What is Fashion Cycle

The fashion cycle refers to the stages that a particular style or trend goes through from its introduction, rise and fall. This is cyclical in nature because the trends often come back into popularity after a certain period of time. This cycle ranges from seasonal to decade-long trends because some are rejected immediately by the press or by the buyer on the retail level, while some possess a timeless allure, withstanding the test of time, reinventing themselves, and winning the hearts of new generations. 

Fashion Cycle Stages
Fashion Cycle Stages

The fashion cycle is a captivating dance between the past, present, and future, as trends reincarnate and breathe new life into our wardrobes. It's a testament to the cyclical nature of our desires, as we yearn for the familiar and find comfort in the nostalgic embrace of styles gone by.

French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu is credited with introducing the concept of the fashion cycle in the 1970s, peeling back the layers of this intricate phenomenon. However, the idea of trends and styles evolving over time can be traced back through the annals of fashion history. From ancient civilizations to modern runways, the essence of the cycle remains unchanged, reminding us that fashion has always been a reflection of our ever-evolving tastes and aspirations.

Fashion Cycle Stages

Introduction It's like the grand entrance of a superstar! A new style struts its way onto the fashion scene, introduced by the creative minds of designers and fashion houses. The air is buzzing with anticipation as fashion enthusiasts eagerly await the next big thing to grace their wardrobes. Get ready to witness the birth of a trend!
Rise Brace yourself for the rising tide of fashion frenzy! The trend starts to make waves, capturing the attention of fashion-savvy individuals everywhere. Like wildfire, the news spreads, and people become informed about this fabulous style. They can't resist its allure and quickly join the trend, proudly rocking it and turning heads wherever they go. Get ready to ride the wave!
Peak Here comes the trend's moment in the spotlight! The fashion world bows down to its undeniable charisma as it reaches its peak. This is the time when everyone wants a piece of the action. It dominates the runways, floods the streets, and racks up record-breaking sales. It becomes THE thing to wear, reflecting the spirit of the times. Get ready to witness the trend at its zenith!
Decline Alas, even the brightest stars must fade! After basking in the limelight for a while, the trend starts to lose its grip on popular affection. People have worn it for quite some time now, and their hunger for novelty grows stronger. They yearn for something fresh, different, and unique to satisfy their ever-evolving fashion appetite. Farewell, dear trend!
Obsolescence Out with the old, in with the new! The trend, once the epitome of cool, now finds itself in the archives of fashion history. It has faded away, becoming a relic of the past. The fashion landscape has evolved, and this style no longer holds sway over the hearts of the trendsetters. It's time to bid adieu to the trend that once reigned supreme. Sayonara, old friend!
Rejection Ouch! It's the bitter truth of fashion. The trend, once adored and cherished, now faces the harsh reality of rejection. It's deemed outdated, outmoded, and out of touch. People actively avoid it, opting for the latest and greatest styles instead. The trend's time in the spotlight may be over, but its memory lives on as a reminder of ever-changing fashion whims. Fare thee well, fashion reject!

The length of time that a trend spends in each stage varies very widely. Some trends last for only a few months called Fad Fashion, while others remain on mainstream for years or even decades. Some of them stay in stable demand through some modifications. This is called Classic fashion.

Fashion Cycle Examples

Bell Bottom Jeans

An example of a fashion cycle could be the trend of wearing bell-bottom jeans.

Bell Bottom Jeans in Summer of '69

Introduction In the late 1960s, a groovy fashion revolution took place with the rise of bell-bottom jeans. These fabulous trousers featured a flared leg opening from the knee to the ankle length, instantly capturing the attention of free-spirited hippies. It was a bold statement of individuality and rebellion, setting the stage for an iconic trend that would transcend generations. Step into the world of bell-bottoms!
Rise By the mid-1970s, the once-counterculture fashion exploded into the mainstream, thanks to the influence of trailblazing celebrities like David Bowie and Cher. Their fearless fashion choices and daring stage performances showcased the irresistible charm of bell-bottom jeans. The trend quickly caught on, captivating the hearts of fashion enthusiasts everywhere. Get ready to groove in style!
Peak The late 1970s marked the heyday of bell-bottom jeans when they reached the pinnacle of popularity. From disco dance floors to everyday fashion, people of all ages embraced the trend with open arms. The mesmerizing swish of the flared legs became a symbol of self-expression and effortless cool. Bell-bottoms ruled the fashion scene, captivating the masses like never before. Get ready to rock the flares!
Decline As the 1980s dawned, the fashion landscape underwent a transformation, bidding farewell to the dominance of bell-bottom jeans. New styles emerged, stealing the spotlight and shifting the collective fashion consciousness. While some loyal enthusiasts held onto their beloved flares, the trend gradually lost its cutting-edge status. It became a nostalgic relic of a bygone era, waiting for its resurgence. Farewell, bell-bottoms!
Obsolescence By the early 1990s, bell-bottom jeans were deemed a fashion relic of the past. No longer found in stores, they were reserved for the devoted few who cherished the retro aesthetic. Their time had come and gone, fading into the annals of fashion history. The swaying silhouette of bell-bottoms became a nostalgic reminder of a vibrant era, treasured by those who refused to let the trend die. A fashionable blast from the past!
Comeback But hold onto your flares because the story doesn't end there! In recent years, bell-bottom jeans have made a triumphant comeback, defying the passage of time. With a renewed appreciation for vintage styles and a desire for nostalgia, fashionistas worldwide are rediscovering the charm of bell-bottoms. Their popularity is skyrocketing once again, proving that true style always finds its way back. Welcome back, bell-bottoms!

Denim Jackets

Another example of the fashion cycle is the cycle of denim jackets

These were first introduced in the early 1900s as durable workwear for labourers. By the ‘50s, it became popular among young people as a symbol of rebellion and coolness. 

In the 1980s, denim jackets became a fashion statement for both men and women, being adorned with patches, and other embellishments.

In the ‘90s, it became oversized and baggy, presenting a grunge movement.

In the 2000s, these were popularized again with cuts and distressed details. In recent years, these have become staple item, turning into a classic item.

Fad Fashion & Classic Fashion

Fad Fashion and Classic Fashion are two different types of fashion trends that can exist within the fashion cycle.

Fad Fashion Definition

Fad fashion is characterized by its short-lived popularity, followed by a sudden burst of interest and hype. On the other hand Classic fashion is characterized by its timeless appeal and stable popularity over a long period.

Fad trends are often too trendy and fashionable at the moment, but they tend to lose their popularity too quickly, often in months.

Fad Fashion Examples

One example of fad fashion is the “Choker necklace” trend that became a hype in the late 2010s.

These tight-fitting necklaces were in high demand and they came in different styles and materials like fabric, velvet, leather and metal. However, this trend declined within a few years. People still wear chokers, but the craze is now over.

Another example of fad fashion is the craze for jelly shoes in the 1980s. 

These were plastic shoes made in bright neon colours which became popular among young girls and teenagers. These were cheap and readily available in stores, so gained popularity quickly. Though, by the end of the 1980s, they fell out of fashion. They have come back again in recent years, but the craze that was in years ago is no longer.

So, in the fashion cycle, fads can be seen as a part of the “peak” stage before declining rapidly. Fads can be driven by a variety of factors, such as celebrity endorsement, media influence or novelty value and availability.

Classic Fashion Definition

Classic fashion refers to clothing items and accessories that exhibit enduring elegance and timeless appeal. Unlike trend-driven items that experience fluctuations in popularity, classic pieces maintain a consistent presence throughout the fashion cycle. They possess a longer lifespan as they are not designed exclusively for a specific age group or limited to a particular season. While classic fashion may not always align with the latest trends, it maintains a strong following among consumers who appreciate the enduring allure of timeless style and prioritize high-quality craftsmanship. Classic fashion transcends passing fads, offering a reliable and sophisticated aesthetic that stands the test of time.

Classic Fashion Examples

Trench Coat

A classic blazer or a trench coat can be compared with trendier items for their balanced and stylish and elegant look.

Little Black Dress

The little black dress was popularized by Coco Chanel and has remained a staple in women's fashion since the 1920s.

Leather Handbag

A leather handbag is both stylish, functional, and long-lasting and is always in demand for years.

Loafer Shoes

The classic shoe style of loafers has been around for decades and is a comfortable and stylish choice for both men and women.

These are a few examples of classic fashion that emphasize its elegance, timelessness, and simplicity rather than the fleeting trends.

The Influential Factors: Unveiling the Dynamics of the Fashion Cycle

The fashion cycle is a very complex process, influenced by a range of factors, including changing tastes, cultural influences, economic conditions, social media influences, technological advancements, and above all, the arrival of new trends.

Cultural Trend or Influence

Fashion trends are deeply rooted in one’s own culture. These trends can be influenced by one’s local art, music, movies and other cultural phenomena. For example, Saree has been a trend in India for centuries, but its draping can be modified and influenced by different societies of India and movies. These days draping of sarees are greatly influenced by Bollywood and Tollywood movies. 

Economic Condition

The state of an economy, income, purchasing power, and health conditions are some important factors that control the fashion cycle and trends. During the recession, buyers control their budget, so, the sale of fine and rich fabrics, and bejewelled garments decrease. People buy less trendy, disposable items, and classic, timeless items more. 

Designer Influence

Designers create and promote new styles and trends, and their collections set the tone for the industry.

Technological Advancements

Development in fashion technology, development of machines, textile quality, and improvement of raw materials led to new trends and thus impact on fashion cycle. For example, after Industrialization in Britain, machine-made cheap textiles became a trend while handmade textiles demand went to fall.

Consumer Preferences

Ultimately, consumers drive the trends. Their taste, moods, preferences, and cultural influence play a key role. 

Social Media Influence

Fashion magazines, social media platforms, and celebrity endorsements greatly impact and drive trends.

These are some factors that play a significant role in trend-setting and thus in the fashion cycle. 


In conclusion, the fashion cycle encompasses the evolution of designs, colors, textures, and fabrics as they navigate through various stages. However, it is essential to remember that the ultimate objective of the fashion cycle is to achieve a sense of timelessness or timely occurrence. This serves as a crucial indicator for designers to forecast sales, maximize profitability, enhance product quality, and venture into new designs and offerings. By understanding and harnessing the power of the fashion cycle, industry players can create lasting impressions and stay ahead in this ever-evolving world of style and creativity.

Now that we have gained insights into the various stages of fashion trends, let us now explore the rich tapestry of different types of fashion trends that exist across the globe. Delve into the fascinating world of fashion as we uncover the diverse categories of trends that shape our ever-evolving industry. From cultural and seasonal trends to sustainable and global influences, witness the boundless creativity and unwavering desire for innovation within the realm of fashion. Join us on this captivating journey as we unravel the threads that weave together the dynamic landscape of fashion trends.

17 Must-Know Fashion Trends

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