Feel Like You Have Nothing to Wear? Trend Cycles are Getting Shorter

Like most Millennials, I’m ashamed of my adolescent taste in clothing. Though my 2000s-era style was trendy at the time, it now feels embarrassing. The unflatteringly low jeans and the ill-fitting spaghetti strap tank tops all look offensively ugly to me. 

But despite my disdain for authentic Y2K fashion, Gen Z seems to feel differently. They view popular garments from that time as stylish, “vintage” pieces (which, by the way, is mildly insulting). 

How could two groups of people with such a slim age gap have such different opinions on something we nearly experienced together? It’s partially a result of trend cycling. These days, trends are cycling faster than ever before, and the effects of this acceleration reach far beyond consumers. The more retailers understand this new phenomenon, the better they can formulate strategies to modify and market their inventory.

Why are Trends Changing Faster?

Fashion experts used to believe that trends cycled every 20 years or so. While that may have been true 10 years ago, trends repeat much faster now. Here’s why:

  • Social media. We tend to think that social media is purely for entertainment. Though in reality, social media is more like a method of social research. Here, users can study what’s in style by observing popular influencers and searching for trends that interest them. Influencers frequently receive and showcase new products from brands, constantly exposing their followers to the latest trends. People consuming influencer-type social media are more likely to seek new styles, therefore cycling their own closets faster.
  • Thrift stores. Millennials and Gen Zs typically value eco-friendly solutions, especially when it comes to shopping. One of the best ways to shop sustainably is to thrift. Though secondhand shopping has been around for ages, it’s recently grown in popularity, especially for Gen Z kids. By nature, thrifting means that shoppers are selecting outdated items that other people no longer wanted, which is why trends from 10-15 years ago are making an appearance before the 20-year expectation.
  • Fast fashion. Even though young people generally care about the environment, many young adults don’t have the financial capacity to buy sustainable fashion. As such, they’re likely to gravitate towards affordable options, like fast fashion, that cycle through trends at an accelerated pace.

How Retailers Can Adapt to Shorter Trend Cycles

We can reasonably expect that trends will continue to cycle quickly. However, there are many ways retailers can adapt to this cultural shift and ensure they’re marketing appropriately. 

Personalization is the best way to start. By employing personalization strategies, retailers can ensure shoppers receive trending recommendations that they’re most likely to purchase. At Sophelle, our personalization experts work closely with clients to develop a comprehensive strategic plan, taking a holistic view to leverage key touchpoints with hyper-targeted recommendations.

Influencer marketing is another great tactic to try. More and more, Millennial and Gen Z shoppers are leaning on influencers to steer their purchases toward what’s trending. When retailers can get their products into the hands of influencers, shoppers will follow suit. 

Additionally, consider utilizing promotional events. Few clothes are cheaper or more accessible than fast fashion, but if retailers can offer regular promotions on trending products, shoppers will be more inclined to purchase. 

Trends are more fleeting than ever, which may be bad news for your personal closet. But from a retail standpoint, this has enormous potential. For help leveraging tools to adapt to the heightened pace of trend cycling, contact the retail experts at Sophelle today.