Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Trend vs Fad

Remember Silly Bandz?

Credit: Tony Pettinato
If it happens you were living under a rock during the year that every human between the ages of 5 and 20 *needed* to wear 25 of these silicon bracelets at all times for fashion and for trading, then you didn't miss much. Basically, they were sold in packs containing lots of different shapes, each pack usually centered on a specific theme. They had a high perceived value because they were hard to find (scarce) cheap to buy, came in fun colors, fun to trade, and highly collectible.

What does this have to do with this blog? Well...nothing, really. However, they help illustrate the concept of a fad. 

What is a fad? According to, a fad is a "temporary fashion, notion, manner of conduct, etc., especially one followed enthusiastically by a group." Examples of fads: pet rocks, Furby, and beanie babies. 

So here's where it gets confusing. A fad is different than a trend, however the terms are used interchangeably. A trend is a more gradual and long lasting event. Generally, something trends over the course of several years and occurs in more than one sector. For example, a current fad I've noticed over the last year (or maybe 2...everything starts running together when you turn 40) in jewelry is the chevron. But if you pay attention, the chevron is everywhere....rugs, curtains, furniture, walls, clothing, and apparently even mouthwash, making it more of a trend. 

On sites like Twitter, Facebook and Yahoo, hot topics are said to be "trending," which adds to the confusion. I suppose "fadding" sounds stupid and also isn't a real word. Not that social media always cares about things like real words. 

So why should you or I or anyone else care about things like fads and trends? The answer varies.  

First, it's good to have the knowledge to recognize the difference. A fad will have a very short shelf life, so you probably don't want to invest too much of your scarce resources (time, money, etc) on a fad. 

Second, keeping track of trends helps you recognize different markets for your jewelry. This is not to say you should design specifically for trends, but knowing what potential customers are really into, and then planning for the crossover market can help you find a niche. 

Here are a few current trends that can ignite your jewelry designs:

-Coastal interior design and living: look in any catalog or magazine and it's splashed all over the pages. 

Atlantean Spike Pendant by Karen Totten

Seashell Cabachon by Diana P

-Eco Friendly products, recycling/upcycling: Environmental concerns and preservation are gaining a larger foothold as people worry about climate change and the large amount of waste humans produce. 

Upcycled skeleton key used in this design by Melissa Meman

-Four-legged companions: People are spending large amounts of money on their, organic food, and accessories. 

Little Brown Hedgehog by Rebekah Payne

-Experiences: It's more important to buy experiences than more stuff. How can you make jewelry an experience?

-Jewelry that tells a story/is personalized/has special meaning: Pandora anyone? And before Pandora there were the Italian charm bracelets. People CRAVE jewelry that means something. Wouldn't it be awesome to give them that without the mass produced stuff sold in every mall? 

Talisman necklace by Jen Cameron using mixed media pendant by Jenny Davies-Reazor

To pay attention to current trends, look at catalogs like Pottery Barn, pay attention to news and human interest stories and how people spend their time. Here is a site that has some general trends that may help give you some clues to pay attention to. 

Do you pay attention to trends? How does it affect your jewelry designs?


  1. I think its confusing because both fads as well as fashion start out as trends. Trends that are short lived (lesser than 3 months) are fads, if a trends lives the entire course of atleast one fashion cycle which is 6 months then it becomes a fashion. also fads dont come back any time soon but fashion do as they are cyclic. Actually chevron is a fashion as it survived a year

  2. Glad to get that website, thanks for that. I have a hard time keeping up with trends and fads. My grandkids keep me posted LOL.


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