What is a Fashion Trend? Everything You Need to Know

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What is A Fashion Trend?

A fashion trend is a temporary preference for specific garments, accessories, outfits, and ways of dressing inspired by current movies, music, art, and even socio-political events showcased by celebrities and media influencers as fashion choices and new forms of self-expression.

The word ‘trend’ has semantic roots in the Old English ‘trendan,’ which means ‘to revolve.’

In contemporary parlance, the word trend describes the direction in which events (people or objects) are shaping, developing, or changing over time.

galaxy print trend
Galaxy Print Trend from 2012

While current fashion trends are influential in creating new cultural, social, and historical contexts, they are transient, often lasting less than a season, showcasing peoples’ ever-changing tastes, values, or shifts in societal norms.

As such, fashion trends are also influenced by the location, gender, sex, age, and demographic structures of the world’s cultures, subcultures, and social groups, as the formation and adoption of a fashion trend in America does not guarantee its adoption in the UK or Japan.

Moreover, while fashion trends converge to form new tapestries of aesthetic signifiers, by nature, trends are temporary and go out of fashion a season or two later.

What is the Difference Between ‘Fashion Trend’ and ‘Fashion Style’?

Compared to a fashion trend and its temporary nature, a fashion style also depicts a specific way of dressing based on similar aesthetic roots and patterns belonging to well-defined communities and subcultures such as Punk, Preppy, and Goth.

Sporting a fashion trend consists of wearing a time-bound “trendy” type of garment, hat, glasses, or shoes while wearing a fashion style (do not confuse with your fashion style) requires clothes and accessories with similar aesthetics, patterns, motifs, colors, prints, shapes, and materials, visually reflecting a subculture’s philosophy, beliefs, values, and lifestyle.

Preppy outfit and preppy aesthetic patterns.
Preppy outfits comprise clothes, footwear, and accessories depicting preppy aesthetic patterns.

For example, the Preppy fashion style reflects the uniforms of Ivy League students, which are infused with aesthetics, patterns, colors, and materials belonging to British culture.

Fashion trends are clothes or accessories depicting re-interpretations of classic fashion styles or novel aesthetic blends belonging to new geographies or cultural landscapes.

What is the Difference Between ‘Fashion Trend’ and ‘Fashion Fad’?

The word “fad” derives from the 16th-century term “faddle,” meaning “to trifle.”

tiktok leggigs fad from 2021
TikTok leggigs fashion fad from 2021

Compared to fashion trends that last for a season and are remembered in history for their impact and symbolism, a fashion fad has a shorter lifespan, briefly garnering attention before fading into oblivion.

1. The Flapper Dress Trend

The Flapper Dress Trend from 1920.
The Flapper Dress Trend from 1920.

The flapper was a 1920s low-cut (above the knee) and sleeveless type of dress – perceived as scandalous at the time – worn by women to reflect the era’s liberation movements.

2. Coco Chanel’s Little Black Dress

Coco Chanel's Little Black Dress
Coco Chanel’s Little Black Dress

In 1926, Coco Chanel introduced what we now refer to as the “Little Black Dress”.
Described by American Vogue as the shape of the future, the dress was knee-high, in black, and revolutionized the time’s women’s fashion as the “uniform” for all occasions.

3. The Athleisure Trend

The Athleisure trend blended athletic and casual wear.
The Athleisure trend blended athletic and casual wear.

The Athleisure trend became an overnight sensation in an increasingly busy, health-conscious, and comfort-seeking Western society.

Peaking around the mid-2010s, Athleisure brands presented an amalgamation of athletic wear and casual clothing designed for exercise and general use alike.

The athleisure fashion trend broke down barriers between categories of clothing—yoga pants, once confined to the gym or the home, were paired with blazers and high-heeled boots.

Endorsed by fast-fashion labels and luxury brands like Stella McCartney, the Athleisure trend impacted how comfort and function are integrated into everyday wear.

4. The Logomania Trend

Driven by conspicuous consumption, logomania trend featured big logos from luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Fendi.
Driven by conspicuous consumption, the logomania trend featured big logos from luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Fendi.

The Logomania fashion trend flourished in the late ’90s and re-emerged in the mid-2010s, at the cusp of a booming global economy, where conspicuous consumption was a public declaration of social status.

Originating in the realm of luxury fashion, the logomania trend was promoted by houses like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Fendi by producing garments with huge logos as the central visual elements.

5. The Normcore Trend

Normcore emerged as a minimalist counter to previous extravagance.
Normcore emerged as a minimalist counter to previous extravagance.

Contrastingly, the Normcore fashion trend emerged in the early 2020s as a counter-narrative to the ostentation that defined the previous decades.

The Normcore trend originated in Western urban centers where the pressure to stand out had created a collective yearning for simplicity and authenticity.

The Normcore fashion trend popularized everyday apparel, and unbranded straight-leg jeans, crew-neck T-shirts, and sneakers became the epitome of the movement.

Unlike Logomania, which revealed the recognition of status-symbol labels, Normcore turned its gaze inward, centering on personal comfort and the notion of universal attire.

The trend found its footing amid a societal undercurrent that began questioning the constant spectacle of consumerism.

As societal values leaned towards authenticity, mindfulness, and eliminating unnecessary complexities, the Normcore straightforward clothing trend became the fashion world’s response.

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After years of managing hundreds of fashion brands from London's office of a global retailer, Mandy has ventured into freelancing. Connected with several fashion retailers and media platforms in the US, Australia, and the UK, Mandy uses her expertise to consult for emerging fashion brands create top-notch content as an editorial strategist for several online publications.

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