Fashion Cycle Stages: 5 Stage Breakdown
In the past, fashion trends cycled every 20 years. Nowadays, the cycle is quicker, and fashion trends no longer follow a strict 20-year process. Design, social media, and merchandising technologies have significantly reduced the speed at which new trends make their way to stores, thanks partly to social media's ability to make trends go viral overnight. Let's explore the five stages of the modern fashion trend.
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Trends today can have various origins, such as celebrities and influencers, fashion shows, textile manufacturers, social media, and music. These trends are often tracked and monitored by fashion designers, stylists, and trend forecasters, who attempt to predict when certain styles will become popular and when they will fall out of favor. The life cycle of a trend typically goes through five stages: the introduction, rise, peak, decline, and obsolescence phases.
Understanding these stages can help individuals and businesses anticipate and adapt to changes in fashion and design.
Phase 1 - Introducing a Trend to Consumers
The initial stage in the life cycle of a trend is the introduction phase, where new styles are first presented to the public. These can include new silhouettes, colors, patterns, and fabrics. Major fashion brands or designers typically lead this phase during the fashion week season. In recent years, advancements in design and merchandising technologies have allowed for a faster turnover of trends, while social media has made trends rise and fall quickly. Grassroots styles, such as DIY fashion born from the pandemic lockdowns in 2020, have also played a role in introducing new trends.
During this phase, a niche target audience, such as high-fashion or edgy consumers, often embraces the trend. This is why new trends are often only available at a limited number of retailers. Mass production usually only begins once many consumers have adopted a trend. However, not all new trends take off, and some may be quickly phased out if they don't gain traction among consumers.
Phase 2 - The Trend Takes Off
The second stage of a trend's life cycle is the rise in popularity, during which a style evolves from being new to being trendy. Celebrities and influencers can significantly influence this stage and popularize a style through paid promotions or by genuinely embracing it themselves. In this stage, media strategists and stylists also significantly popularize a trend by carefully choosing which influencers to showcase a particular style. They also often work with the influencer to ensure that the way the trend is presented is most likely to catch on.
Social media has made it easier for trends to spread quickly by giving everyday people a platform to share their fashion choices. This has helped to democratize fashion, making it more accessible and allowing for a more diverse range of styles to become popular. The trend during this phase is becoming more and more popular. At this stage, most people still need to be aware of it or fully embrace it. For that reason, it is still considered a niche trend. This is when retail stores are starting to stock up, and designers are getting ready to mass-produce trendy items.
Phase 3 - Peak of the Lifecycle
The climax of a trend's popularity is reached during the peak stage, where it is widely available at most major retailers and accessible to all types of consumers, often at discounted prices. However, at this stage, luxury brands tend to move away from the trend as it becomes mainstream. This stage can be difficult to predict for trend forecasters, as it is hard to know how long the peak stage will last. Fashion brands rely on trend data to make informed decisions on which trends to include in their collections and when to phase out those that are decreasing in popularity. High-end and luxury brands tend to be ahead of the curve, introducing new trends before more mainstream brands pick them up. They also tend to avoid trends that have become too mainstream to maintain their status as trendsetters. At the peak stage, fast-fashion brands tend to push these styles rather than luxury brands.
Phase 4 - The Fall of the Trend
The decline stage of a trend's life cycle closely follows the peak stage. This stage is often the result of market oversaturation, where a trend's widespread popularity leads to consumer fatigue, making it feel too "mainstream." As a result, luxury brands tend to keep the trend for only one or two seasons, and retailers begin to offer it at discounted prices before phasing it out entirely. The trend becomes less desirable as the general public loses interest in it, but some loyal followers may still wear it.
Phase 5 - Becoming Out of Style
The final stage of the fashion life cycle is obsolescence, during which a style is considered "out of fashion." Consumers who previously embraced the trend will have moved on to new, popular styles, leaving the obsolete ones behind. However, just because a trend is considered obsolete doesn't mean it will never return to the fashion cycle. Often, past trends are updated and reworked to fit with current styles and can experience a complete lifecycle once again.
Use These Trends to Determine Your Style
By utilizing the trend lifecycle model, fashion brands can make more informed decisions about which trends to include in their collections and when to phase them out. Understanding the different stages of a trend's lifecycle is valuable for luxury and fast-fashion brands, even if they operate on other calendars. You can also use these trends to make decisions about what to wear to look like a fashionista.Are you on the hunt for the latest and greatest in jewelry trends? At LaCkore Couture, our fun and stylish collection has plenty of styles to elevate your jewelry collection. Take your pick and get trendy with LaCkore Couture.