Crash Course #1: Fads vs Trends

Crash Course #1: Fads vs Trends

In the day and age where it seems like anyone and everyone is involved in fashion (influencers, bloggers, etc) we thought putting together an educational but not formal series would be beneficial so we happily welcome you to the first in our mini series on fashion education!!!

Clothes do not just appear in stores!!! You don’t just accidentally buy something! All stores don’t have similar merchandise coincidently!!!! This is basically me (Anna, hi, the author of this particular post) utilizing all the fashion vocabulary I was required to memorize for my Fashion Business Management degree to make myself feel better about my degree and the multi billion dollar industry I work in.

Today’s topic is Fads vs. Trends (with a sprinkle of product development)

Essentially, a fad is a “craze” for something that is popular for a short period of time. They are short lived and can be gone in a blink or two of your eye. Think of something you only saw for one season that quickly FADed out *cough* Balenciaga Platform Crocs *cough*.

Fads can be a piece of clothing that you see everyone wearing and just as quickly you see no one wearing. A brand that rises to the top and quickly disappears can be a fad, a certain color, or a style. If you Google examples of fads, the internet even considers the 90s childhood craze of beanie babies to be a fad. Yeah I bet you forgot about those nostalgic little toys, that is kind of the theme of fads…super intense and easily forgettable.

Meanwhile, a trend is something that lasts for multiple seasons that is in good taste with the public. They usually start with a few celebrities, a few Instagram girls wearing it and then grow from there. (We are going to save talking about how trends spread for another day though, so mark your calendar because we have no idea when that day will be.)

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Example of a mood board [Image sources HERE]

Buckle your seat belts, I am about to throw another vocab term into your brain: Fashion forecasting. Fashion Forecasters (essentially the weathermen/women/people of fashion) predict trends that will be big in fashion from colors, to fabrics to silhouettes, etc. Yes, that is a real career path for people who are good at reading patterns, aka trendsetters. People who work with forecasting put together mood boards, read the market and can end up on product development teams or as a buyer.


Product Developer (via Pinterest)

Product Developers use their trend forecasting to help create products to bring to the market. Buyers are the people who go to showrooms and trade shows to look at a selection of developed products and make a selection for a specific store taking their demographic (customer age group, gender, risk taking level, lifestyle, etc) in order to bring you (the end consumer) the products you see.

Where it gets tricky is that in product development, sometimes a company can’t produce a fad quick enough before it fades out or a buyer may buy something that is a fad and then when they receive the product (6 months later!!!) the fad is over and they have dead stock that won’t budge from the stock room.

NOW, the interesting part is that some trends extend further then just a piece or two in our closets. This is what we’ve coined a mega trend or a market ruling trend. (Those terms are courtesy of our brains let us know if you have a better one haha.)

For example lets say helllllloooooo to the Western Trend. A trend that has been gathering heat since 2013 and now 5 years later has wormed its way to everywhere.

The western trend is shaking the world right now, however with every girl who dons a pair of cowgirl boots we get closer and closer to every trends worst nightmare: decline and obsolescence. The little chart displayed above is a quick overview that was taught in every trend or fashion 101 course.
For trends like early 00s fashion, 70s or 90s, that seem to be on repeat, imagine multiple of those charts linked together to make waves. Now, you understand the basics of how trends and fads work.

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The western trend deserves a whole post of its own but for now enjoy this stoppable slide show of things you can purchase that shows how wild the western trend has gotten. A point not included but definitely worth mentioning is how this trend is causing a resurgence in music as well, think of Kacey Musgraves or even that painfully overplayed mention worthy song Old Town Road.
Key words from today: fad, trend, fashion forecasting, fashion forecaster, product developer, trend life cycle 
Do you like this more educational segment? Let us (and me) know in the comments below!

1 Comment

  1. Gina
    August 5, 2019 / 4:51 pm

    Very interesting and informative. Love the cow print shirt!

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