difference between fashion and trend

What Is the Difference between Fashion and a Trend

In Fashion Trends & Advice by marketninjas

The Dilemma of Being Fashionable and Trendy

Nowadays, with constant pressure from social media, reigning retail brands, and advanced marketing techniques, it’s easy for consumers to feel like they ‘need’ to be fashionable and trendy. Part of the problem is how both terms are used in the same context.

Brands market products in clever ways to make consumers feel like purchasing it is necessary to help them feel stylish. In fact, there’s no correlation between looking fashionable versus looking trendy, nor does it have much to do with how much money one spends.

When it comes to major retail brands, there are few differences between the types of fashion that is sold in-store. If everything looks the same, how does one become the embodiment of the fashion that inspires them?

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What is Fashion?

According to the online dictionary, fashion refers to “a popular or latest designs of clothing or accessories”. Other relevant sources define fashion as a “prevailing custom” and similar terms. Bottom line, the meaning of fashion is ‘something that’s popular’.

On the other hand, ask any fashion aficionado or industry professional the same question, and they will probably elaborate that fashion is a way for a person to express their personality. Sure, on the surface, the term may seem like a simple topic, but underneath, you’ll find that there’s a lot of creativity involved.

Fashion Designers

But who does the heavy lifting in the creativity department when it comes to fashion? Only the best fashion designers in the world! Have you ever heard of Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs, Coco Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Miuccia Prada, Alexander McQueen, or Vera Wang?

These are just a few of the names behind the biggest fashion luxury brands that you’ll see on the runway. They came up with the foundations for what we know as modern fashion. Once they established the basics, like what to wear at what place, the rest was easy.

By this definition, fashion is considered the timeless aspect of style, one that will stand out and appear relevant no matter how much time passes. Now that there are different ways that people can develop their own personal style, the lines have somewhat blurred. Nevertheless, the main guidelines for what defines style will stand the test of time, becoming the subject of new creative ideas.

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How To Be Fashionable

For starters, you should stop trying so hard to be fashionable and let it come to you effortlessly. Rather than looking at what’s in vogue, go through countless sources of inspiration to understand what would suit your personality and lifestyle.

Each of us has a different lifestyle, and many of the styles you’ll see on the internet, in-store, or on the runway are only suited to mannequins, models, or celebrities. Being fashionable means molding styles so it aligns with what you’re comfortable wearing. In this regard, fashion is personal.

What Are Trends?

If you Google ‘what is a trend’, it’s likely that the first result, the online dictionary, will simply define it as “a fashion”. This quick definition tends to confuse many people – if fashion and trends are different concepts, why do they mean the same thing?

Just like for the definition of ‘fashion’, there are numerous complex themes in play behind a simple term. But in this case, we’re pleased to say that the common definition of ‘fashion’ fits well for ‘trend’.

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How Do Trends Start?

Most of the styles you’ll see on the runway are fashion trends i.e. a new take or spin on classic themes. Before social media and the internet, fashion trends would spread in a ritualistic manner. A fashion house would design a line of clothes and display it on the runway, after which a magazine would pick it up.

From there, a certain style or design was marketed to consumers. This process continued for a long time until fashion blogs and social media took over as the main approach for targeting customers. But now, there are numerous ways for a new trend to come up.

Fashion Houses

These are the key leaders of the fashion industry, many of whom have laid the foundations for fashion that can be manipulated to create a trend. Here, skilled designers channel their inspiration into the brand’s philosophies to create new patterns and styles that reflect current conditions and events.

For instance, with so much emphasis on eco-friendliness and reversing effects of climate change, fashion houses are developing new designs that incorporate recycled fabrics as a way to set new standards for mainstream retail brands.

Street Style

Next, up, street styles include everyday styles that are seen and captured by people. Sometimes, these are unique and creative enough to inspire new trends. For the person themself, it may be a personal style that suits their personality.

However, once it starts gaining momentum and popularity, it becomes a mainstream trend. For example, you may spot a fashionable girl riding the subway, wearing a unique look. If you take a picture of her outfit, it may become popular if it inspires other girls to wear a similar outfit in a similar style.


Whether it’s by fans or tabloid magazines, the public is constantly watching celebrities and analyzing their every move. Therefore, it’s no surprise that they set a lot of trends. While some celebrities are known for their casual looks, others are popular for athleisure outfits.

Again, it entirely depends on the celebrity’s personal lifestyle. Some celebrities have families, so you may often see them in comfortable clothing when they’re with their kids as compared to press events.

Fashion Influencers and Bloggers

Thanks to widespread social media, it’s getting easier and easier for everyday people to garner a large following. Platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat give users the opportunity to display and show off their everyday styles to followers.

In many cases, fashion influencers and bloggers come up with ways to hack a particular trend without making a significant investment. This is what helps them grow in popularity and gain followers.

Fashion Capitals

If you’ve ever been to the fashion capitals of the world, you’ll see that people all around are wearing all the latest runway trends. Cities like New York City, Paris, London, and Milan set the bar for many fashion trends – what people wear here, they wear everywhere.

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Should I Keep Up with Trends?

Unfortunately, with all the talk surrounding the fashion vs. trends debate, it can be easy to think negatively of trends in general. However, this shouldn’t be the case, since new trends allow one to develop their own personal style.

There’s always a possibility that you can come across trends that, according to you, personify your views and beliefs about fashion. Hence, it’s great to keep up with trends and know what’s in-vogue – just make sure that you don’t blindly follow every trend.

What’s The Difference?

To sum it up, fashion means two things. First, it refers to timeless guidelines that define today’s trends. Secondly, it refers to how you choose to express yourself, regardless of what everyone else wears. At a certain point, fashion can be or was a trend. But while trends come and go, very few remain as part of fashion.

On the other hand, trends are widely marketed to consumers and are practiced by a vast majority of them. However, not every trend suits each person – it’s up to them to pick what suits their body and style to develop a preference and taste.

Can You Follow Trends and be Fashionable at the Same Time?

Totally! With so much debate surrounding the topic of fashion versus trends, it almost seems like both concepts travel parallel to each other – in a similar direction, yet they never intersect or meet. The reality is much more complex.

Fashion and trends do intersect. Oftentimes, you’ll see old trends influence new ones and new trends staying as a timeless fashion staple. In the end, it’s entirely up to your personal tastes to see what suits you.

What Are Fads?

Now, we come to a different concept, entirely – fads. According to the online dictionary, fads are “a short-lived intense enthusiasm for something”. Just like the fashion-trend relationship, fads are influenced by the latest trends.

In this case, however, fads can be described as the opposite of fashion. Fashion is a wide-reaching entity that outlasts a trend, but fads live an even shorter life and die a swift death. A fad starts out as a trend but quickly vanishes in the flood of upcoming trends. This usually happens when a trend isn’t as impactful as was intended. Sure, it did create a lot of buzz when it was launched, but its popularity decreased soon after.

Some popular fads include wallet chains, harem pants, and fedora hats, all of which looked terrible, so we’re grateful that they’re gone.

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How to Stay on top of the Latest Trends?

So if it’s supposedly okay to stay in touch with what’s trending, how does one do it? There are many ways to learn what’s trending in the fashion industry and incorporating it in your personal style. Here are some of the most basic approaches.

Read Fashion Magazines

To start off, you should definitely read more fashion magazines. If you want to know which one is the best fashion magazine, check out that article! Although it may seem like they’re no longer the leading voice on all current fashion because of social media, they still hold a certain prestige, unlike any other medium. Whether you prefer Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, or Cosmopolitan, you’ll find plenty of inspiration.

Not to mention, even the original websites don’t offer inside details that magazines do. If you haven’t picked up the habit, start now by finding out which editorial is more of your type. Then, you can get a subscription to save money.

Follow Fashion Bloggers

The next step is to follow popular fashion bloggers to understand all the latest trends. These personalities have contracts with certain brands, so it’s very likely that they have the inside scoop as to what’s trending in the industry.

Since they will most likely have a blog and an aesthetically pleasing Instagram account, you can read up all about trend forecasts and see the styles for yourself. It gives you a clearer view as to whether a certain style suits your lifestyle or wardrobe, or not.

Visit Big Retail Stores

If you visit your local mall or shopping avenues, you’ll come across various brands that sell different versions of similar trends. Looking at their newest seasonal collections can give you a general idea as to how you can wear a certain style.

Stay true To Your Style

We can’t emphasize this enough but it’s crucial that you always stay true to your personal style – never feel pressured to try something just because it’s trending. You’re always free to try something new, but only as long as you’re comfortable with it.

A good way to learn more about your own style is to not invest too much money in a trendy outfit. Instead, stick to timeless classics that will always accentuate your features and flatter your body shape, regardless of what’s in fashion.

And if you are seeking to go into the fashion industry, you can always take an online fashion design course and become a professional from the comfort of your home!

Fashion and trends exist so you can create your own palette of designs so if something doesn’t make you feel good, it’s not your fault – it just isn’t made for you. Let’s not forget that being fashionable has little to do with how much money you can spend on clothes and accessories. Prioritizing on buying high-quality items is the best way to go when you’re starting a wardrobe that aligns with your personal style.