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Editions

Fashion - May 2015

28 Apr 2015

The ‘trickle down effect’ explained

By Laura Timberlake

Where does fashion come from? This might sound like a silly question, but fashion is actually influenced by almost everything.

A lot of inspiration comes from a company called WGSN (World's Global Style Network).

WGSN is a trend-forecasting service that compiles lists of all possible future trends, and relates them back to the fashion and textiles industry. (For example, a random computer gaming trend could be affecting the prints that will hit clothing stores in a year.)

Many global companies use WGSN or similar trend forecasting services to try to predict what will be popular in the future. They will also compile their own trend research notes, attend trade shows and go on buying trips to see what’s popular on the opposite side of the world.

If a large company picks a trend and it appears on the catwalks, the smaller companies also pick up on this trend and run with it. This is often described as the “trickle down” effect.

It’s also the reason why you might see a print from a Louis Vuitton fashion show suddenly appear in Zara. Zara is actually a great example, because they are one of the quickest labels to pick up on trends. (Let’s face it, they have to be – they change their stock weekly!)

The obvious difference here between the various brands is in the quality – fashion houses with a smaller budget will cut corners. For example, a zip detail on a high street garment might be turned into a motif on a cheaper item.

Then there is the “trickle up” effect. The “trickle up” effect is a trend that starts from the street. Bloggers have had a significant impact on this.

Fashion companies now have direct access to street photos from all over the world – and if one person with a large following starts a trend, they’ll know about it!

So the next time you laugh at a silly cat meme that’s trending online, it’s worth considering if it might affect your purchase decisions in a few months.

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