In the old days, fashion trends usually were begun and developed solely by the major fashion houses to magazine to general public – and sometimes it remained that way for years. However, in today’s Internet-friendly (even obsessed) online world – where you can find everything from Wikipedia to CNN on a single topic – the fashion industry is more open to sharing information between the various fashions houses and keeping their magazines current at all times. This also allows for much greater and quicker evolution of fashion ideas – one trend might become a hot one (and be embraced by the masses), while another might take a bit longer. Trend spotting is a subjective term, but it can be useful for spotting upcoming trends in the fashion world.
What makes a trend? The answer, of course, is simple: it is what makes a fashion trend attractive to the masses, and what keeps it from being simply accepted as just that – a trend. In other words, it’s the new thing, and if everyone else is doing it, then it must be good, or people won’t be doing it. A wise person once told me that a trend is something people start because they think it will be liked, but they don’t know (or care) why they started it in the first place.
Trends are good because they are permanent. They last for a very short time (at least in the eyes of the public), and then they either disappear or gain momentum again. Trends are most appealing when they are not associated with a specific person, or when they are seen as being fashionable for the masses – i.e., for everyone. At the right time, trends are attractive precisely because they are not connected to a particular person, or to a fashion house, etc. At the right time, a trend is a trend because it is what the public wants at the moment; and what the public can actually do in the moment.
What makes a trend is its attractiveness to the mass mind, but what actually draws people to a fashion trend are its short-lived attributes. For instance, in January, people might be interested in a particular design trend because they were wearing it only for a short period of time – perhaps only a few weeks. But by the end of February, these fashionistas may have long since left the outfit in their closet, and by the summer, they’ll want to chuck it out. Is this where a fashion trend comes in? Certainly not!
So how do we tell when a fashion trend is a trend? It’s actually quite simple. When celebrities and fashion gurus tell us that a trend is “in” – whether that means millions of dollars have been spent on promoting it, or that the designers at the fashion world have all agreed that this particular look is “in” – we can pretty much see their point. After all, celebrities can speak directly to the masses, and fashion gurus can point to trends which have been tried and tested over time, thus rendering them trustworthy. However, many fashion aficionados and celebrities fail to recognize that there are limits to what their words mean. Let’s examine some more examples to clarify.
A very popular trend is for women to wear accessories. Accessories, in and of themselves, are extremely fashionable – but as we’ve seen with celebrity fashion trends, they are short-lived. This means that the next time a woman is seen wearing an accessory, she will be “in fashion”, but the next time ten more accessories are added, her look will begin to fall apart. Therefore, the longer a fashionable accessory remains in fashion, the greater amount of time it will take for it to “go out of fashion”. Therefore, it really makes no sense to purchase the most trendy piece of clothing if you’re only wearing it once.
Another example of a fashion trend that is quickly fading from the scene is the word trendy itself. The use of the word trend itself has been widely considered a meaningless term in recent years. People are starting to realize that the definition of a trend can be stretched any way that they want. For instance, being cool for one season may become outmoded quickly when another fashionable style becomes the latest buzzword, so to say that the “in fashion” garment for this season may become outmoded next summer simply because it is not in fashion yet.
So, what makes a trend? It certainly helps to be a celebrity, to have great fashion sense, and/or to be well known in your fashion community. However, fashion is a constantly evolving field, so no matter what is trendy or fashionable today, it is inevitable that it will become obsolete shortly. What trends are here to stay, however, are the outfits worn by those who understand the timeless beauty of clothing. Those who understand fashion realize that fashions change seasonally so the current trends are merely a temporary phase while the next big fashion trend will take center stage.