Revealing the fastest disappearing fashion micro trends

As the seasons’ pass, so do fashion trends. From the catwalks to the high street, all trends have a certain lifespan – some make it back the next year, whereas others will never see the light of day again. But, in the age of TikTok and Instagram, a harmful new type of trend has gained notoriety – the micro trend. These fashion trends move at lightning speeds, with a much shorter shelf life than seasonal trends. Some only last as little as a few weeks, meaning that by the time the high street has got to them, consumers are already bored and the products end up in landfill.

Often, because of their short lifespan, these micro trends are adopted by fashion brands who can buy cheap and stack them high. For these brands, producing sustainable clothing doesn’t align with the practice of designing with micro trends in mind.

Whilst we are aware of these micro-trends, we wanted to do a deep dive to reveal the fastest disappearing micro trends of the year, from the Hockney dress to embroidered knitwear. While these trends may quickly vanish from the minds of consumers, they, unfortunately, leave their mark on the planet, with fast fashion contributing to 10% of all carbon emissions in the world. We compared search data at three points in the year – January, June and October to reveal the fastest disappearing micro trends.

Fastest disappearing fashion micro trends

  1. Fisherman sandals -95.2%

Fisherman sandals, also known as caged leather sandals, were the practical footwear trend of summer 2021. Originally popularized by high-end brand The Row, they soon trickled down to the high street, with the likes of Zara offering dupes. Hailed by Vogue as ‘this season’s answer to Birkenstocks’ the shoes lost their popularity as quickly as they gained it – dropping from 9,900 searches to 480 by October.

  1. Knee-length shorts -93.2%

Although shorts can be seen as a summer-only trend, the likes of Celine and Bottega Veneta have produced iterations for colder weather, such as wool blends, making them a year-round staple piece. Knee-length shorts were the darling of the season earlier in the year, often tailored and neutral. However, this micro trend hasn’t made the cut for autumn-winter, with searches dropping from 14,800 to just 1,000 in October.

  1. Hibiscus print  -84.7%

Tropical florals quickly overtook spring’s ditsy, dainty flowers as the botanical trend of the year. Often seen on halter dresses and in pink and orange colourways, the trend was first revived by Versace, after singer Jennifer Lopez was spotted wearing their famous pattern from the 90s. However, the hibiscus trend quickly fell out of favour, dropping to just 90 searches in October.

  1. Hockney dress -70.5%

As TikTok’s most controversial item, the Hockney dress by brand House of Sunny divided a nation after it was first worn by Kendall Jenner. It combined three elements: pastel green, swirl pattern and knitted fabric, but many got so sick of seeing it on social media that it trended on TikTok as ‘cancelled’. Costing $128, the price point was more like a designer investment piece. However, searches for the dress dropped by 70% from June to October – making it the most expensive micro-trend of the year.

  1. Crochet dress -70.2%

After a year of people taking up crafty hobbies, it was no surprise to see crochet up there as a popular micro trend. Even Olympian Tom Daley made headlines as he sat in the stands knitting and crocheting in between events.

Expert tips on shopping sustainably

Simon Turner, Marketing Director at Clothes2order has advised consumers on how to avoid overconsumption as a result of micro trends.

  1. If you see a trend, take time before you invest in it

“When you are looking for an item or find a trend that you like, don’t buy it straight away. Bookmark it, and if it keeps coming back to your mind, then buy it. It’s so easy to act on impulse, whether that’s because you’ve seen something on social media or because you’ve got an occasion in mind, but it can lead to buying things you wear once and forget about.”

  1. Shop secondhand

“Whilst, unfortunately, a lot of micro trends do end up in landfill, just as many end up on secondhand sites like Depop or Vinted. If you’ve got an item in mind, check these types of sites first. You’ll not only save money, but also prevent an item from a life at the bottom of a pile of landfill, and that will feel good.”

  1. Look for companies who produce sustainably

“Whilst there are many companies out there that contribute majorly to overconsumption, there are many rising through the ranks who try to fight it. Look for companies who use deadstock fabrics in their products, which means they only use fabric that has already been created, or those who make clothes to order, therefore only using what they need. There are also plenty of other factors to look out for, such as using water-based ink. These companies will often have a sustainability statement making it clear on their website that caring for the planet is important to them.”

  1. Buy quality over quantity

“It can seem tempting to fall for fast fashion deals, but the true price of buying a piece of clothing for less than a takeaway coffee is not only damaging to the planet but also the people who make the clothes. Opt for quality, over quantity, and your personal consumption will decrease massively. You might spend more for an item upfront, but you’re much less likely to need to replace it.”


First, we identified a number of ‘micro’ fashion trends using sites such as using Who What Wear, as well through research on Instagram and TikTok.

We took the number of Google searches in the UK at three different periods throughout 2021: January, June and October, using Google Ads Keyword Planner.

With June generally being around the time when interest in most trends peaked, we then calculated how much interest has dropped off since then, to show how each trend had fallen out of favour with consumers.