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Fashion Terminology

And Fashion Cycle

Fashion terminology a few terms

Style Design Change Acceptance Taste Classics Fad Limited fashion Mass fashion Trend

Style is any particular characteristic or look in apparel or accessories A style is a type of product that has one or more specific features or characteristics that distinguish it and make it different from other products of the same type Manufacturer assigns a style number to each new design A style may come and go in fashion, but that specific style always remains in that style, whether it is in fashion or not

Polo shirt A style

Design variations of a Style

The individual interpretations or versions of the same style Within a specific style, there can be many variations in trimmings, texture, decoration or other details For e.g., T - shirt is a style the different necklines, the fabric construction, embroideries, pockets etc. may vary which vary the design of the style

Designs polo shirts

Fashion is interesting as it is changing Though it leads to uncertainty, this change motivates consumer buying so often Sense of timing ability to understand the speed of acceptance and change Fashion changes because
It reflects changes in peoples life styles and current events People need change They get bored with what they have

Acceptance makes a style into fashion It implies that consumers must buy and wear a style to make it a fashion It is up to the people to decide whether the styles will become fashion The degree of acceptance also provides clues to fashion trends for coming seasons

An individuals preference for one style or another is referred to as taste Good taste implies sensitivity to what is beautiful and appropriate It resembles quality and simplicity

A classic is a style that continues to be accepted, to a greater or lesser degree, over an extended period of time Its acceptance endures for several seasons or longer E.g., blazer jackets, button down collared shirts

Classic styles

Styles that sweep suddenly into popularity are accepted with great fervor, and then just as quickly disappear are called fads Their acceptance is for a brief period of time short lived fashions

Tattoos Body Piercing Tags Waif look Torn pants

Limited fashion
A very new style, whose acceptance is limited to those who want to be first to adopt the very newest fashions and can afford their often astronomical prices is high fashion They may be affordable only for people in top income Sometimes styles may be limited because they are too sophisticated to the needs of the average man or woman

Mass fashion
They are volume fashions These styles are accepted and worn by a large number of people Mass fashions are produced and sold in large quantities at moderate prices and constitute the bread and butter of the fashion industry

Fashion Trends
Fashion is not static; its dynamic This movement has a direction The directions in which fashions are moving are called fashion trends
E.g., mens ties width & length Womens sleeves either get longer or get shorter Length of skirt Women shoes clunkier or slimmer Fabrics wrinkled to creaseless

Trends Skirts, Ties

Fashion Trends
The changes from season to season may be slight but they have a direction Fashion practitioners recognize the direction or trend helps in forecasting Fashion forward describe styles that gain acceptance Avant-garde fashions are unorthodox, experimental, unusual or shocking Though avant-garde fashions are noticed, they may not gain broad acceptance E.g., weird hairstyles, color combinations of apparel etc

Fashion Cycle
Every fashion has a life span fashion cycle Overall fashion looks and individual styles fall in this pattern Three major stages
A beginning or rise Peak or very popular stage Declining stage

Fashion cycles differ


C A A Rise (leaders) B Peak (followers) C Decline (laggards)

Fashion X Fashion Y

Stages of Fashion Cycle variation of merchandising at each stage




Pioneering/ Introduction Testing styles Prestige ads Limited sales Limited production

Mass acceptance Volume production Full assortments Regular price lines Volume sales Volume selling ads

Phasing out stage Price reductions Special purchases Off-price ads Broken assortments



Introduction of a style
Most new styles introduced at high price Talented designers sponsored to design use creativity, quality of raw materials or fine workmanship to maximum New apparel is created by changing elements like line, shape, color, fabric and details Production costs are high Few people can afford Production in small quantity gives more freedom, flexibility and room for creativity

Increase in popularity
New styles worn by celebrities on tv or magazines Popular styles are copied by other manufacturers Use less expensive fabric and modify design to sell the style at lower prices. High priced designers have secondary or bridge or diffusion lines that sell at lower prices adaptations of original designs in greater quantities

Peak of popularity
When a fashion is at the height of popularity, with mass acceptance, it may be in such demand that more manufacturers copy it or produce adaptations of it at many price levels Designers are flattered or resentful of copying Copying may be adaptations or knockoffs

Classic Bean Boots (Original)

Manolo Blahnik (Copied)

Decline in popularity
The mass produced style will make the fashion conscious people tire of it and to look for something new Consumers may still wear the style but no longer ready to buy them at regular prices Retail stores put them on sale racks

Rejection of a Style/ Obsolescence

This is beginning of a new style Customers have already turned to new looks Discarding of a style just because it is out of fashion is called as consumer obsolescence

Lengths of cycles
Some fashions take a short time to peak, others take longer, some decline slowly, others swiftly 1. Classics 2. Fads 3. Cycles within cycles- design elements like
color, silhouette or details change, even when the style remains popular

Cycles within cycles

4. Interrupted cycles when manufacturers and retailers do not stock fearing risk, consumer buying is halted prematurely Normal progress may be interrupted by a social upheaval, economic depression or war 5. Recurring cycles after a fashion dies, it may resurface Designers often borrow from the past a style reappears years later, but it is interpreted with a change in fabric and detail Designers may be inspired by nostalgic looks of the last century, but they use different fabrics, colors and details that make the looks unique to today

Fashion cycles come in five stages:
Introduction of a new style Increase in popularity Peak of popularity Decline in popularity Rejection, or obsolescence Classics Fads Cycles within cycles Recurring cycles

Length of cycles have four different categories:

To ponder
Does your current wardrobe represent one or more stages of the fashion cycle? Which stage or stages and why? Provide examples of products other than apparel and accessories that are currently being affected by fashion.

Consumer identification with fashion cycles

Consumer groups Fashion Leaders
Fashion Innovators Fashion Motivators/ Role Models Fashion Victims

Fashion followers

Fashion Leaders
People who look for new fashion and wear it before it becomes generally acceptable They are confident of their own taste They may have a stylist to advise them They dare to be different; attract the attention of others They are very small % of the public

Fashion innovators
These fashion leaders create fashion They may be designers; or want to express their individuality They look for interesting new styles, colors, fabrics and ways to accessorize their clothes Boutiques/ design themselves They like to wear beautiful or unusual Fashion forward or avant-garde

Fashion Motivators/ Role Models

Only few fashion leaders have the beauty, status or wealth to become fashion role models Else they lend their new styles to celebrities to get publicity Public events, films, television popularize the style on celebrities They may be anyone featured in the media royalty, politicians, TV and film stars, rock stars, super models etc

Fashion Victims
People with too much money to spend who become slaves to designer brands They are people who blindly and stupidly follow a brand without any discernment and without any analysis As long as its the latest rage, they buy it without thinking about adapting it to themselves

Fashion followers
Fashion needs followers, or it would not exist Most people seek acceptance through conformity and follow world, national or community fashion leaders to feel confident Some are early adopters, some go with the majority and some lag behind Many busy people wanted to be judged, not by how they look or wear but by their intelligence Fashion followers make most manufacturers copyists or adapters

Fashion followers
Why do people follow fashion?
They lack time, money and interest to devote to fashion leadership They are busy with family and job and think that fashion is unimportant They need a period of exposure to new styles before accepting them They are insecure about their taste They want to fit in with their peer group They tend to imitate people whom they admire

To ponder
Do you agree or disagree that there are different fashions for different groups of people? List examples to prove your answer.

Manufacturing and Retailing

Manufacturers and retailers respond to fashion leaders and followers in their product development and merchandising Designer collections provide for fashion leaders Manufacturers provide merchandise for fashion followers E.g., Retailer Wal-Mart provide volumes to followers whereas retailer Saks Fifth Avenue identify with fashion leaders