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The fashion cycle

Lesson 1 in the fashion unit

Melissa Dwyer

on 11 July 2011

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Transcript of The fashion cycle

The Fashion Cycle Definition: A period of time in which fashion exists. Moving from introduction to obsolescence. Introduction
- Designs first previewed during fashion weeks by major designers.
- New styles, colours and textures are introduced.
- Fashion leaders wear the styles.
- They are offered are high prices and are produced in small quantities. Rise Stage:
- Manufacturers who copy designer clothes will produce items as apparel, that costs less by using less expensive fabrics or minimal detail.
- Fashions become accepted by more people as they can afford them.
- Massproduction further reduces the price of fashion and more sales result. Peak Stage:
- The fashion is at its most popular and accepted stage.
- There is mass production (though prices may not necessarily be low... they vary in this stage).
- Updating, by adding different features, colours or testures, can prolong this stage. Decline Stage:
- Consumer demand is decreasing.
- Fashion items have saturated the market.
- People do not want to pay a high price.
- Fashion retailers mark down the price of merchandise. Obsolescence:
- End of the fashion cycle, bottom of the hill.
- Consumers are no longer interested in the fashion and find other looks.
- Price may be low, but consumers aren't often willing to pay for it. Fashion can also be seen as cyclic, because designers look to the past for inspiration...

Fashion tends to move in cycles, features repeating themselves from time to time. A fashion cycle, refers to the gradual rise, acceptability and eventual decline in the popularity of a style. This therefore leads to two types of fashion, classic and fads.

Reinventing the wheel? If you look back in history it becomes clear that the rate of fashion change was slow. In fact, it was not unusual for one fashion trend to span an individual’s life, decades or even centuries. IN recent years, the fashion cylce is shortening. Reasons for this are:

•Fashion changes flourish in our open class systems
•A diffusion of wealth in the mass of society increases consumption and accelerates fashion change
•More leisure time means more time to think about and wear fashions
•Fashion change is accelerated by advances in technology (media exposure, machinery)
•Fashion change is related to the degree of social change that occurs
•The rate of fashion change is directly related to the degree of freedom and status given to women in society Fashion usually reflects social change so it is no great surprise to learn that it has undergone an incredible change this century. The twentieth century has seen the greatest change in society, in science and technology, education and the role of women. Fashion change has been brought about by three major factors:

•The changing role of women
•The disappearance of a rigid class structure
•The emergence of fashion for the teenager

The 1960s saw a revolution in fashion because of the introduction of a new concept – fashion for the teenager. Up until then, fashion was designed for the adult market and teenagers were forced to wear either children’s or adult’s clothes. Mary Quant was the innovator of fashion for the teenager and it was she who introduced the mini skirt. Fads

When a fashion lasts for an extremely short time it is called a fad. Perhaps it is popular only form one or two seasons. It is possible for a fad to return at some later stage in the fashion cycle.

Fads can also put their stamp on clothing classics. For a while, shoes may have chunky heals or square or pointed toes. Bolero jackets may be made of leather, fringed or crocheted. A dinner suit may have very wide or narrow lapels.

When considering fads we are looking at such features as hemlines, waistlines, sleeves, hiplines, colours and shape. Examples of fads seen in the latter part of this century would be bubble skirts, short, tight leather skirts, bell-bottom trousers and sleeves, hot pants, knickerbockers, shorts worn under open maxi-coats and mini-skirts worn with high boots. Classics

Clothing classics are time-tested styles of garments. The features of these styles have suited most figure types and have not dated through time.

Some classics are identified by the names of the people who were responsible for bringing them to the fashion scene. Among these is the Chanel suit, the casual front-buttoned cardigan sweater, the velvet chesterfield collar and the belted, boxy, Norfolk jacket.

Some classics take the name of the place where they originated, such as the Breton (a women’s hat worn by peasants in Brittany) and argyle socks from Scotland.

Many casual clothes have become classics – blazers, trench coats, moccasins and caps. Dressier women’s classics include princess styles, shirtmaker dressers and bolero jackets. The dinner suit and three-piece suits for men fit into this category also. Some classics persistently recur as they satisfy a basic need in clothing.

Fabrics, materials and colours also become classics. Linen, crepe, suede, patent leather, velvet and corduroy rarely go completely out of style. Plaid and striped designs are classic patterns, and navy blue, black and white are found in fashionable wardrobes year after year. BODY TYPES Often categorised in different ways Some people fit exactly into one of these groups, but most, while fitting into one group, have some features of the other two groups...


Characteristically small frame with narrow shoulders and hips and minimal muscle and fat


Typically of medium build with broad shoulders and narrow waist and hips, having a good muscle coverage and little fat.


Generally of heavy build but not necessarily of large frame. This type is well covered and may have shoulders narrower than hips. Or according to 'Trinny and Susannah', can be quite a bit more involved... apple bell brick cello column cornett wine glass hour-glass lollipop pear skittle vase
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