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Fashion Cycles: The Five Stages

Fashion Cycles: The Five Stages

Consumers are exposed each season each year to multitude new styles created by fashion designers. These new styles are either accepted for a time period by consumers, demonstrated by buying and wearing them while others are rejected immediately by the media and consumers on the retail level. This and many others are what come together to form parts of the fashion cycle. It is therefore important to understand the cycle of fashion.


What Now Is Fashion Cycle?

Fashion cycle is the rise, popularity and then decline in the acceptance of a style or trend. It is basically the time period between the emergence of a fashion trend, its peak period and time of its fall. Fashion is accepted and chased by the consumer at first, and then taste and preference begins to lean away from the accepted fashion, towards a new fashion until all the acceptance is lost.

The fashion cycles

Fashion travels through five stages of existence:

  1. Introduction
  2. Rise
  3. Peak
  4. Decline
  5. Obsolescence/Rejection



Rihanna, Lupita & Cardi B in designer outfits on red carpets



This is the stage where the creations are termed as ‘latest‘ fashions and do not guarantee unanimous acceptance. Cost pf production is high and can be afforded by only a few consumers. Production is done in small numbers, giving the designer enough room for freedom and creativity.

Big designers may receive some funding and be given the chance to design with little limitations on creativity, quality raw materials or amount of fine workmanship.

Celebrities, models, TV Stars, footballers, etc purchase these clothes when making big appearances at events or some big photoshoots.





When celebrities or people of influence or fashion people are seen wearing a new style, it attracts the undivided attention of the public, the media and buyers. As counter-attack, most couture and high-priced designers now have secondary lines of diffusion which sell at lower prices, so they can sell their designs in larger quantities – knock-offs.

Some manufacturers go in for less expensive fabrics(with lower quality of course), modify or copy trending designs, to sell at incredibly low prices.

Fashion here now becomes more sales for the manufacturer than fashion as production is in masses and prices are reduced.



The market demand for fashion at this point is so high that manufactures copy and produce knock-offs and adaptations at varying price ranges, depending on raw materials used or workmanship.

At this point, the market is fully saturated with the trend and everyday, consumers wear this trend., ruling the market while it lasts.

In some cases, designs and details of designs like colour, patterns and texture, are slightly tweaked to keep the style in the peak position for a longer period.



Clothes on sale


In this stage, consumer demand for a particular style begins to take a nose-dive. Consumer eventually get bored of the recurring fashion or trend, and begin looking for new fashion and trends.

Consumers willing to wear these fashion on the other hand are not willing in anyway to buy them at regular prices –  they want less.

Retail stores usually put such products on sale in hopes to clear them out and make room for new styles and trends.





This is the last stage of the fashion cycle that paves way for the beginning of a whole new fashion cycle. In this stage, consumers have already moved on to the new fashion. The old fashion styles are now considered outdated by fashion wearers. Prices of products may be rather very low at this point and consumers may not even purchase the product.

Fashion reaching obsolescence does not necessarily mean a fashion style or trend can never find its way back into the cycle after a while. The cycle is in a state of repetition, bringing back ‘old-fashion’ almost all the time.











Photo Credit: Google

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