Looking up and down while walking from class to class, you’ll see a lot of the same thing. Not the floor tiles or the steps, but the shoes. Not the messy hair or the look of sheer panic from huddles of girls who didn’t study for their math tests, but the accessories that the panickers show off.
We all have unique styles that might even just be slightly different from the next girl, but the truth is that “fashion is made by its followers,” as said by the 1984 French documentary film, Mode in France. If no one followed the trends that pop up at places like New York Fashion Week or even somewhere as obscure as a little vintage store on the corner of your street, then maybe scanning outfits while walking from class to class would be a little more varied. However, trends make it more interesting--to see who follows them, who brings them to SUA, all the different variations.
There are a few clear ones that everyone seems to notice and that almost everyone seems to follow--like this year’s chokers and Adidas Superstars-- but all of them just start out as small fads, because fashion is made by its followers! Once more people catch on to a budding craze, it becomes a trend, and then it just goes on from there. “I think it was a collective effort.” “Yeah-- it just kind of started... over the summer I guess,” sophomores Elizabeth Schwartz and Sydney Lapp say respectively of the chokers and the shoes. It’s not completely clear who exactly brought the styles to SUA, but once someone did, plenty of others joined in.
There seems to be a consistent flow of what’s “in” and what’s “out”, and we may not realize it, but we’re the controllers.Technically, it’s the designers, but what would they be without their consumers? Big name brands like Alexander Wang and Marc Jacobs test the waters with new, innovative designs and the ones we like then transfer to next year’s street style.These gradually spread around the world and then the designers do it all over again with inspiration from what we chose from their last collections. Sometimes, the “new, innovative designs” aren’t even new though; they’re just nods to earlier versions of the same product. In fact, the trends this year were all the rage in the 90s-- and not just the chokers and Adidas sneakers.
Trends like grungy makeup, crop tops, jean jackets, and biker boots all inspire a lot of the trends we have today. And while it’s not just certain trends that inspire us, it’s also not just certain decades that do the same. Yes, the 90s are probably the most influential right now, but other decades shape our outfits too-- like fanny packs, loafers, and silk shirts from the 80s, off-the-shoulder tops, cut-off jeans, and lace-up sandals from the 70s, iron-on patches, platform shoes, and towering boots from the 60s… shall I go on?
Again, a lot of these trends aren’t untouched masterpieces of fashion--like denim, for example, which somehow finds its way onto almost every single runway, regardless of the year. Some things like leggings and Uggs, while slightly lower fashion, “are just always going to be a thing,” says sophomore Ainsley Worthley. And while the word “broke” is stereotypically reserved for college students, a lot of high schoolers pay for their own fashion too, making cheap, easy clothing ideal for people with a “comfortable, laid back style,” like sophomores Isabelle Houchens, Morgan Hoffman, and Madison Boosveld.
So what do we use to keep up with the trends that aren’t just “always going to be a thing”? When I asked if people keep up with New York Fashion Week shows, I got some weird looks, some giggles, and a lot of no's. Even if actually watching the shows isn’t a part of their routines, most people said that they keep up with the trends one way or another, the majority of which start at Fashion Month or were started decades ago. So really, you may not watch the designer shows, you may not have an alarming number of Pins on an equally alarming amount of Boards, you may not want to wear your Valentino Tan-Go Pumps (you have a pair in every color, right?) out on a Tuesday night, you may not know what athleisure is, or how someone can make ruffles look flattering, or why some people say that the 90s are back and some people say that the decade is dead, but we all know what the trends are.
So whether it’s in your Adidas Superstars, your 3.1 Phillip Lim Kyoto Stretch Leather Block-Heel Booties, or some foam flip-flops you got from the nail salon--because we do tend to make quite a bit of noise while attempting to walk in those--march to the beat of your own shoes hitting the pavement, because it only takes one person to start a trend before it begins spreading.