The Fashion Cycle


Fashion moves through cycles, ups and downs, like almost everything else in life. While this maybe the part of basic training in every designer’s education, it is not understood by many who don’t study fashion. It is rather simple to understand though.


It can be divided broadly in 5 stages:

1. Introduction :
This is the time when a particular design or style is introduced. This might be through the ramp, or is introduced through the fashion leaders /trend setters (in case of India that would mean Bollywood stars mostly), or through photo-shoots that appear in magazines. The prices at this time are generally steep, and only the very fashion conscious are seen to try out this new style. Manufacturers are also not taking the risk to make large quantities of this style, because it might not work and people might not buy it.

2. Rise/Development
As the style starts catching up, the manufacturers start producing the piece for the customers. This is the time when the style is adapted with cheaper fabrics, and lesser detailing. For example a swarvoski crystal studded dress will be just studded with cheaper crystals to make it more affordable to the customers (who may not always be as rich as the leaders). More and more people can be seen in these clothes in the rise period. The magazines would be writing about how such and such thing is a rage in Delhi or Mumbai or Kolkata. You would also see a lot of advertisements from the brands about availability of that particular style

The fashion cycle bell diagram
3. Peak
As the name suggests this is the peak of the style. You will be able to see a lot of copies and cheaper variety on the streets. The trends would have trickled down to most economic strata of the society. The fabrics on the streets would be even lesser quality than the ones you found before. Everyone would be wearing/carrying a variety of the original style.  This is also the time when the manufacturers are producing and selling the fastest. The fashion followers have fallen for the style that was introduced.  The length of the peak period determines whether the trend is actually a classic or a fad or just a in and out fashion statement.

4. Decline
I may not have to explain this, but for the benefit of those who do want to know. The trend starts to slow down. Mainly because some other trend has caught up by this time, and people want to get something new in their wardrobes and on their skin. Retail mark downs are happening by this time and the market sees the word “SALE” for such items

5.Obsolescence
This is the time when the only people who are still holding on to the trend are fashion laggards. The manufacturers have stopped producing; and retailers have stopped putting it on their shelves, even the people have stopped buying. This is also the time that runs parallel with the peak of another fashion trend.

The diagram is a photoshop creation. but i still cant figure it out properly
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About Aparna Mudi

Aparna is a fashion graduate from NIFT, New Delhi. She has a passion for writing about everything under the sun, especially about fashion and lifestyle.

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