My biggest prediction for fashion? The downfall of trends and the rise of personal style.
I don’t know about you, but I’m totally burnt out on trends. I feel like I’m constantly inundated with the newest “thing”. I’ve been watching trends go “in” and “out” at a rapid pace for years. I’m so over trying to keep up.
I’m not alone in this sentiment. There’s tons of social media discourse around the topic. I think social media and ultra-fast fashion have exhausted and overwhelmed us. After a while, all of the microtrends start to blur together and people are stuck with closets full of cheap clothes that aren’t even “in” anymore.
Trends Have Always Been A Thing
As long as fashion has existed, trends have existed. Historically, fashion was a way for the upperclass to set itself apart from the lower classes. Pre-Industrial Revolution, clothing was expensive and had to be made by hand. Only the nobility could afford it. Once they got tired of their clothes, they would pass them down to their servants (a major perk of the job) who would then sell them. This cycle would continue until the items ended up in the hands of the lower classes. Then, the nobility would create new trends to set themselves apart again.
Post-Industrial Revolution, clothing was easier and cheaper to manufacture. This sped up the trend cycle. By the 1900s, we saw the major trend cycles that defined decades. Back then, trends were pushed by print fashion magazines.
In the 2000s, we saw fast fashion retailers booming. In the 2010s, we saw the birth of fashion bloggers and influencers, who have multi-million dollar careers built on pushing the latest trends. The combination of social media, influencers, and the successful fast fashion model created the perfect environment for ultra-fashion fashion and microtrends.
The Rise Of Personal Style
When trends are accessible to everyone, how do the fashion leaders set themselves apart? By not participating in them at all.
While social media is a major contributor to an insane trend cycle, it also may be a major contributor to its downfall. People are demanding highly curated content. And thanks to social media, they’re getting it. It’s easier than ever to find content tailored to your personal style.
A great example of this are the fans of Slimane-era Saint Laurent (read: me). Skinny jeans, leather moto jackets, and “herion-chic” rock n’ roll style are technically “out” right now. Yet, Slimane-era pieces are still selling for thousands on the secondhand market, smaller brands are copying the look, and there are tons of Instagram pages dedicated to this style.
Consumers are also more educated than ever on the environmental consequences of fashion. Many are turning to secondhand fashion. It’s a way to do less damage to the environment and to find unique pieces at a more affordable price.
I predict that we’ll see consumers, especially Gen Alpha and younger Gen Z, turning to unique pieces with higher quality that speak to their personal style. I think we’ll start to see less people buying into cheap microtrends. Constantly chasing the latest trend with be “out”.
Is This The Death Of Trends?
Will this be the death of trends? No. Will we stop looking to Fashion Week for style influences? No. Will I stop writing about my favorite upcoming trends? No.
While the rise of personal style doesn’t mean the total death of trends, I do think it will change them. I think that we will start seeing trends that are more generic and fit a variety of personal styles. Consumers will only embrace the ones that fit them. We’ll see less microtrends and more influencers embracing a signature style instead of just wearing whatever a brand sent them. We’ll see even more consumers turning to secondhand and vintage clothing as a way to buy items that set themselves apart.
If you’re interested in shopping unique high quality secondhand fashion, I release a curated list of items every Saturday.