet Waters

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