Why People Follow Trends

Here is why popularity affects trends.


Michael Warren follows the trend by wearing his strawberry bucket hat. (Photo Courtesy of Adalie Landa)

Adalie Landa, Staff Writer

Different trends come and go during a student’s life, but the question remains: what is the science behind following these trend? Studies show that following an everyday common opinion is due to our desire for survival. In Psychology Today, a researcher at the University of Essex, Julia Essex, explains that ““[f]or an individual joining a group, copying the behavior of the majority would then be a sensible, adaptive behavior. A conformist tendency would facilitate acceptance into the group; making survival more likely. For instance, people choose between a nutritious or poisonous food, based on copying the behavior of the majority.” The fashion in clothing does not relate to survival, but because the early humans noticed a pattern of survival in groups, this has affected our psychology.

 While that is said, the choice of fashion, products, or influence from people is greatly impacted by the popular opinion. From high-waisted jeans to biker shorts, the weirdest fashion trends have been recycled throughout the decades. One of the latest trends consists of bucket hats, which were originally made for fishing and sun protection. The bucket hats were later used for the military during the Vietnam War, which tells you a lot about how easily something can become the “new” thing. Lynn Bodenberg, former High School English Teacher at Pottsville Area High School says, “We do what the pack does to be an accepted member of that pack, the group, one’s peers. From my point of view, following the crowd is a lemmings mentality; we’d all just follow the crowd right over the cliff”. Later on she states that “trends [are] cyclical”. Trend-starters mimic the early-survival behaviors of past humans, which teaches them how easily a trend can catch on.