Fashion trends: Is social media accelerating the pace they change?

Fashion trends are changing faster than they ever have before, according to experts. 

Senior strategist at fashion trend forecaster WGSN Allyson Rees told Newshub this is due to "more social networks, social media and just overall content than ever before".

"The rate at which ideas are being exchanged is also faster than ever before," said Rees.  

"Consumers now turn to influencers on Instagram and Tiktok for fashion, beauty, and lifestyle inspiration, as opposed to print magazines and even online magazines."

The way consumers follow trends has also changed. We no longer have to wait for our copy of Vogue to arrive in the mail to know what to wear next season. 

According to Rees, this can be seen in the changes to magazines, which are often now "more evergreen as opposed to trend-driven". 

"Social media is where the trends happen at a grassroots level and then get co-opted by influencers and brands," she said. 

So how does a trend forecaster track the evolution of a trend? 

Rees used the example of checkerboard prints to explain. 

"This [print] has been a huge interior print trend over the past year, and became popular during the COVID-19 pandemic with consumers wanting to dress up their home spaces with personal style," Rees said. 

"We can see how checkerboard prints started with a few crafters, makers and independent artists, got noticed by some niche influencers, and then eventually blew up into a mass market space."

The checkerboard print has been used by a range of high-end and affordable brands, such as Vans, Asos, Louis Vuitton, and Fendi. 

But on the video-sharing app Tik Tok, the evolution of a trend is a whole different story. 

"On TikTok, things move much faster," the trend forecaster said. 

"What could take a month or two or trend on Instagram can take just days or even hours to go viral on TikTok."

Trends and Generation Z

The generation that made TikTok the trendsetter app du jour is Gen Z. But experts say they believe this group may "move away from trends altogether." 

"I think Gen Z expresses their personalities through how they dress very differently and I think they will try to steer away from trend-based dressing as much as they possibly can," Jordyn Christensen told Newshub.  

Christensen, the co-founder of Gen Z media outlet Centennial Beauty,  believes Gen Z could be responsible for fazing out 'fast fashion'. 

"Thrift shopping and vintage shopping has had a huge resurgence and I think the second-hand industry is going to overtake fast fashion in the future," Christensen said.