Trend forecasters observe cultural, economic, and social factors affecting society to determine the “next big thing.” Since fashion often reflects the mindset of a society, these factors are excellent cues to what will be in demand at your local department store.
For example, the popularity of California-based shows like The OC and the influence of Hollywood celebrities like Paris Hilton and Pamela Anderson made West Coast style, like the mini-skirt and UGG boots, must have items. Snookie’s back-combed hairstyle has made the “Bump-it” a popular hairstyling tool. (You can get one at Target.) Nasty weather and the increase in the number of women commuting rather than driving to work increased the popularity of Wellie (rubber) boots.
6 ways to start a fashion trend
Starting your own trend, or at the very least remaining ahead of the style curve, can be a full-time job. Sadly, trendsetter as a job doesn’t pay very well given the time commitment, unless you can amass a million Insta followers. So, dedicating all of your time to building your trendsetter status is probably not a smart move. Instead, try these easier, less time-consuming strategies to become a leader, not a follower, in fashion.
1. Turn to the streets
Fashion Designers often turn to the streets to find inspiration for their collections. Marc Jacobs hit big in Spring 2001 with his Steven Sprouse graffiti designed bags by Louis Vuitton. Juicy Couture sweatsuits, bare an eerie resemblance to the terry cloth sweat suits worn by early hip-hop artists like LL Cool J. Head to your nearest downtown and observe what the young and hip are wearing. Then don your own version of the trend.
2. Check the blogs
3. Watch TV
Shows like Gossip Girls, Jersey Shore, Glee – all have a direct impact what we’re wearing. Look at what they’re doing and then add your own spin to it. Like Blair’s preppy socialite look? Add your own spin by adding a pair of tough combat boots.
4. Put on your traveling shoes
When traveling observe the local styles and pick-up items that are indigenous to that place and/or culture. I’ve purchased some of my most fashion forward pieces on trips to places like India, Jamaica, and Iowa.
5. Observe social and economic cues
Fashionable leather tote bags became popular as more women entered the work place and needed bags to transition from work to play. On that same note, “murses”, designers like Coach and Jack Spade to give men a stylish, masculine bag to carry their smart phones, wallets, and other items introduced male purses.
6. Do the exact opposite of what’s in style.
Another way to start your own trend is to observe the current trends and do the exact opposite. If pointed toed shoes are all the rage, then wear round-toed shoes. If mini-skirts are in, wear floor length skirts. At some point the trend you’re wearing will come back in style and you will be perceived as being fashion forward.