Fashion – how trends are made

ZARA, that’s the big fashion retailer that makes fashion addicts feel like in heaven.

Why? Because they have beautiful chic designs, light fabrics and shapes, relatively high quality clothes, and this particular “atmosphere” for little money.

But ever thought of how Zara decides what is trendy and to sell in their shops? Why do they sell shirts and trousers in nude colors and floral prints in their stores this season?

Some people claim that they simply copy designs of big brands like MiuMiu or Balmain. And there is lots of evidence out there in the internet. Bloggers such as Fashistanbuller, Cyril Foiret from trendland.com or Jessie from lesmads.de have great examples of Zara’s copycat activities.     In response, Zara comments that they only get inspiration from the great fashion labels, which surely is nothing wrong to do. The easiest answer they can give is certainly that they follow the TREND. But who decides what is trendy and what not?

Looking for a clear answer is really hard. Everybody seems to have a different answer to this question. Just to give some examples, here is a video from blogger JudyPink from clairebriston.com:

And some more opinions from several online platforms:

“Everyday cool people on the streets and at schools start trends. Fashion designers copy these trends and act like they invented them.”

“Designers, whatever they put out in their shows trickles down to everyone one else. First, people like celebrity’s and rich people get to wear the clothes cause they are given to them or they purchase them. “

“I think it’s dictated by a group of homosexual men,who get together                                                                       every season to decide what’s hip and who  will be the new ‘it’ girl. These men work                                         for the most well known fashion magazines. “

“Fashion trends come from the runway. Editors from fashion magazines usually have front row seats and they base their photo layouts on what they see on the runway. Then those ideas are printed in the various magazines for the general public”

 “Anna Wintour.(She is the editor in chief of Vogue magazine.                                                                                The boss in the movie “The devil wears prada”is supposed to be her.)”

“”Fashion trends” is another way for designers and manufacturers to say “let’s come up with something different AGAIN so they’ll go buy more clothes and we can make even more money.””

Having all this in mind, it is for sure not easy to distinguish who copies and who creates designs, since everybody follows a certain fashion trends. In fact, it seems that even the big brands who claim that Zara is copying are nothing than copy machines themselves as is is put forward by platform users.

And like the word “trend” itself indicates, it only suggests a general tendency or direction that fashion designers follow along. Consequently, nobody can claim that this or that shape or print is his or her own.

There is no doubt that fashion lives from copying, reinventing and changing past trends,since  that’s the way new “trends” are born. The question here is, whether it is morally okay for them to do so…

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About Mai

My name is Mai, I'm 23 years old and currently studying in Berlin. I am especially interested in different cultures, art, design and like to be surrounded by beautiful things. This is my first time blogging, I will try to provide many interesting and diverse topics and inspirations for you to read. I'm open for discussions, feedback and ideas from other bloggers, so don't be shy if there are any questions or suggestions. Have fun exploring!
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9 Responses to Fashion – how trends are made

  1. MonaMondschein says:

    Wow Mai, I’m impressed how many quotes you found that to the point answer the question “Who sets trends?” That way you take on a very neutral position and act as the non-judging storyteller.
    In the comments of an article on our blog “busiconics” we were discussing and also questioning Zara’s relatively high quality apparel related to their capability to adapt and/or adopt the latest fashion trends in next to no time.
    (here: https://busiconics.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/ff-versus-ff/ ) I could’ve only copied & pasted the URL of the links to other websites, on which the quality issue was being dealt with.
    Yet, I would very much like to invite you to read my blogging mate’s enriching composition as well. 😉 Have a fun read!
    On top of that, I would like to stress that I find the photos that contrast original with copy very well-chosen, as a high resemblance to the original piece is an important characteristics of Zara apparel.
    Sadly, I wasn’t able to watch the video due to my extremely slow internet connection. I’ll postpone that until later and will come back to your post when on a different connection! 🙂

    Mona

    • Mai says:

      Hello Mona,
      thank you very much for your comment.
      Unfortunately, I didn’t find the time to read your mate’s post. But I’ll do as soon as I have time 🙂

  2. mirkalilka says:

    I like the fact that you’ve included various opinions from other online platforms in your blog post. It immediately reminded me of some famous quotations from Coco Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld on fashion, for example “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” or “Fashion changes, but style endures.”(Coco Chanel). In my opinion, these are two powerful statements that match to some extent the opinions expressed in the video about who decides what is trendy and what is not. Trends have all sorts of sources like runways, street styles, celebrities, cultural, political and economic changes and a combintation of all factors creates a trend, a certain tendency so to speak. I especially enjoyed the statement which says that trends are dictated by a group of homosexual men. There might be some truth behind it, but still it sounds like some kind of secret association that tries to spread trends among people.
    Karl Lagerfeld once said “Fashion and music are the same, because music express its period too.” and I think he is right. They may not be the same but at least fashion and music go hand in hand. There are lots of examples of how music has influenced fashion. Take the 80s for example where those colourful shiny leggins together with bodysuits and boot tops became en vogue after everybody watched Eric Prydz music video “Call on me“ or the grunge look that came with bands like Nirvana in the 90s. Oh, there is so much to explore… One little remark: I would love to know on which online platforms you found the quotes and who said them.

    • Mai says:

      Hey Mirella,
      I’m happy you liked it.
      I have to admit that I liked the statement about homosexual men ruling the fashion industry as well. The terrain of fashion trend is still very vague and it’s nice to think of it as a secret association. I would really like to be behind the scenes concerning this 😀
      Thank you for your remark about the quotes; I inserted the link to the platform. There are even more attemps to define where trends are made. I also sent you a little tutorial on how to insert links. I think it can be very useful 😉

  3. Blabliblub says:

    Hi Mai,
    First of all great post! Like Mirella I really enjoyed the great variety of different opinions and media you included! I also would love to know where exactly you found them and whether they were statements by unkown people or people who work in the fashion industry.
    I particularly enjoyed that you asked a lot of questions instead of just going ahead giving us your opinion. This way I had a minute to ponder these questions myself before you offered your insights.
    I like that you critically questioned the assumption that only Zara or small fashion labels copy and state that all fashion labels copy to some extend and I have to agree. I mean why not just look at all the reoccuring trends nowadays. Aren’t they a from of copying too?! – Not copying from one fashion designer, but from an entire area of former fashion or how else can we explain that high waist skirts and shoulder pads are everywhere to be found now whereas a decade ago no one would have been caught dead wearing them… Well maybe with the slight exclusion of your mother… But that’s exactly the point, because she still owned those clothes from when they were fashionable -once upon a time- when she was younger. This way all trends are bound to reappear some day, as soon as the fashion label need a “new” trend to boost their profits.
    This might seem cynical, but sadly I don’t think everyone is interested in fashion as an art or a way to express oneself like Karl Lagerfeld, which I think they should be! What’s your take ont this matter?
    Just one little hint, the formating of some of your quotes was off, which confused me a little at first, but that’s just icing on the cake 🙂

    • Mai says:

      Hey Mona,
      thanks a lot for your feedback 🙂
      I totally agree with you about the copying. Fashion is just repetition of past trends. But I mean it’s getting harder to come up with new ideas, isn’t it? Fashion industry is a global network nowadays, so it is just normal to see similarities among design and fashion.
      About your comment on fashion as a way to express oneself, I don’t know if I got it right, but my opinion on this matter is that it is totally okay to wear something just because you like it. I mean you don’t have to wear something because you want to express your attitude or your personality with it. For me it sometimes feels like fashion is overrated.
      Hope I got it right that way.

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