Trickle Up vs. Trickle Down Fashion Trends – Through the Inclusion Perspective

Trickle down fashion trends

The trickle down fashion trend stems from the elite section of society and the trickle down to the public. Trickle down is expensive when introducing fashion trends so that only rich people can afford it. The trend is affordable to the general public when its innovation is exhausted and prices gradually decline – during this time, elite segments move into new fashion trends – which again reach the public over time, resulting in an uninterrupted fashion cycle that flows from the elite. Active is the lower economic class division.

Scene from Miranda Priestley The Devil Wars Prada Cerulian Sweater

Photo: The Devil Wears Prada Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp.

In The Devil Wars Prada, Miranda Priestley mentions Serulian’s trickle-down trend to keep the fashion industry afloat. Miranda Priestley explains: “In 2002, Oscar de la Renta made a collection of Cerulian gowns. And then I think it’s Yves Saint Laurent … Didn’t he show the Serulian military jacket? … .. and then Serulian quickly appeared in a collection of eight different designers. And then it was, ah, filtered through department stores and then moved on to some tragic casual corners where you undoubtedly got it out of some clearance bin. “

But is public fashion always driven by a handful of elite fashion insiders like Miranda Priestley? No.

Trickle up fashion trends

Trickle up fashion trends are born among the masses and flow from the lower economic class to the affluent segment. Jeans are a ubiquitous example of the trickle-up fashion trend – worn primarily by miners, factory workers, and peasants, gradually gaining acceptance among a wider audience, and jeans became a popular casual wear in America in the 1970’s. The T-shirt is another trickle-up style that was originally limited to blue-collar workers but has certainly become a wardrobe staple because of its practicality and comfort.

Sharik Hasan in male ari lungi

Actor Sharik Hasan is wearing male Ari’s dropped lungi

Trickle down exclusivity vs. trickle up exclusivity

Trickle down fashion trends are excluded where a certain trend becomes undesirable at the moment it reaches the public. Trickle down fashion involves a clear hierarchy of upper and lower roles where the former seeks to differentiate from the latter. In trickle down themes, the elites maintain the status quo by playing the role of fashion innovators exclusively while the general public is given the role of fashion followers.

In contrast to the exclusive-driven trickle-down fashion, trickle-up trends stem from inclusive cultural exchanges and public unity. Although trickle down fashion is not even tolerable, trickle up fashion is taking over. Trickle down is fashion fascism where trickle up is freedom. Trickle up is freedom from trickle down elitism. It finds release in inclusion. In a world where everyone wants to be different, the most different thing is to celebrate unity. The celebration of the fashion of unity should not be mistaken for a lack of individualism. Historically, revolutions like punk, hippie, Dravidian self-respect movement, etc. have given us new ideas which were individualistic, rebellious, free, experimental and critical of tradition.

Men's Ari Lungi Fashion Installation

Trickle-up fashion installation by male Eri

Trickle across fashion theory

Mass production and mass communication are relatively democratized fashions. In the age of streetstyle and fashion influencers, fashion pundits believe in the spread of fashion theory which says that fashion trends simultaneously decrease and increase. In the age of communication, it is important to achieve social visibility in order for a style to emerge as a trend through mediums like movies, pop culture, magazines etc. Despite the presence of democratic digital platforms, inclusion has not yet been reflected in the power structure controlling the fashion industry, and therefore, the inspirations are going to be largely elite, urban and white (or Brahmanical in the Indian context). Any attempt to draw inspiration from such non-diversity white / Brahmanical groups often leads to cultural allotments and thefts, without representation of the community from which the style / culture originated.

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