How Do Fashion Trends Start? Behind the Good, the Bad, and the Hideous

From bell-bottom jeans and high-top sneakers to Gucci belts, and more. We see them on the streets, on our friends and on social media, but you may be wondering, how do fashion trends start? 

Simply put, people begin to see certain things and think “that looks nice,” “I want to dress like that,” or “I want to wear what they’re wearing.” But how do these items come to be? 

Celebrity Style

Once a celebrity is seen wearing a certain item or sporting a particular style, it’s all over. Not only do their fans want to copy them, but designers pull out their pencils and create more looks like these. Magazines highlight celebrities in high-end fashion on their covers, leading to increased sales for retailers who stock that designer. 

A Circle of Influencers

The fashion industry doesn’t operate in a vacuum—it’s a constantly evolving, deeply interconnected ecosystem. Designers are inspired by designers, who are inspired by others, and so on. A company may hire an influencer to market its product, or a blogger may get free clothes in exchange for writing about it, or a publication may be compensated for writing about how a certain style is the newest trend. The industry is tightly intertwined, so once a designer creates a new style, they are going to put marketing muscles behind getting the product in front of the right people and normalizing the style. And once it’s successful, other brands hurry to follow in suit. 

Old to New

New trends evolve from old ones. You see that evolution happen in every sector, including fashion. The best new trends, however, aren’t just a rehash of what was popular in yesteryear; they bring something unique to today’s society. These are trends like microdenim, which is denim with very fine detailing (often achieved by adding multiple shades), or the wide-leg pant which started to make it’s comeback in mid-2021. Fashion trends circulate, something that was once popular will likely be trendy again. 

An Outfit to a Style

After one of the Kardashians wears a certain piece, and that item begins to fly off the shelves, brands shuffle to create similarly styled items. Because the industry operates in a top-down flow, generally it’s the high-end designers that you first see breaking the molds. Then, once a celebrity wears the designer piece to an event, other lower-end designers create more wearable variations of the given style that they saw.

Everyone Will Want to Wear it All Year Long

As soon as a new fashion style makes its appearance, and your favorite influencers or celebrities are giving it their stamp of approval, consumers run to the stores to buy it and it becomes a trend. 

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