Trends in Fashion and Why they Repeat Themselves

Throughout history, the fashion industry always seems to repeat and recycle certain trends. Fashion is an editorial art and can be caught being repetitive over time, especially now with the amount of access we have to different trends, brands, and designer’s fashion. The fashion world is a timeless relic that keeps cycling around like a clock, redefining different types of couture and culture while capturing the interest of the younger generation.


There are a few theories that attempt to break down and explain why fashion trends become popular again many, many years after they are first seen as fashionable or “trendy”.

The most referenced theory is the “20-year rule”. This theory is solely based on the rule that what is popular now, will be again in 20 years. What was popular 20 years ago, is trending now. I mean, I don’t think any of us will deny going into our parent’s closets to try on their pearl necklaces, big goofy ties, retro glasses, or vintage graphic tees. Many people believe fashion designers of today often draw inspiration from the clothing their parents and grandparents wore.

Another thing that inspires our taste in fashion is the media we are exposed to. For example, if you are a big fan of 90’s sitcoms, like Friends, wearing large, chunky running shoes and baggy sweatshirts and jeans were all the rage! Analyzing all the different fashion that is present in media nowadays could be exhausting and difficult to keep up with!


Another theory about the lifecycle of fashion trends people believe in is, how the state of the global economy influences what we wear. This was first explained and demonstrated by Economist George Taylor who developed “the Hemline Theory”. In the 1920’s, he noticed that women would wear shorter skirts to show off their silk stockings, insinuating they had money. However, when the markets crashed, so did the hemlines. Skirts hems then went down to their ankles so they could hide that they weren’t wearing stockings, because they were not able to afford this fashion luxury.

Fashion trends are something people constantly analyze and critique. Every designer always strives to create the newest, old trend, to spark the consumer to buy, buy, buy. Who knows what will be trending in 20 years? Maybe Crocs?!

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