How HARD Is It To Start A TREND?

I am a student of social trends, and I am wondering how fashions/customs which are particular to “fringe” groups become trneds in the overall population. Take those size “XXXXL” pants so beloved of teenage boys-they started out as gang wear, and the trend made it into the general teenager population. These huge pants appear to be rather uncomfortable, and make it difficult to run. So why are they so popular?
Anyway, I am wondering how hard it would be for ME to start a trend…suppose for a moment that I discover a new psycoactive drug. This drug offers its users a mild buzz, and is otherwise harmless. How wouldI poularize such a substance? Or. to takeanother example…could I revive the wearing of “leisure suits” (those late 1970’s garments found in abundance in thrift stores?
I really want to make my mark upon society…how does one successfully start a trend?:rolleyes:

I think the objective is to first find something that is not aesthetically pleasing/impractical and start flaunting that. Or, take something that was incredibly un-popular ten years ago. First you will get people who start wearing/doing it in order to be ‘different’ from other people. Even though it might be stupid/dumb/impractical, the very fact that those people have gained a notch of ‘uniqueness’ will start a domino effect, in which more and more people want to be ‘unique’ just like everybody else :wink:

I believe this would work, because ten years ago I got laughed at in school when my underpants were showing, or if my pants didn’t go down to my socks. Now I see my brother hiking his underpants up to expose them and rolling his socks down to make his pants look ‘higher’. :rolleyes:

You would need to get your trend lots and lots of exposure. It helps if you get your trend exposure by having a spokesperson or someone to endorse your trend that is very famous. Bonus points if they’re famous among the 18-25 crowd. A rap star would probably do the trick these days. There’s always athletes and movie stars too.

If you take someone that is “cool” or just take someone and get them enough exposure and tell everyone they’re cool have them become an advocate for your trend. Current possibilities would be Colin Farrell, LeBron James, and/or Nelly.

Personally, I don’t think it’s that hard to start a trend. When I was in high school, a friend and I started numerous trends without meaning to. We would start wearing something that was somewhat unusual, and before long, other people were asking where they could get one too. Before long, it was something that several people were wearing! It didn’t stop at clothing either. It branched out to backpacks, school supplies, jewelry etc.
I think it depends on where you are, and where you stand with your peers. If people respect your tastes in clothing (or whatever your trying to make trendy), they’re more likely to emulate. I think the key is also to make it look good or fun or whatever. If you’re trying to popularize something that looks ridiculous or horrid, it won’t work. There has to be something attractive about it.

Alias- Professional Trendsetter :rolleyes:

You can read all about it in a book called The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s a semi-scientific look at why some ideas have taken off and others have failed… and why the same idea caught on in some times and places and not others.

One point the book does make is that it requires help from the right kind of people. Lots of things are necessary to get a trend kicked off, and no one thing is sufficient.

I need to read this again myself… hate it when I forget about a book I read except for a few generalizations.

So what would it take to make the mullet trendy?


Apocalypse, or a general suspension of sanity.

Wait…that seems to be how most trends start.

If your generation keeps bad-mouthing the mullet (I hate it too, but keep quiet about it), it won’t be long until your kids are wearing a variation of the mullet. :wink: [sup]like braiding the back part[/sup]

Once was enough with the mullet. Let’s give it a decent burial and move on. You know how bad fish starts to smell when it gets rotten.

One character in a TV show or movie can do the trick (many examples, Marlon Brando in “Streetcar” or the “Annie Hall” look). But that’s usual an “accidental” trend: the odds aren’t high that the trend will get launched if you try for it, even if the movie is a success.

Take Engywook’s advice; read “The Tipping Point” you will see how trends are started.

depends, i htink exposure has something to do with it,
There is a word I say to describe our local hillbillies, I made it up myself. Soon my friends were using it, and then their friends. GO figure

To the OPer (ralph124c)

Step 1) Start wearing your leisure suits now.
Step 2) Wait a few years.
Step 3) Ta-DAAA ! The trend has been revived.

This formula has worked for me since 1969. In the last 30 years, I’ve dedicated myself to reviving the trends of long sideburns, narrow ties, bow ties, white shirts, lava lamps, wide ties, straight-leg jeans. I’m now wearing bell-bottoms, so look out in 2009. In the meantime, I’ll just endure the humiliation, and WAIT!

PS: I’m also working on the word “keen” (meaning “awesome”) which I haven’t heard since 1965. I use it every day!

What? “Keen” is not longer in fashion? I say “peachy keen” all the time.

While I haven’t read the book, all his New Yorker articles are on his website. Quite a few are relevant to the OP, but this one seems especially pertinent.

I heartily second this recommendation. It is one of the most worthwhile books that I have read in the past few years.

Sarcastic, but true answer: Because teenagers are idiots who think they know everything, when in fact they know little or nothing.

Less sarcastic, but just as true answer: Teenagers will try anaything if it has even the smallest chance of pissing/angering/confusing their parents.

What about a meme?

“All your base are belong to us” and “Hatt, baby” came out of nowhere. Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf is a rising star.

Simple, be the Alpha male!