Pendulum Swing in Fashion

Fashion, which is dynamic in nature, always keeps changing. In addition to this, it has one more property, i.e., it also behaves like a pendulum, which swings from one end to another. Likewise, a particular fashion trend remains in the market until it has a creative meaning. But when there is no further creative interpretation of the particular style, it becomes outdated. However, such process may take a fashion season or even years.

What is the Meaning of Pendulum?

Science defines a pendulum as:

"A weight suspended from a pivot in such a way that it keeps swinging freely." So, within a given range, it keeps swinging from one extreme end point to another extreme end point. Likewise, a pendulum is a pivot, and its free movement property is known as pendulum swing.

What is a Fashion Pendulum Swing?

A fashion pendulum swing is a movement of a specific fashion design or style from one extreme point to another extreme point. In this process, once fashion design reaches its extreme point, it starts moving back towards the opposite trend. Because of this property, fashion design never takes an inertia position or becomes stagnant or inactive but rather keeps moving. For example, when people start avoiding skin-tight jeans, then the pendulum swings towards loose jeans. Another incident was of 1960s, in this decade, demand for fitted mini-skirts went very low (like the extreme end of a pendulum). The pendulum swung towards another end, which means it again brought back the long skirt.

Likewise, when Anarkali-like kurtas in longer lengths teamed with churidars were replaced by fitted, shorter kurtas usually worn with salwars. When form-fitted 'jeggings,' which were the combination of jeans and leggings, dominated the market, looser straight-legged trousers appeared with an entirely different silhouette.

Thus, based on the given information, we can say that the pendulum moves from one extreme (end) to another extreme (end), as we see usually in a wall clock. Likewise, this pendulum swing can be co-related with the periodic movement of fashion, which gathers momentum as it swings from one extreme point to another extreme point. The study of such pendulum swing models assists fashion designers or fashion brands in foreseeing or anticipating future trends and strategically planning their work for the upcoming season.

Examples of Pendulum Swing
Mini dress -----> Maxi dress
Low-rise pants -----> High-rise pants
Bootleg jeans -----> Skinny jeans

In 2016, flared bottom was trending and as result of this pant, suits pants’ bottom was getting wider and reached at its extreme, and then it started swinging back and again the wider bottom started getting narrower.


Moreover, the theory of pendulum swing explains the inherently transient nature of fashion, under which, when a fashion design goes to the extreme end, it automatically becomes outdated. So, according to this theory, fashion design has a beginning and an end. Between the two extremes, designers think, plan, and work in accordance with market trends. In addition to this, fashion forecasters forecast the future trend, and manufacturers and retailers also try to anticipate the direction of fashion change so that new fashion can be launched accordingly.


1. Fashion Passion, Fashion- Pendulum Swing Movement (URL -

2. Chapter 1. Overview of Fashion. Fashion Studies - Class XI, NCERT.


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