Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fashion cycle and Fashion theories

Evolution of fashion cycle
Fashion acceptance is usually described as a fashion cycle.
The fashion cycle is usually depicted as a bell shaped curve with 5 stages.
  1. Introduction
  2. Rise in popularity
  3. Peak of popularity
  4. Decline in popularity
  5. Rejection
Introduction of a style
  • Most new styles are introduced in the high level.
  • Designers creates the designs with few limitations on creativity, quality of raw material or amount of fine workmanship.
  • The create new apparel and accessory style by changing elements like line shape color ect…
  • Product costs are high and only few can afford.
  • Production in small quantity gives the designer more freedom, flexibility.
  • New products are shown to retail buyers and press.
  • At the first stage of cycle, fashion implies only style and newness.
  • Celebrities, TV stars, models buy these clothes as they want to wear them in some events.
Increase in popularity
  • When new styles are seen worn by celebrities on TV or magazines they attract the attention of the general public.
  • Viewers may wish to buy the new styles but perhaps cannot afford them.
  • Manufactures use less expensive fabric and modify the designs to sell in low price.
  • Some companies also do imitation of designer originals at low prices.
  • High priced designers now have secondary sales line which sell at lower prices so they are able to sell adoptions of their original designs in great quantity.
Peak of popularity
  • When fashion is at height of popularity it may be in such demand that more manufactures copy it or produce adaptations of it at many price levels.
Decline in popularity
  • After so many designs copies are mass produced, people get tired of that style and begin to look for something new.
  • Consumers still wear garments in style but they don’t buy them at regular prices.
  • Retail stores put declining styles on the sale rack.
Rejection of a style

  • In the past fashion cycle some consumers must have already turned to new look.
  • The rejection of a style just because it is out of fashion is called consumers obsolescence.

Length of cycles

  • Fashion always follows the same cyclic pattern.
  • There is no measurable time table for a fashion cycle.
  • Some takes short time to peak and popularity and some takes longer.
  • Some decline slowly some very fast
  • Some styles will sell in a single season some several seasons
  • Some fashion fades quickly others never disappear.


  • Some styles never become complete obsolete, but interest remain more or less accepted for an extended period.
  • Jeans, A-line kurtha, polo shirt, loafers and sari is a very good example for classic fashion.
  • Short lived fashion is called fad.
  • They lack the design strength to hold consumers attention for a long time.
  • Piercing, tattoos, spikes, sleeves, neck lines…are some good examples for fads.
Cycles within cycles
  • Design elements such as colour, texture, silhouette may change even though the style itself remains popular.
  • Jeans is a good example (skin fit, boot cut, low waist, high waist, different washes, torn jeans)

Fashion theories
Adaptation of fashion

  • To understand how new fashion ideas are spread and how they are adapted to the taste, life-style and budgets of various costumers.
  • Basically there are three variations of the fashion adaptation process traditional adaptation, reverse adaptation, and mass dissemination.

Trickle-down theory (traditional adaptation)

  • It is based on the traditional process of copying and adapting trendsetting fashion from, Paris, London, New York designers.
  • Couture designer fashion is expensive and it is affordable by only a few people.
  • Those designs are copied again and again at lower prices until they have been seen often by the conservative buyers.
  • It starts from to high fashion to the common people.

Trickle-up theory (reverse adaptation)

  • It starts from street fashion to high fashion.
  • Since 1960s designers and manufactures pay more attention to the customers innovations .
  • They watch people on street to find ideas.
  • The “gypsy” look is a good example of a street look which reached the runway.

Trickle-across theory (mass dissemination)

  • Modern communications bring fashion from around the world into our homes instantly.
  • Many separate markets have developed to various age range, life style, tastes.
  • Various designer and manufacturer labels appeal to various market segments at different price points.
  • Mass production means that many different styles can be accepted at a same time.


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