How Fashion Brands can Spot (and Stay Ahead of) Microtrends

As social media and influencer marketing continues to drive the fashion industry forward, it is key for brands to be able to spot microtrends before their competitors. Microtrends are can last anywhere from 3-5 years and can emerge virtually overnight.

If you’re quick to spot micro trends, you can monetize on them for a longer time, and then exit at the right time, before the market gets too cluttered. But how does one do this? 

Understand the difference between a fad and a trend

The difference between a fad and a trend is longevity. Fads are usually very short-lived. They gain popularity very quickly but soon die out. An example of a fad would be the comeback of the 90s inspired choker. The fad was big for a few months and then faded out just as quickly. A trend, on the other hand, would be something like athleisure. It’s something that will always have a place in the world of fashion, at least for the foreseeable future.

How can microtrends be distinguished?

Continuous feedback is key

To weed out the fads and monetize on the microtrends, one must be vigilant and attentive to customer feedback that is collected on a daily basis. The world of fashion is very fickle, and the best way to understand what’s working and what’s not is to collect and analyze responses quickly. Leverage data analytics to draw hidden insights out of the customer with behavioral data at your disposal. As the volume of data and the amount of sources that generate it increases, you can also implement tools like Artificial Intelligence to provide you with the information necessary to get ahead. Another trick that brands like is to use their brand ambassadors to quickly test upcoming campaigns.

Have an omnichannel strategy

As a fashion brand, your communication and presence must span multiple channels, so you reach more people. But this is not about broadcasting. It’s about setting up a 2-way channel of communication that will allow you to collect real-time data. Insights and feedback should not be mined just from email blasts or social media. This can be drawn out of in-store experiences, online stores, influencer campaigns and so on. It’s also important to note the difference between people who use different channels. What may work for one may not work for another, so it’s important to monitor all your channels and leverage them to connect with and understand different audiences.

Using customer intelligence

Some companies do a fabulous job of harnessing customer intelligence to better understand the people they cater to, and to serve them better. These brands leverage all manner of innovative techniques including technology to get closer to their customers. For example, Banana Republic uses its insight community to ask customers to share a picture of their wardrobe on a monthly basis. This is a super fun activity for customers, and an incredibly insightful experience for Banana Republic since it helps them understand what folks like, what they’re talking about, and what trends are emerging

The key to spotting micro-trends is to analyze real-time data. Consumer behavior and habits are constantly evolving, which is why gaining continuous feedback is vital. While collecting feedback has become easier, what will really give you an edge in the game is leveraging technology to do this more efficiently. The next step is sorting out your manufacturing strategy and optimizing your supply chain to ensure that the on-trend designs you have created can get on the market as soon as possible.


In conclusion, whether it’s an engaging survey with the promise of a coupon code, or a social media campaign, it is imperative for fashion brands to constantly communicate with their customers. To spot the micro-trends before they become mainstream, the key skill is the ability to listen to what the consumers want. Remember that it’s these customers that call the shots at the end of the day. 



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