Trends Part 1- Where do trends come from?

Have you ever wondered how trends work? Where do they come from? Do you wonder who decides why something that was “cool and hip” last year is so passé this year? Who are these trendsetters? And why was mint green so popular back in the late 80’s, and gone from the fashion world until 2014? (It’s my favorite color. Where had it been?) Well, I wonder these important things! I know, I should be thinking about how to solve the world’s hunger problems (or maybe getting ready for tomorrow’s cabi show), but instead I am thinking about trends. Someone has to do it. Someone has to explain how trends work, and that someone is me!

So…who is responsible for starting new trends? The short answer is You and me! However, how trends work is a little more complicated than that, so let me explain.

How Trends Work

WGSN is the world’s trend authority. They have employees all over the world studying what is happening in their little corner of the world (culture, economics, technology, science, religion, art, etc) and how it is shaping culture in that area (like little spy sociologists on the ground in various countries around the world). They also study street style, which has a huge impact on future fashion trends. Then, they gather the information and convene twice a year to plan trends for 2 years down the road based on what is happening at the time.

Then, they package the trends into a lookbook for designers and retailers to purchase. The designers use these along with their own inspirations to create looks. The designers display them on the catwalk during Fashion Week (bucket list: I want to go to fashion week before I die). A movie star may wear a designer’s creation to an event. Pictures are snapped and they end up in fashion magazines and on social media. Soon, us “regular folk” are talking about it and trying to find an affordable version of the designer dress that Katie Holmes wore to her daughter’s piano recital. Thus, the trends trickle down to the masses through ready-to-wear labels (like department store labels)  and Fast Fashion stores like Forever 21 and H&M.

Color and Trends

Color also plays a very important part in the fashion world. Although WGSN does color forecasting, I would say that the Pantone Color Institute is the “color god.” They are the most well known, at least. Like WGSN, they convene twice a year to decide what the color trends will be for two years down the road. They also select a color of the year, as well as a set of colors for New York and London. (Greenery is the color of the year for 2017).  Below are the top 10 colors selected by Pantone for the Fall 2017, You will see these colors on nearly everything!  Notice the Tawny Port and Ballet Slipper in my Fall 2017 cabi Sovereign Coat (right).

This Fall, printed ankle boots are going to be huge! (tapestry or velvet probably with a block heel and floral printed combat boots).  Here is a fictional story of how that likely came to be, illustrating how trends work:

A couple years ago, someone in a hipster part of, let’s say London, bought a pair of floral boots.  Maybe she bought them from a vintage shop or maybe she painted a pair of old combat boots. At any rate, she wore them proudly and confidently. She likely posted a picture of herself wearing them on Facebook. A few of her gal pals who admire her fashion spirit thought, “Ace booties! I need a pair of those!” So, they got themselves a pair. Then, a trend expert notices young women walking around in floral booties. The trend-casters convene at their conference and deem it important enough to incorporate into their global trend book, which is sold to designers. Designers include floral boots in their runway shows. The boots become a huge hit and are soon in the stores for the masses, depending on their price point. Below are examples available for purchase now at Nordstrom’s in three different price points.  The pair on the left are Christian Louboutin at $1,095.  The center pair are Jeffrey Campbell at $220 and the pair on the right are Steve Madden at $130 (on sale at this writing for $87)

Some of us, with our artistic minds and rebellious spirits are trendsetters. The majority of us, including myself, are simply on-trend. I am okay with that. I am not going to be one who dyes my hair green and starts wearing my jacket backwards to make a statement, but if it becomes trendy 2 years from now I might consider it. Until next time, when we talk about Fall 2017 Must Haves!!

Fashionably yours, Ellen


Because I had to do some research, I want to give credit where credit is due:

Schweitzer, Kate (March 14, 2015) The True Story About How Fashion Trends are Born Retrieved from

Gustafson, Krystina (September 10, 2015) These are the people who decide what you’ll wear Retrieved from

  1. I love and appreciate your blog! It is spot on! Nine West in Katy Mills is already displaying some of these trends for Fall. Velvet, I heard is going to be BIG too! Thank-you for sharing, loved the content.

    • Thank you so much for your feedback. Yes, velvet is going to be huge this Fall. I love velvet!

  2. What is WGSN?

    • WGSN are basically trend analysts and consultants. There are other companies who do this but WGSN is the world’s leading authority on changes in fashion and creative industries (hair color, make-up, interior design etc). They sell their research to stores and designers. Go to It is truly amazing!

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Ellen Caldwell, personal stylist in HoustonEllen was chosen as a top personal stylist in Houston, Texas by CBS Houston! I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Houston Baptist University with degrees in Finance and Business Administration.

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