On The Shortened Cycle of Trends

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I asked Anna, our Splendid intern, to write a commentary post for Think Splendid on some of the trends we're seeing reemerge in 2012 in the fashion, design and wedding spaces. Here is Anna's take on why some trends are seeing a shorter cycle between popularity phases:

On the Shortened Cycle of Trends
by Anna Kolander

As much as we like to think of ourselves as being progressive individuals, people don’t like sudden change. We’re stubborn, and if we feel like something is being forced upon us, we are most likely going to resist it. Although new things can be wonderful and exciting, change that happens too quickly can also feel shocking and uncomfortable.

In our society, trends are one of the major ways that we can view constant change. Some of the current trends include: anything sparkly, “Tangerine Tango” (the color of the year, as announced by Pantone) and a revival of 1980’s style. Interestingly enough, in 2005, we saw these exact same trends. Those of us who are familiar with trends can see right away that the math doesn’t add up. Trends cycle every 15-20 years, but it’s only been seven. Why have these trends come around so quickly again? Perhaps we could say that there was a sort of “false start” in 2005.

Just like any other change, a trend can never be forced on someone. Perhaps one of the reasons for the false start of these particular trends in 2005 is that social media, which, at that time, was just being introduced as a major part of our society, is making trends too readily available. Maybe all the fashion blogs, websites, and online magazines were telling us what to wear before we were ready for them to. They had the tools to quickly and constantly update us on what was trending at the time, so they did, but we weren’t ready to embrace these trends quite yet.

Even though the trends were introduced in 2005, we couldn’t get used to them then. They needed time to be introduced naturally, making us feel comfortable with them and accept them as a part of our personal style. Now that these trends have had time to develop and be integrated into our society, we could almost say that they did so without us really realizing the changes. For example, peplum skirts, defined shoulders, and color blocking are seen all the time, and even though these styles were inspired by the great and wonderfully gaudy decade, most people don’t view these things as being distinctly 80’s styles. They are very “2012” because they were gradually introduced. Now these items and trends have become part of wardrobes at a comfortable pace, and we can feel like we can claim these styles as being a part of the present.

As a child of an Internet-addicted generation, I am constantly scouring fashion blogs, following my favorite designers on Twitter, and obsessing over the gorgeous outfits that I pin onto my Pinterest. Although I am an avid follower of all things fashion and a religious Vogue subscriber, I am more likely to fall in love with a new trend after I see someone working it as their own personal style as I’m walking around downtown, going out to eat, or grabbing coffee with a friend. Seeing trends in the real world, being worn by real women, seems to me to be a wonderfully natural thing.

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