The Role of Fast Fashion & How Long Do Fashion Trends Last?

Fashion is a constantly evolving industry, with new styles emerging daily. Fashionistas are constantly on the lookout for that one item that will elevate their look and set them apart from the crowd.

Fashion is a constantly changing business, with new trends emerging daily. Fashionistas are always looking for that one piece that will elevate their appearance above the rest when it comes to their style.

Fashion Trends are said to be based on the tumultuous relationship between nostalgia and anticipation.

As a result, the next main trends can be predicted by following the 20-year trend cycle. Fashion Forecasting agencies play a huge role in forecasting trends. 

However, the trend cycle is becoming increasingly shorter, and the concept of the 20-year cycle appears to be becoming less and less reliable as a means of navigating the ever-changing and unpredictable trends that are thrown our way. 

The business of establishing trends is now in their hands, thanks to the power of social media and the typical influencer.

Those influencers may be inspired by larger personalities or pop culture movements, but they still personalize trends and build them around their brands in a way that makes them seem more attainable to you and me. 

The Stages of a Fashion Trend

Most fashion styles can be divided into five stages:

  • The item is in its introduction period when early adopters start wearing it.
  • When more people join in, typically the younger market from fashion-forward retailers, the product grows.
  • At its peak, the item is worn by the majority of the population and is accessible in all mass-market outlets.
  • When an item is out of date and stores heavily discount it to clear out their supply.

It’s worth noting that many of today’s fashion styles may only have three phases: introduction, rise, and obsolescence due to the passage of time.

How Long Do Fashion Trends Last?

Customers’ willingness to accept the style and how much they enjoy it determines whether a fashion trend becomes a classic or remains a fad.

1. Fads

Fads come and go quickly, sometimes within a season, sometimes in a matter of weeks. There could be several causes for specific designs to exhibit this behavior.

It could be that the pieces are difficult to wear and combine, that they require a specific body type for the ideal look, or that the colors and designs are too eccentric and do not flatter everyone.

The rise of social media and influencers is one of the main causes of fads, which has resulted in an increase in the number of trends and a decrease in their longevity, with numerous negative consequences.

Fads come and go quickly, sometimes within a season, sometimes within a few weeks. There could be several causes for this behavior in specific designs.

It could be that the pieces are difficult to wear and combine, that they require a specific body type to achieve the desired appearance, or that the colors and designs are too unusual and do not flatter everyone.

2. Trends

In the fashion world, a trend is defined as a wide direction in which something evolves or changes, indicating the popularity of a particular type of style or piece of clothing.

A micro-fashion trend’s cycle typically lasts 3-5 years, whereas macro-trends frequently last 5-10 years.

Macro-trends are styles that we associate with particular decades, such as shoulder pads in the 1980s, drop-waist skirts in the 1920s, and bell-bottom jeans in the 1970s. 

There are socio-cultural trends that raise concerns about how society is evolving, and then there are megatrends like individualization or urbanization. These trends are linked in some way, but the megatrends are the most long-lasting, lasting between 30 and 50 years.

3. Classics

Classic fashion is defined as items that can survive the test of time and appear good on almost everyone, regardless of age, decade, or current trend. 

The trench coat, button-up shirt, knee-length straight skirt, crew-neck cardigan, leather jacket, and patterns such as leopard print are all fashion classics that have been around for a long time and in many forms.

They change slightly with each decade, but they are immediately recognizable and can be found in mass-market and department stores.

The Role of Fast Fashion 

Fast fashion thrives on quickly shifting microtrends. They capitalize on people’s desire to blend in by mass-producing trends at a low cost as soon as they become popular.

The trend cycle was designed to provide producers with enough time to milk out fashion trends while also leaving time to develop new ones.

However, with the constant acceleration of trends that we see today, fast fashion appears to be essential to keep up.

Meanwhile, fast fashion’s insane production time creates a horrendous amount of waste. Companies use cheaper, synthetic materials to bulk produce, not realizing that they take decades to biodegrade. And, as fashions change, the garments themselves become obsolete, contributing to pollution. 

On the other hand, sustainable fashion word on macro trends that stay longer. Sustainable or ethical Fashion is a concept where brands strictly design and manufacture clothes that concern and value social welfare and worker rights.

Fashion Trend Cycle ( 5 stages)

Today’s trends come from a variety of sources, including celebrities and influencers, runways, textile makers, social media, music, and more. Their appearance and disappearance are estimated not only by designers but also by third parties such as stylists and trend forecasters.

1. Introduction

Product introduction happens when early adopters start wearing the item. When a new style is introduced, the first step of the trend’s life cycle begins.

This can be a silhouette, color, design, fabric, or anything else. During the on-season of Fashion Week, the origin of the trend is usually in the hands of a big brand or designer. 

2. Rise

Product sales are increasing as more people participate, particularly younger customers from fashion-forward companies. The second stage of the life cycle is a trend’s rise to popularity, during which a style develops from “new” to “trendy.”

Today, this is frequently accomplished with the assistance of celebrities and influencers who popularise a style through either paid marketing or sincere appreciation.

Stylists and media managers are frequently involved in this type of popularization, calculating which influencer will wear what. 

3. Peak

During its peak, all mass-market retailers carry the item, and the majority of people wear it. The peak stage is when a trend achieves the pinnacle of its popularity among a broad audience.

Most major retailers now carry the trend and make it available to all consumer types, often at lower prices than during the increase stage, and as a consequence, most luxury brands no longer carry the trend.

This is an unusual point in a trend’s life cycle because the duration of its peak is rather unpredictable. 

4. Decline

The product’s appeal to younger customers has waned, and it can now be found in clothing shops catering to older customers.

In a similar vein, the decline stage occurs immediately after the peak stage because it is located behind the thin line of market oversaturation.

The widespread success of a trend is often its undoing because consumers grow tired of seeing too much of it or begin to feel too “mainstream.”

5. Obsolescence

The obsolescence stage of a trend’s life cycle is when a style is generally labeled as “out of fashion.” Consumers who previously liked the trend move on to new peak trends, leaving the obsolete trends behind.

Back in 2015, for example, you couldn’t go outside without seeing a bomber jacket, high-fashion brands like Helmut Lang, Rick Owens, and Balenciaga infused their collections with the style, and fast-fashion brands like H&M and Topshop soon followed.

A few seasons later, the bomber jacket style began to fade quickly, eventually disappearing from retailer clothing racks. 


Certain fashion trends fade away in a matter of weeks, while others remain for an extended amount of time.

If you know how long trends last, you may be able to make better choices about what to purchase and what to avoid.

Furthermore, if you don Classic clothing from head to toe, you will appear stale and stodgy. Your ensemble may appear stale if you only wear Fad items.

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