As we already know that Fashion is about creating trends, This lecture is about Fashion Cycle and Process. It consists of 3 stages:

  1. Introduction
  2. Peak
  3. Decline


I decided to use a theory of Diffusion by Rogers, that was published by professor Everett Rogers in 1962, as he seeks to explain How, Why and at What rate new ideas and technology spreads. The actual spread of a new idea (lets use it as trend) are influenced by 4 elements:

  1. The innovation itself
  2. Communication channels
  3. Time
  4. Social system

This Process of a Cycle relies heavily on human capital, because New trend as an innovation, from the very beginning, must be widely adopted in order to self-sustain. Within the rate of adoption, there is a point at which an innovation reaches Critical Mass. First adoption starts with Trendsetters, them are fashion innovators and are involved in any innovation-desicion process. On a sales peak trends are sustained by Mainstream, and at the end of Fashion Cycle we have late adopters, Laggards, during when trend experiences a decline from society. Lets categorize innovators in detail:

  1. Innovators (trendsetters, pioneers)
  2. Early majority (conformists, fashion victims)
  3. Late majority (conformists, fashion victims)
  4. Laggards (so called No Hope)

To understand the scheme better you can simply follow on emotional content (quotes in red)!

But not all fashion products go through a short, seasonal life cycle. Some can never become completely obsolete and are accepted for an extended period of time. For these products, a Decline is often related to structural changes in peoples habits and lifestyles. For e.g.: polo shirts, little black dress (eternal piece), jeans.

The short-time life fashion cycle we call as a FAD, the one that comes and goes. And if not to mention Rogers Theory, the vast majority uses another name – The Trickle-Down Theory. And a best example of trends life cycle is of course the movie “The Devil wears Prada”. Lets remember the scene , where the powerful editor-in-chief of an influentional fashion magazine gives a lesson to her assistant explaining how fashion trend came into reality: the blue color of the cheap sweater she is wearing was firstly introduced by a trendsetter designer, then it gained popularity with the help of the media system, and as time passed, it became a copy in the mass market to be finally discounted in the outlet where the girl bought it (Ann Hathaway played her role so naturally!)


First The Trickle-Down Theory was mentioned by American economist and sociologist, Thorstein Veblen in his book The theory of the Leisure Class. He stated that the fashion worn by the upper class was imitated by the lower class. So The Trickle-Down Theory relied on hierarchical society and the desire to move up the social ladder.Not only was this evident in history but continued into the haute couture with “knock-off” designer labels being sold to lower class consumers. However, with the shift from high culture to popular and sub- culture as the main influence on fashion trends, the way in which fashion distributed itself throughout the different classes of society is also changing.