Fashion Trends & Economy

Fashion trends are one of the driving forces of global economy. Fashion industry is a $1.2 trillion industry that employs $1.9 million people in the U.S. Fashion trends are tied closely to economy. Every time there’s a new trend, it would generate even more values than it normally does. When there’s a trend, companies increase the productivity so that they can make money while the trend still lasts. That means more orders for the manufactories and more money spent by the customers who are catching the trend.

However, as global economy falters, the whole industry becomes more conservative. Customers started to spend less which leads to companies putting less order out to the offshore manufacturers. When the whole environment is conservative, the economy becomes worse than it already is. It is like a never-ending bad cycle.

One of the example to show that economy has a strong impact on fashion trends is the trend “Boxy silhouette”.  From designer Ji Oh’s 2014 and 2016 collection, you can see a huge difference between the two. 

(Left: 2014, Right:2016)

(Sources:!5/ji-oh-rtw-fall-2014-7408072-portrait. )

Boxy silhouette is the product of bad economy. Boxy silhouette requires less labor which means companies could spend less to make this product. Almost like a budget-cut product. If the trend accidentally becomes a big hit, it would have the potential to revive the bad economy. If the trend goes viral, everyone would want to buy the product which means companies will be willing to spend more on making the products.

Economy plays a huge role in how NYC becomes one the top fashion capitals. There were many manufactories in NY before the whole offshoring happened. Which means designers had the privilege of seeing how their products are being made and also communicate directly with the manufacturer. After the offshore phenomenon took place, NYC still managed to keep its “fashion capital” reputation. I believe it is because many rich people live in NYC. They have money and are willing to spend it on fashion. Designers know out of so many cities in the U.S, NYC has a sturdy amount of rich people who can afford to try new styles and still pay their rent.

garment .jpg
Women sewing at a garment factory.


In 2016, everything is interconnected. From consumers to companies executives to workers in offshore countries, they all have impact on each other. Fashion trends and economy have a complementary relationship; they fall together, they grow together and they cannot survive without each other. 


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