Explaining The Trickle Down Effect

Monday, February 25, 2019

Explaining The Trickle Down Effect In Fashion

Today we're doing a bit of Fashion 101- explaining the trickle down effect. Inspired by Kim K.'s recent tweets denouncing it, I wanted to touch on what exactly it is and why it's necessary. 

A quick look at wikipedia says it's "Fashion [that] flows vertically from the upper classes to the lower classes within society, each social class influenced by a higher social class." Basically, fashions seen in higher class societies eventually trickle down to the lower classes. This dates back to sociologist Georg Simmel in the nineteenth century, who along with other writers were on a mission to explain fashion through class. 

In modern times, this is seen less in your typical class structure and more in the celebrity/ influencer culture to the middle class. With the rise of instagram & other social media, fashions are able to be seen now more than ever. When Beyonce wears something on the red carpet, blogs and social media everywhere are immediately working in overdrive to come up with the 'look for less'. Pinterest searches for that particular style or designer go up. 

People want to copy the look in their own way, and eventually the trend is front & center in your Forever 21s & Zaras of the world. 

While the fashion world does deal with blatant copying and passing off a design as their own, that's a separate issue & not what the trickle down effect is. If it weren’t for this phenomenon, fashion wouldn’t get to the masses, therefore I can’t see it going anywhere. It’s important to remember the flow of fashion, starting with the designers & runway and moving through the classes. 

Though there is the trickle up phenomenon as well, where streetwear is seen on the lower classes and then picked up by designers, which is also important, in this case it’s the opposite situation. If you’ve ever wondered how trends get to the shops, this is how. 

So, don’t dis-count it if you don’t understand it! 



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