University of Limerick
Wright_et_al_2021_Rethinking_the_Laggard.pdf (204.04 kB)

Rethinking the laggard as the point of decline in the fashion cycle

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conference contribution
posted on 2021-06-14, 17:09 authored by Lee Wright
In the fashion cycle, the laggard is the late adopter, a consumer who is slow to take the fashion risk of the early adopter, and is slow to adapt to dominant fashion trends. But what happens when the accepted networks of urban culture of shopping, going out and the visual communication of fashion, no longer dominates our understanding of what is fashionable? In 2020/21, we have an interesting example of how the fashion industry and the fashion consumer have adapted to the pandemic and lockdown. The paper will focus on the laggard as the accepted point of decline in the fashion cycle, and explore how the pandemic has forced a re-thinking of the conventions of fashion consumer adoption, leading to an extended product lifespan. The laggard is the point in the trend cycle that is closest to obsolescence; therefore, it is the point when product lifespan is ending(Rogers, 1962). This research interrogates the laggard as a convention of the fashion ‘trend and acceptance’ cycle, by surveying the reality of lockdown clothing behaviors alongside fashion industry strategies. The findings indicate that lockdown has intervened in the normative fashion cycle to the extent that it has led to a recalibration of the laggard category, which in turn has extended the lifetime of a product. A deliberate de-acceleration of the fashion cycle has occurred both in the strategies adopted by the fashion industry, and in the pattern of consumption. It is argued that pandemic has forged new ways of thinking about fashion, and brought about not just a rethinking of the ‘end’ of the cycle but a more caring attitude to fashion as a product.



4th PLATE 2021 Virtual Conference, 26-28 May 2021;





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