Surely you are wearing some kind of trend right now. It may have been a big trend and it’s not anymore, or it may be super high this season. But the question is: do you have any idea how this piece you’re wearing has become a trend?
The fashion cycle helps us explain this and other questions about the fashion world. After all, the fashion cycle is the gear that makes the fashion world go round; it’s the cycle responsible for making everything happen, from the idea of a trend, to the moment it materializes in stores and your wardrobe.
You’ve seen how this cycle impacts on your life, right? So Anna, YouTuber from Ouse Every Day, explained everything about the Fashion Cycle in this channel video. There’s a lot of cool information, so it’s really worth stopping a few minutes to watch. Click and check it out:
What is the fashion cycle, anyway?
The Fashion Cycle, as stated above, is the gear that makes the fashion world go round. In other words, it is the cycle that involves the entire production chain, from the idea to its implementation in stores, on the streets and in the clothing of different types of people.
Therefore, it involves everyone who somehow creates and uses fashion. People, social groups, designers, suppliers, fast fashion stores and so on. This cycle has been forming throughout the social and economic changes and every day new changes happen.
A milestone of this change in the fashion cycle was the rise of the bourgeoisie in the 13th and 14th centuries. In the absolutist period, where nobles and plebs were the main social divisions existing at the time, the world functioned in a very different way than what we see today, especially fashion.
While the nobles used personalized clothes, colorful and full of prints precisely to stand out and differentiate, the plebs used pieces without personality, almost all the same, without many colors and textures.
It was from the development of the bourgeois class that everything began to change. The bourgeoisie, with its economic power, began to copy the clothes and accessories that the nobility wore, and the nobility began to have a need to include new elements to differentiate itself frequently.
This moment was important, given that fashion, at this time, gained even more characteristics in the form of individualization and social distinction.
How does the fashion cycle work?
We’ve seen what the fashion cycle is and how it came about. But how does it work anyway?
Generally speaking, the fashion cycle exists and is based on behaviors and social trends. Fashion has always been a tool for individual and social group expression, and today it’s no different.
So, to better explain how it works in practice, we separate three trend development theories that explain well the idea of the Fashion Cycle in today’s times. Anna explained this right there in the Ouse Todo Dia video.
So let’s go to the theories:
From top to bottom
This theory holds that trends arise from major brands and important influencers and opinion makers, whether from social networks, TV, among others. These people launch collections and start using pieces first of all and thus spread the news to other people.
An example of this are the great influencers of trends in their careers: Audrey Hepburn, Madonna. Today we also see several other pop artists and digital influences that are examples that show how this theory works in practice.
From bottom to top
This theory is one of the coolest and demonstrates how the fashion cycle has worked these days.
It argues that fashion is created on the streets, by people who belong to certain types of social groups, and only then are these styles absorbed and taken as reference and inspiration by major brands, thus becoming a trend.
An example of this is the carioca funk, which took to the streets and inspired many clothing brands to create based on their lifestyle.
Of all three, this one represents how fashion has happened in our daily lives, and how the fashion cycle permeates us more than we can imagine.
This theory holds that trends arise from an exchange of meanings, information and cultures between different types of groups and people, between large and small brands, in short, all of whom, in a way, are participants in the fashion gear.
This is a trend that we can observe, mainly, today, because it is with the Internet and social networks that the exchange of information between different types of people has intensified.
A practical example of this process are the Dad Sneakers. These were the largest and most robust sneakers that parents used in the 80s. But although they fell into disuse after that time, today the brands have revisited the model and recreated it, bringing it back to the surface with a fashionista footprint. The point is that you can never tell who created exactly!
Fashion cycle and types of trends
Now we come to one of the most important parts: let’s understand a little bit about how the process of defining a trend works, in order to study the behaviour of different types of people and social groups. Shall we?
The macro trend represents the expression of human behavior and derives from social and economic changes and evolutions. Therefore, they are trends that last for many years because, just like human behavior, if we think in a macro way, changes more slowly over the years.
Macrotrends are not the products of fashion itself, but are the basis and inspiration for their creation. After all, macrotrends are behavioural.
An example of macrotrends is the idea of more conscious consumption, which has impacted on how major brands have thought about their products and how people themselves have consumed those products.
It is the translation – in fashionable terms – of the behavioural trend. When a certain social group’s behavior – a macrotrend – becomes a microtrend – garments, accessories, shoes, etc. are created.
Using the example of the macrotendency referring to more conscious consumption, we can remember the greater adherence of people to the breeches and bazaars, for example, in addition to more natural or handmade pieces that do not harm the environment.