Social Media Sets Fashion Trends

In days by gone, fashion trends were dictated by the top fashion houses but these days things have changed. It is social media sites, in particular illustrative sites such as Pinterest and Instagram which set fashion trends. In fact social media  sites have had a marked effect on the way fashion trends are identified. Social media is a powerful tool which has revolutionised the cycle of fashion trends.

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Fashion trends are now set and approved by groups on social media who decide what they like and don’t like by expressing their wants and needs on specific social media sites. New fashion trends appear all day, every day. Luxury brands have to respond to this demand by manufacturing collections designed on the of fashion trends found on  social media sites.

Are Traditional fashion cycles vanishing?

The consequence of this is that fashion trends traditional seasonal characteristic has vanished and has been replaced by a constant stream of innovative styles which can quickly go viral. However the fashion trends which go viral can vanish almost as quickly as they developed. Social media dictates the fashion trends of the day. But in contrast to the traditional seasonal cycle of fashion which lasted for some time, today’s trend can be here today and gone tomorrow.

Laver's Law

In 1937, James Laver, the English author, critic, curator and fashion historian drew up a fundamental timeline of how fashion trends transform. According to Laver’s Law, when a trend is current, it is ‘smart.’ One year before this it is ‘daring.’   20 years later, it becomes ‘ridiculous.’ And 50 years was how long it took for fashion trends to begin to sneak back into style again.

Laver’s Law was relevant in the days when designers dictated fashion trends. Each season forecasters released books with predictions of the up and coming fashion trends. They predicted styles, colours and fabrics which would dictate the fashion trends into the future.  Manufacturers would then take up the challenge and bring these futuristic fashion trends to life.  This was a slow process which some times took several years for the model to reach the market. So it is no surprise that the turnover of new styles, colours and fabrics was reserved to a steady, seasonal pace.

Fashion Trends Bi-annual Cycle

Fashion trends had a traditional bi-annual cycle which sustained a fairly long and predictable life cycle.  But I often wondered about how these bi-annual cycles set by the luxury brands based in places like London, Paris and New York affected the fashion trends in places like Australia and NZ who have opposite seasons to Europe, the UK and the USA. The winter season in Australia is the summer everywhere else and vice versa.  How does the cycle work in countries where there is opposing seasons?

Fashion Trends Are Dictated By The Consumer

However in today’s environment, things are very different. Fashion trends are no longer dictated by the top luxury brands but by the consumer on social media. This together with the capacity of these top brands to mass produce products very speedily and cheaply means that manufacturers can get new fashion trends to on the shelves very quickly.

Brands can respond to fashion trends recognized on social media very efficiently and have product ready for sale at the same time as the style is still hot to trot.  Brands and retailers have to be responsive in order to keep up with the demands on social media. They need to have a constant feed of product drops which meet the fashion trends dictated by the consumer on social media.

The understanding of fashion trends cycling and the whole nature of forecasting is now very changed. Designers now need to use inspiration and innovation to create fashion trends and unleash them on social media, then track them to see how they develop. Social media will dictate the fashion trends of today, but they do not predict the fashion trends of the future.

Social Media dictates Fashion trends

With the aid of social media, fashion trends are born and die a great deal faster than ever before. This more unstable, fragile market sees brands, celebrities, magazines, bloggers and end consumers on social media all try to gain influence over what is ‘in’ or ‘out’ of style.

But what are fashion trends?

In the past they were mostly unaffordable styles created by luxury brands which appealed to the rich, the famous and the beautiful. Did fashion trends of former times really provide for the normal person with an everyday purse and common figure?  Personally I would say they did not. Fashion trends were something you read about in glossy magazines, saw celebrities wearing and which you dreamt about. But realistically you could not afford them and probably could not fit into them either.  Have you ever seen a size 18 in a Versace shop?

I often go with a very wealthy but extremely thin woman to view the latest releases at luxury brand shops such as Versace. The shop attendants are very focused on my friend and have a range of small sizes to fit her petite frame. However, I have a much more developed figure and in all my trips to these stores over many years I have never found clothing which would fit or suit me. These fashion trends are just not designed for me.

The It Bag 

And what about the "It Bag" produced by high end fashion houses. They simply are not within the reach of the average shopper and it is interesting to see that social media is starting to advocate that  purse lovers move away  from expensive high end brands and  opt more for value for money - lower priced, top quality, well designed trendy bags.

This has been achieved by top celebrities being photographed with bags under $400 and still looking trendy and amazing. For more details check my previous blog  "Get Top quality leather Bags For Less"

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Social media has definitely transformed the cycle of fashion trends.

I believe that fashion trends set by the consumer have more chance of reaching the average consumer like me who wants to look stylish and trendy on a tight budget. Some brands such as Zara and H&M are focusing on the lower end consumer with a fuller figure and that is heartening.  The styles are also forever varying. Zara for example releases over 10,000 new designs annually.

It is vital for brands to work on their brand identity first and use fashion trends as q tool to create their designs. They should uncover the fashion trends that will add value to their brand, have staying power, and that can be leveraged in a specific market and consumer demographics. Brands must  work less on forecasting and more on responsiveness to the fashion trends set on social media.

Some of the traditional luxury brands and larger retailers like Marks and Spencers are still focused on the conventional cycle of seasonal runway shows and do not have the speed to respond to the changes demanded by social media fashion trends. But regardless of whether a retailer is working within the bounds of the traditional calendar, or is responsive to the whims of social media, brands must be kept alive and looking fresh all year round. 

 Various fashion trends, in particular the really trendy ones, turn out to be short-lived. Others keep on evolving as they are more about lifestyle choices and style. Retailers are moving away from being trend-focused to being more lifestyle-focused and brand-focused. Fashion trends available on social media have the outcome of assisting people to choose what would look good on them and what and where they should be purchasing. With the advent of social media the consumer has become very knowledgeable and much more informed about the fashion trends which will go well with their personal style. Social media has definitely transformed the cycle of fashion trends.




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