This may be an odd question for me to pose since I cover trends weekly here and on our website, SmallBusinessCurrents—but is there such a thing as too many trends? McKinsey’s Mind the Gap newsletter suggests we’re likely suffering from “Trendflation,” which is what it calls “the exponential rise in mass manufactured ‘trends’ met with decreased cultural value” amidst the “cultural chaos” we’re experiencing.
Vice says trends used to cycle every 20 years because “It needed to be that long: Any shorter and a trend would just be naff, corny or passé, rather than retro, inherently nostalgic and cool. That rule has rapidly been made obsolete. Now it’s more like five, 10 years.”
And apparently, it’s not enough for something to be “in.” Instead, we have to envelop ourselves in it. Mind the Gap says, “Trends not only move at a fast clip these days but also have come to act as stand-ins for personal expression. Take fashion: it’s no longer enough to proclaim, ‘ballet flats are in.’ Instead, you might subscribe to ‘balletcore’ and stock your closet with tulle and leg warmers.”
Check out the 2023 Predictionary from the Day One Agency, which not only apparently coined the “trendflation” term but examines several more trends we can expect this year, like “AI-nxiety,” which discusses how the “future of AI is both awesome and ominous.”
I’ve been covering trends for decades, and it does seem that many of what we would have considered trends a few years ago are now more like fads, which come and go more quickly.
Take Barbiecore, which I first told you about last September. Everything Barbie was hot all fall and then faded a bit. But Better Homes & Garden magazine says, “Barbiecore is the hot pink home trend that will be everywhere in 2023.” And KitchenAid named Hibiscus, which is certainly reminiscent of Barbiecore pink, its color of the year. Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, told the Washington Post, “People want to escape, and they are latching onto something colorful, nostalgic, and playful. When you think about color being a language that expresses what is taking place, this pink and its association with Barbie is about being daring and unafraid and taking chances.”
So, while Barbiecore appeared to be a trend, it acted like a fad. But it’s back trending again and will continue to heat up while the world eagerly anticipates the release of the live-action Barbie (YouTube link) movie coming this July. Till then, at least, America will be in the pink.