Trend. It reflects the concept of being “in the moment”, temporary, fleeting. It is the antonym of timeless. Which is why it is ironic, that the word itself seems to have a permanent longevity and is unlikely to be rendered obsolete any time soon.

“The very nature of trends is that they are not meant to withstand the test of time and so obtaining the lifeblood for the concept is almost parasitical”

Trends are almost a sub-category of popularity; items and activities deemed as such are worthy of the “cool” label – for the time being. The very nature of trends is that they are not meant to withstand the test of time and so obtaining the lifeblood for the concept is almost parasitical. Truth be told, the world needs trends and their obliteration would be the catalyst for destruction of the world order we have come to know. Numerous industries, Hollywood, social media, even oil, require trends in one form of another and to varying extents.

“Designating Fashion Week(s) almost seems redundant in a time where every other week, somewhere in the world, a city or country is holding their week of fashion”

Fashion does not simply require trends. Rather, it has a symbiotic relationship with trends. Something said to be “in fashion” (with its use not limited only in reference to the fashion industry), is trending. Being in the midst of Ready-to-Wear Autumn 2016, trends are really the stripes of the season, with the wheels of the trend-charting fashion machine spinning faster than ever, as updates of what is “In” and “Out” are being sold to consumers at unprecedented rates and via all channels. Yet, unlike the cyclical nature of most trends, the fashion industry does not seem to come with a downturn. Designating Fashion Week(s) almost seems redundant in a time where every other week, somewhere in the world, a city or country is holding their week of fashion or its equivalent.

If trends are reflective of the times, then there is no doubt that we live in a period flooded by fashion. It is not even necessary to turn to runways for the relevant confirmation. The weekly release of new ZARA collections is indicative enough of the speed at which fashion is being demanded. Currently, in terms of revenue, it is the high street fashion brands that are turning the largest profits. These brands generate their high turnover through whetting their consumer’s appetite by providing the latest trends at highly affordable prices. To do so, high street brands need to identify the latest trends in order to fuel the fire, but a fire must first be sparked and so these brands also depend upon the existence of trends and their potency in generating desire for demand.

Gone are the times when high fashion brands solely dictated what was chic. It seems that even high fashion cannot resist the temptation of jumping onto high street’s rapid-fire-esque production bandwagon, as evidenced by the reconstruction of a number of luxury brand’s production models (such as Burberry and Tom Ford). For most, the element of acquired appreciation is no longer as important as the possession of everything Insta-worhty. Similarly, the question to wear or not wear the skinny (jean) is redundant. There is no longer a need to sit on sides of an “outfit camp” when dichotomous trends are now set by models on social media with styles and minds of their own.

Therefore, even the concept of a trend has evolved. Trends are now much more representative of a desire to emulate an individual’s lifestyle, with vloggers and bloggers competing for roles as trendsetters, in a pool once filled only by traditional celebrities. Yet, two things remain unchanged. Firstly, the perpetual power of trends reflects a craving for emulation – consumers continue to gravitate towards a point of reference for their fashion choices. In a world where change has the luxury of being instant, it is not difficult to understand why comfort is derived from relying on a fixed constant, should this constant be Kendall Jenner or Fausto Puglisi. Secondly, the time-tested, inseparable relationship between fashion and trends, which like yin and yang complement, support and drive each other forward come rain or shine, squad or clique, Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter.

Claire Elizabeth Seah

Image Credits: kaboompics

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