Fashion Cycles & the Consumer

◦ With the person beside you determine the definition of
◦ Style
◦ Design
◦ Fashion
◦ You need to have a solid understanding of these terms
from previous lessons before we can move forward.
Lesson Objectives
◦ Examine the fashion cycle as it relates to time and sales
◦ Learn that a relationship exists between the fashion
cycle, consumer spending, and fashion acceptance.
◦ Different consumer groups including fashion innovators,
leaders, followers, and laggards are considered in
relation to the fashion cycle and fashion acceptance.
◦ Learn the meaning of fad, trend, fashion cycle
Style Recap
◦Remember what the word style means? A style
refers to the unique characteristics of a garment.
It is these unique characteristics that distinguish
one garment or accessory from another.
◦Coats, skirts, dresses, and pants are all styles;
however, there are many variations within each
style group.
1910- Present
Cycling costume
Lounging Pajamas
Front Pleated
Pedal Pusher
Clam Diggers
Stirrup or Stretch
Bell Bottom
Hot Pants
Palazzo Pants
Drawstring, Jogging, Full Skort, Cigarette Jeans
Jean Outfit, Baggy Jeans, Pleated Slack, Loave Pant,
Cycling Shorts
Stirrup or Stretch
◦Although this list provides a timeline of some pant
style variations, what is important to remember is
that the style of a garment never changes.
Rather, what does change is the acceptance of
a style by the consumer.
◦When a style is accepted and purchased by the
majority of a consumer group it becomes
Laver’s Law
10 years before its time:
5 years before its time:
1 year before its time:
Peak of its popularity/current:
1 year after its time:
10 years after its time:
20 years after its time:
30 years after its time:
50 years after its time:
70 years after its time:
100 years after its time:
150 years after its time:
Why Does Fashion Change
◦ As noted previously it is a consumer desire for new and innovative
fashion is one reason fashion is constantly changing.
◦ In fact, the notion of the changing nature of fashion is recognized
in the numerous definitions of fashion.
◦ To understand this changing nature of fashion you must look and
study fashion within the context of the period in which it was
produced, as fashion is always in harmony with the period in
which it was created.
Hamilton’s Influences of Fashion Continuum
Influencing Factors
Individual choice
Individual taste
Design and aesthetic knowledge
Individuality and conformity
Attitudes towards fashion
Social Groups
Fashion leaders and innovators
Fashion cycle
Trickle-down/traditional adoption theory
Trickle-up theory
Trickle- across/mass adoption theory
Fashion diffusion
Fashion System
Three industry levels
Fashion designers
Retail Buyers
Fashion media and promotion
Global production
Cultural System
Cultural values and ideology
Tradition versus change
Media, communication, arts, economy, religion, and
political systems
Generational and population trends
Fashion Industry as Initiator of
◦ Considering the fashion industry as the initiator of fashion
change suggests that the industry dictates new fashion
trends thus forcing change on the consumer.
◦ Fashion houses in Paris as influencing and dictating
consumer choices through the media.
◦ Consumers have been known to reject new fashions that
they believe have been forced on them.
Consumers as the Initiator of
◦ Many consumers love expressing themselves through
their clothing choices regardless of what the fashion
industry is promoting at that moment.
◦ Considering the consumer as the initiator of change
suggests that a group of consumers focus on specific
fashion products which results in the development of
specific fashion trends.
Four Theories that Explain Fashion
1. The upper socioeconomic (wealthy) consumer influences the
beginning of fashion trends.
2. Fashion trends occur simultaneously within all socioeconomic
3. Subcultures (e.g. hippies) influence the development of fashion
4. Any creative and/or innovative individual can influence the
development of fashion trends if their creations marry with the
social climate of the period.
Consumers as Initiators of Change
◦ Psychological reasons include the notion of diminished returns, as well as an
understanding that consumers become bored with what they have and desire
something new and exciting = artificial obsolesce.
◦ Psychological reasons focus on consumer wants.
◦ Rational reasons focus on consumer needs.
◦ For example, environmental needs have initiated change in fabric technology.
The development of smart fabrics such as the UV screening fabrics is an
example of a rational reason for initiating fashion change.
◦ Social needs may also initiate rational reasons for change. For example, the
“dress for success” phenomenon began when more women entered upper
management and administrative positions during the 1980s.
Fashion Change is Gradual:
◦ Although changes in fashion are constant, for example
new fashions appear each season, these changes are
by nature gradual.
◦ Fashion change evolves.
◦ It is this evolutionary rather than revolutionary process
that provides the foundation for those who are involved
in fashion forecasting and identifying fashion trends, as
well as designers, stylists, and those who work in the
area of fashion communication and marketing.
What is the Fashion Cycle?
◦ The term fashion cycle refers to the acceptance of a style
(remember the definition of the term style)
◦ Beginning with the styles introduction, and moving through
the styles growth, maturation, and eventual decline.
◦ Styles that last for more than one season are considered
◦ There is no set time frame for each style to move through
the fashion cycle rather all styles go through the same
stages of the fashion cycle regardless of the duration of
their popularity.
Fashion Cycle & Fads
◦ A style
that is short-lived is called a fad.
◦ Fads can typically be produced and sold at a lower price point and
hence flood the market for a short period of time and move through
the fashion cycle very quickly
◦ The fashion industry is not particularly fond of fads as the money spent
on the design, colour decisions, fabric selection, apparel and
accessory production, and marketing can be quite costly and never
recouped should the fad realize a quick demise.
◦ Examples of fads include:
◦ mood rings 70s/90s
◦ leg warmers 80s/00s.
◦ A fad that has stood the test of time can become a trend such as: White
T-shirts, jeans
What are our FADS?
◦ As a class lets aim to compile a list of TEN fads you have seen in
your life time:
The Fashion Cycle: CLASSICS
◦ A classic is a style that has staying power in the fashion cycle and hence the fashion
◦ A classic becomes a wardrobe staple.
◦ Examples of a classic include:
- jeans
- white t-shirts
- Blazer
- trench coat
Turn to your Fashion Cycle Hand Out
◦ Introduction
◦ -One-of-a-kind
◦ -Custom made
◦ -Seen at Major designer
◦ Fashion Shows
◦ -“Avant Garde” (cutting edge)
◦ Rise
◦ -Accepted by more people
◦ -Sold in exclusive stores
◦ -Expensive
◦ -Celebrities wear
◦ Culmination
◦ -Mass Produced
◦ -Wore by most Consumers
◦ -Ready-to-Wear
◦ -Average, affordable price
◦ -Malls, department stores etc.
◦ Decline
◦ -Sale Items
◦ -End of Season
◦ -e.g. Winners
◦ -Sidewalk Sales
◦ Obsolescence
◦ -Discount Stores
◦ -Liquidation price
◦ -Wore by consumers
◦ to whom fashion is not essential
◦ -e.g. ‘What not to Wear”
Fashion Cycle & Trends:
◦ A fashion trend refers to design and style ideas that major collections have in common and
indicate the direction in which fashion is moving.
◦ The trend may appear as a common silhouette, colour, or fabrication.
◦ Styles enter, mature, and exit the fashion cycle simultaneously.
◦ In other words, as one style is being introduced another is maturing, while another is on the
decline. When a style has completed the fashion cycle it does not disappear forever. It
eventually finds its way back into consumer favour often with a modern twist of a past
◦ It may take from ten to more than fifty years for a style to return to the fashion cycle.
◦ The reinterpretation and resurrection of styles from the past has become more common in
the industry since 1995. Examples include the wrap dress popular in the 1970s which made a
comeback for 2007/2008 and pointed pumps popular during the 1950s.

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