The fashion cycle, which sees new trends come and go, causes a constant change in the fashion business. When a specific item, shape, color, or other fresh look becomes increasingly popular, it becomes a fashion trend.

A trend or fad can be influenced by a variety of causes, such as well-known celebrity clothing, fashion merchandising companies, designer showcases, and textile producers.

The introduction of a trend is the first stage of a five-stage cycle that leads to its obsolescence in the world of fashion. Once a trend hits its height, it will start to lose favor until the point at which it is no longer seen as fashionable and is thus rejected by both the fashion industry and consumers, entering the final stage of the cycle.

What is the cycle of fashion?

The fashion cycle is a natural evolution of a trend’s emergence, general acceptance, decline, and eventual rejection at the point of obsolescence. Here are the five stages of a typical fashion cycle:


The new fashion trend first reaches the market during the debut stage. This introduction may be a deliberate move by a marketing firm or manufacturer, a new haute couture design that debuted during fashion week, or an item of clothing worn by a well-known person.

The style is typically only offered in limited quantities and at a premium cost from a select group of designers or shops.


The new fashion style enters the increase stage, sometimes referred to as the “fashion acceptance” stage, when it starts to gain popularity in the fashion business and is formally given the coveted “trend” designation.

The demand for the item rises as more celebrities and fashion industry influencers, including those on social media, don outfits that feature the trend. More retail outlets will start carrying the style as a result of this approval by fashion influencers.


During the trend’s peak, the public fully embraced the style, and many normal consumers have begun donning it. The majority of stores will have noticed and copied the trend. It will be widely produced at a range of price points, notably at lower rates.


During the decline stage, the trend will have oversaturated the market. During this time, the trend’s extreme popularity will start to alienate customers who prefer their clothing to feel avant-garde and individual rather than conventional.


Once the trend concludes the fashion cycle, mainstream fashion consumers who have switched to fresh trends in the introduction or increase stages view it as old and out of style.

A fad may go out of style, but that doesn’t mean it will never come back into style. The fashion cycle is perpetually repeating, bringing back “old fashions” to move them through the fashion cycle.

As an illustration, consider the popularity of jean waistlines: high-waisted jeans peaked in the 1940s, late 1970s, early 1980s, and the 2010s, whereas low-waisted jeans peaked in the 1960s, late 1990s, and early 2000s.

How to apply the cycle of fashion to the design process?

The fashion cycle can be a big assistance for young fashion designers—or a huge distraction. Here are a few ways you may enhance your design process by utilizing your understanding of the fashion cycle:

Focus on meeting needs rather than following trends

Burnout can result from expending too much time and creative energy trying to predict the next big thing. Fashion changes frequently. In rare circumstances, a particular fashion trend may emerge and fall in popularity in fewer than two years.

Think about “filling wants” rather than worrying about trends; for example, if big jackets are trendy, there may be an unmet need for cozy, slim-fitting coats.

Keep in mind that change is normal

Even if one of your ideas becomes a great trend. It will eventually lose popularity as a result of its natural decline once it reaches its peak. It’s crucial to keep in mind that all trends, not just yours. Go through this point of the cycle when your design becomes obsolete.

The fashion industry is always changing, therefore throughout your career, both you and your designs will develop and change.

Trust your gut feeling

You might want to drop a certain style from your clothing line when it starts to look dated. However, you might not have to. Consider keeping a unique silhouette or design in your range rather than getting rid of it to follow the latest fashion if it is approaching obsolescence.

If your goal as a designer is to make a timeless item that people enjoy, you must trust your instincts rather than the fads of the fashion cycle.