International Journal of Interdisciplinary Research

  • Open access
  • Published: 25 December 2022

Evaluation and trend of fashion design research: visualization analysis based on CiteSpace

  • Yixin Zou   ORCID: 1 ,
  • Sarawuth Pintong 2 ,
  • Tao Shen 3 &
  • Ding-Bang Luh 1  

Fashion and Textiles volume  9 , Article number:  45 ( 2022 ) Cite this article

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Fashion or apparel refers to a topic discussed publicly as an indispensable discipline on a day-to-day basis, which has aroused rising attention from academic sessions over the past two decades. However, since the topic of fashion design covers knowledge in extensive ranges and considerable information, scholars have not fully grasped the research field of fashion design, and the research lacks directional guidance. To gain more insights into the existing research status and fronts in the fashion design field, this study conducts a quantitative literature analysis. The research of this study is conducted by employing CiteSpace technology to visualize and analyze 1388 articles regarding “fashion design” in the Web of Science (WOS) Core Collection. To be specific, the visualization and the analysis concentrate on the annual number of articles, author collaboration, institutional collaboration, literature citations, keywords clustering, and research trend evolution of the mentioned articles. As highlighted by this study, the effect of the US and the UK on academic research in fashion design is relatively stronger and extensive. Sustainable fashion refers to the research topic having aroused more attention since 2010, while new research topics over the past few years consist of “wearable fashion”, “transgender fashion” and “medical fashion”. The overall research trend of fashion design is developing as interdisciplinary cross research. This study systematically reviews the relevant literature, classifies the existing research status, research hotspots and frontier trends in the academic field of “fashion design”, and presents the knowledge map and information of literature for researchers in relevant fields.


In academic research and writing, researchers should constantly search relevant literature to gain systematic insights into the subject area (e.g., the major research questions in the field, the seminal studies, the landmark studies, the most critical theories, methods and techniques, as well as the most serious current challenges). The process to answer the mentioned questions refers to an abstract process, which requires constant analysis, deduction and generalization. Any literature emerging over time may be critical, any research perspective may cause novel inspiration, and any detail can be the beginning of the subsequent research. However, when literature is being sorted and analyzed, if judgment only complies with personal experience, important literature will be inevitably missed, or the research direction will be lost in the research. For the process of conducting literature analysis, Hoover proposed that the quantitative methods of literature represent elements or features of literary texts numerically, applying effective, accurate and widely accepted mathematical methods to measure, classify and analyze literature quantitatively (Hoover, 2013 ). On this basis, literary data and information are more comprehensively processed. Prof. Chaomei Chen developed CiteSpace to collect, analyze, deliver and visualize literature information by creating images, diagrams or animations, thereby helping develop scientific knowledge maps and data mining of scientific literature. Knowledge visualization primarily aims to detect and monitor the existing state of research and research evolution in a knowledge field. Knowledge visualization has been exploited to explore trends in fields (e.g., medical, management science, biomedicine and biotechnology).

However, the international research situation in fashion design has not been analyzed by scholars thus far. Fashion, a category of discourse, has been arousing scholars’ attention since the late nineteenth century (Kim, 1998 ). In such an era, fashion is recognized by individuals of all classes and cultures, and it is publicly perceived. The field of fashion design is significantly correlated with people's lives (Boodro, 1990 ), and numerous nations and universities have long developed courses regarding fashion design or fashion. Besides, the development of fashion acts as a symbol of the soft power of the country. The discussion on fashion trend, fashion designer, fashion brands, artwork and other topics in the society turns out to be the hotspot discussed on a nearly day-to-day basis, and the discussion in the society even exceeds the academic research. However, the academic research of fashion design refers to a topic that cannot be ignored. The accumulation and achievements of academic research are manifested as precipitation of knowledge for developing the existing fashion field, while significantly guiding future generations. Studying the publishing situation and information in fashion design will help fashion practitioners or researchers classify their knowledge and provide them with novel inspiration or research and literature directions.

This study complies with the method of quantitative literature analysis, and CiteSpace software is adopted to analyze the literature in fashion design. Through searching web of science (WOS) Core Collection, 1388 articles regarding “fashion design” are retained. Co-citation, co-authoring and co-occurrence analysis refer to the major functions of CiteSpace. This study analyzes the articles regarding “fashion design”, and the focus is placed on the annual publication volume, author collaboration, institutional collaboration, national collaboration, literature citations, keyword co-occurrence, keyword clustering, and the research evolution, and visualized the literature and research as figures of these articles. The results here are presented as figures. This study provides the fronts knowledge, the current research status research, the hotspots and trends in fashion design research.

In this study, CiteSpace technology is adopted to analyze all collected literature data. CiteSpace, developed by Professor Chaomei Chen, an internationally renowned expert in information visualization at Drexel University, USA (Wang & Lu, 2020 ), refers to a Java application to visually analyze literature and co-citation networks (Chen, 2004 ). CiteSpace is capable of displaying burst detection, mediated centrality and heterogeneous networks regarding literate information. Visual analysis of the literature by using CiteSpace covers three functions, i.e., to identify the nature of specialized research frontiers, to label and cluster specialized research areas, as well as to identify the research trends and abrupt changes based on the data derived from the analysis. CiteSpace provides a valuable, timely, reproducible and flexible method to track the development of research trends and identify vital evidence (Chen et al., 2012 ).

To analyze the existing status of research and publications on the topic of “fashion design” in academia and different nations, the “Web of Science” (WOS) database is adopted as the data collection source here. Web of Science provides seamless access to existing and multidisciplinary information from approximately 8700 of the most extensively researched, prestigious and high-impact research journals worldwide, covering Science Citation Index (SCI) Social Science Citation Index (SSCI), as well as Arts and Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI) (Wouters 2006 ). Its vital feature is that it covers all article types, e.g., author information, institutional addresses, citations and References (Wouters 2006 ). Research trends and publications in specific industry areas can be effectively analyzed.

To be specific, the “Web of Science Core Collection” database is selected in Web of Science and the indexing range includes SCI, SSCI, A&HCI, CPCI-S, CPCI-SSH, BKCI-S, BKCI-SSH, ESCI databases. This step aims to expand the search scope of journals and search a maximal amount of relevant literature. A “subject search” is adopted, covering the search title, the abstract, the author and the keywords. There have been other areas of research on clothing or textiles (e.g., textile engineering and other scientific research areas). However, in this study, to ensure that the topic of analysis is relevant, the subject search is conducted by entering “fashion design” or “Costume design” clothing design”, or “Apparel design”, and only academic research regarding fashion design is analyzed. To ensure the academic nature of the collected data, the search scope here is the “article” type. The time frame was chosen from 2000 to 2021 to analyze the publications on “fashion design” for past 21 years. After this operation, the results of the search were filtered two times. The search was conducted until September 23, 2021, and 1388 articles were retained on the whole.

All bibliographic information on the pages was exported into text format and subsequently analyzed with CiteSpace software. Retrieved publications were filtered and copies were removed in CiteSpace to ensure that the respective article is unique and unduplicated in the database. 1388 articles filtered down from 2000 to 2021 were analyzed in all time slices of 1 year, and most of the cited or TOP 50 of the respective item were selected from each slice.

Results and Discussion

Publications in the last 21 years.

The publication situation of WOS database with “fashion design” as the theme from 2000 to 2021 shown in Fig.  1 . On the whole, the number of articles published on the theme of “fashion design” is rising from 2000 to 2007, the number of articles published each year is almost identical, and the number of articles published in 2008–2009 is slightly increasing. The second wave of growth is in 2011, with an increase about 60% compared with the number of publications in 2010, and it has been rising year by year. 2017 is the peak year with a high volume of 171 publications. 2018 shows another decline, whereas over 100 publications remain. 2018, 2019 and 2020 show continuous growths again. As of September 2021, the number of publications in 2021 is 77. Although the number of articles declines in 2018, the overall number of articles over the past 2 decades is still rising. The reason for the low number of publications around year of 2000 is that fashion as a category of discourse has aroused the attention of scholars from the late nineteenth century (Kim, 1998 ). The year-on-year increase is explained as research on fashion is arousing rising attention from scholars. The significant increase in research papers regarding “fashion design” in 2016 and 2017 is that around 2016, and the fashion industry has been impacted by technological developments. Moreover, the way in which design and clothing made has incorporated considerable technological tools (e.g., 3D printing and wearable technology).

figure 1

Total publications and sum of times cited from 2000 to 2021 according to the web of science. Data updated to September 2021

Author co-authorship analysis

The knowledge map of cited authors based on publication references can present information regarding influential research groups and potential collaborators (Liang, Li, Zhao, et al., 2017 ). The function of co-authorship analysis is employed in CiteSpace to detect influential research groups and potential collaborators. Citespace can calculate the most productive authors in related fields. Table 1 shows that the most productive authors, which related with fashion design theme.

The author with the maximal number of publications is Olga Gurova from Laurea University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki (Finland). Her research area has focused on consumer nationalism and patriotism, identity politics and fashion, critical approach to sustainability and wearable technology and the future. Sustainable design has been a hotspot over the past decade and continues to be discussed today, and wearable technology has been a research hotpot in recent years. Olga Gurova is in first place, thereby suggesting the attention given to the mentioned topics and studies in society and fashion area. The second ranked author is Marilyn Delong from University of Minnesota (The USA). The research area consists of Aesthetics, Sustainable apparel design, History and Material Culture, Fashion Trends, Cross-cultural Influence on Design, as well as Socio-psychological aspects of Clothing. The author with the identical number of 7 publications is Kirsi Niinimäki from Aalto University (Finland). Her research directions consist of sustainable fashion and textiles, so her focus has been on the connection between design, manufacturing systems, business models and consumption habits.

For Caroline Kipp, her research area includes modern and contemporary textile arts, decorative arts and craft, craftivism, jacquard weaving, French kashmere shawls, as well as color field painting. For Nick Rees-Roberts, his research area includes fashion film, culture and digital media. Veronica Manlow from Brooklyn College in the Koppelman School of Business (USA.) The research field consists of creative process of fashion design, organizational culture and leadership in corporate fashion brands. Kevin Almond has made a contribution to creative Pattern Cutting, Clothing/Fashion Dichotomies, Sculptural Thinking in Fashion, Fashion as Masquerade. Hazel Clark, and his research field covers fashion theory and history, fashion in China, fashion and everyday life, fashion politics and sustainment. As revealed from the organization of the authors' work institutions and nations in the table, most of the nations with the maximal frequency of publications originate from the US, thereby revealing that the US significantly supports fashion design research. In general, the research scope covers fashion design, culture, mass media, craft, marketing, humanities, technology and etc. Based on the statistics of authorship collaboration, this study indicates that scholars from the US and Finland take up the top positions in the authorship publication ranking.

Moreover, Fig.  2 shows the academic collaborations among authors, which are generated by selecting the unit of analysis, setting the appropriate thresholds. The distance between the nodes and the thickness of the links denote the level of cooperation among authors (Chen & Liu, 2020 ). The influential scholars and the most active authors have not yet developed a linear relationship with each other, and collaborative networks have been lacked. It is therefore revealed that the respective researcher forms his or her own establishment in his or her own field, whereas seldom forms collaborative relationships. Thus, this study argues that to improve the breadth and depth of the field of fashion design research, the cooperation and connections between authors should be strengthened (e.g., organizing international collaborative workshops, joint publications and academic conferences) to up-regulate the amount of knowledge output and create more possibilities for fashion research.

figure 2

Author collaboration network

Institution co-authorship analysis

The number of articles issued by the respective institution and the partnership network are listed in Table 2 .

Figure  3 shows the collaborative relationships among research institutions, while the distance between nodes and the thickness of links represents the level of collaborative institutions. The size of the nodes represents the number of papers published by the institutions, while the distance between the nodes and the thickness of the links indicates the level of cooperation between the institutions.

figure 3

Co-relationships between nations in “fashion design” research

As indicated from the Table 2 , most of the top ten publishing institutions are from the UK and the US, and two universities in the UK rank first and second with more than 20 publications, and most of the institutions are from the UK, thereby demonstrating that the UK's achievements and effect in the field of fashion are far more than other nations. According to the cooperation network between institutions, there are 5 main cooperation networks. First, London College of Fashion, achieving the most number of articles, and there are 8 institutions cooperating with London College of Fashion, among which the closest cooperation is with Parsons Paris Sch Art & Design in the US, whose more influential areas of articles are consumers behavior, unisex clothing, third gender, communicating sustainability, real installation, Italian fashion system, global market, local culture, knitwear and textile design, international scenario, conventional craft methodologies, innovative potential, as well as 3D software application.

The second network of partnerships concentrates on University Arts London as the central node, with frequent collaborators (e.g., Center St Martins Coll Art & Design, Loughborough University Technology, Hut Grp, Sothebys Inst Art, Project Mobile Ising Sexual Hlth, De Montfort University, University of Southampton, Royal Soc Arts, Royal Coll Art). The more influential areas of publication are: electric corset, future histories, clothing sustainability, south Asian youth culture, textile patterning technique, hybrid functional clothing, UK fashion upcycling businesses, rematerializing crafting understanding, fashion designers apprentice, design ethnography approach, developing apparel design guideline and so on.

The third collaborative network is formed by Aalto University, DongHua University, University Southern Denmark, and other institutions, with more influential publications below: haring clothe; fashion designer; Chinese ethnic minority; design recipe; clothing carbohydrate binge; training design researcher; fashion design; traditional handicraft, etc.

The fourth cooperation network consists of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Ryerson University, Queensland University of Technology, Tsinghua University, York University, Art Comm China Fashion Associate, and other institutions. The influential publications areas are: Zhongshan suit; creative application; clothing design; Chinese male; medical moment; menswear design preference; cross-national study; aesthetic aspect; evaluative criteria; disease prevention.

The fifth network organized by University Minnesota Sch Design, Seoul Natl University, Cornell University, University Calif Davis, University North Carolina Greensboro, Colorado State University and others, with the influential research areas if sustainable apparel design practice, sustainable clothing, female users’ perspective, up-cycling design process; apparel design education; strategic ambiguity effective instructional tool, as well as apparel design.

It is noteworthy that: (1) although the University of Leeds has the maximal number of papers, it has not formed a collaborative network with the University of Leeds in the analysis of collaborative relationships; UK institutions have achieved prominent research results, but in the analysis of the number of author papers, and most of the authors with more papers originate from the US. In brief, British institutions, especially university institutions, generally achieve a high level of research, whereas there are fewer authors with a particularly high number of publications. (2) Asian culture covering South Asian youth culture and Chinese fashion culture appear 3 times in the research network as one of the important research areas that combine fashion and culture. (3) Moreover, the respective sub-network has exchanges and cooperation with universities or institutions from other nations, whereas the distance between the sub-networks is long. It indicates that the self-networks have not yet formed a unified network structure among each other, and are only active within their own groups. The issuing institutions that enter the top ten are nearly universities, which acts as the main power of academic articles punishment, and few other institutions (e.g., companies or social organizations). Accordingly, the cooperation between institutions should be boosted. It is necessary to exploit their strengths and advantages, expand the research field and research scope, and make more contributions to the research on “fashion design” topic.

Country co-authorship analysis

Table 3 lists the studies status on “fashion design” in different nations. The US has the maximal number of publications with 257 articles, followed by the UK with 226 articles.

Figure  4 shows the co-relationships between differently nations. The nodes in the Fig.  4 represent nations, and their sizes indicate the number of articles from different nations. The distance between the nodes and the thickness of the links represents the level of cooperation between nations. The purple rings of the purple nodes indicate high centrality, which means that the mentioned nodes are key points connecting different parts of the network. The thicker the purple ring, the higher the centrality of that node. With the U.S. as the centrality degree, it links France, Lebanon, Scotland, Nigeria, Italy, Ireland, South Korea, Thailand, England, the People’s Republic of China, Sweden, Turkey, Canada, Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, Australia, 17 nations in total. With the U.S. as the centrality degree, it links France, Italy, Brazil, Scotland, Denmark, Thailand, South Africa, Turkey, Australia, Sweden, Wales, the People’s Republic of China, North Ireland, Sweden, Canada, Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, Germany, Egypt, America, a total of 22 nations are linked. Although the previous information on the volume of publications by institutions shows that institutions in the UK nations are dominant. However, the total volume of publications compared, the US is higher than the UK, thereby demonstrating that some other institutions or organizations besides universities also contribute to the volume of publications. Furthermore, as revealed from the degree of crossover of the cooperation network in Fig.  5 , except for the UK and the US, there is but not close cooperation and connection between other nations, the nodes are far away, and the more prominent node centers are the US and the UK. This leads to the conclusion that nations should strengthen the intensity and density of cooperation and enhance their influence in fashion design research.

figure 4

Linking relationships between nations

figure 5

Cited references network among the literature

As indicated from the analysis of the previous network of authors, collaborating institutions and collaborating nations, the research results are more superior in the US and the UK. However, given the research statistics issued by WOW Travel in 2019, the top 10 influential nations in the field of fashion consist of the USA, the UK, Italy, France, Japan, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, the People' Republic of China, including Korea. This phenomenon is likely to be attributed to the different language systems of nations other than the UK and the US, and that some of the mentioned nations have their own search databases for articles. For this reason, the publication data are not retrieved. Other nations should actively publish in English or international academic journals to expand their effect on the international research field, not only in fashion trends or arts work creation.

Co-scholar study based on cited references

The literature can be termed a knowledge base, as well as a source of knowledge and ideas. A novel research cannot be outputted without the contribution of knowledge from previous authors, as well as the insights into and mastery of the literature. Co-scholar analysis builds a literature co-citation network by selecting several representative studies as the object of analysis. Vital references in a specific research area can be detected, and a knowledge graph of cited authors by complying with published references can present information regarding influential research field and knowledge. Table 4 shows the most distribution of the references in fashion design theme. Figure  5 is an analysis of the highly cited literature network. Describe and summarize the high-cited literature based on the information in the two charts.

The node density is 0.00313 for cited reference network, thereby illustrating that fewer links and co-citations among the literature. For the citation status of the respective literature, the analysis begins with the work of Fletcher Kate, appearing more frequently in the table, Fletcher Kate’s 2016 book “ Craft of use: post-growth fashion ” pertains to label 0 “fashion system”. The book explores “craft of use”, using ingenious ideas and practices to make garments/fabrics present as an alternative, dynamic, experiential framework for articulating and promoting sustainability in the fashion world (Fletcher, 2016 ). Fletcher, 2012 and Fletcher and Tham, 2014 pertain to the identical cluster 6. Fletcher Kate’s 2012 “ Fashion Sustainability ” counting 12 times, with ranking No.1 in Table 4 . The book’s contents about fashion sustainability in three main parts, i.e., fashion products, fashion system, as well as fashion design practice (Fletcher, 2012 ). According to the graph, Fletcher Kate's book exhibits a high frequency in the citation network and overall citation. The book from Fletcher ( 2008 ) talking about sustainable fashion and clothing, which has the second maximal citation, frequency of 9. The book is primarily concerned with sustainable fashion and sustainable design. Routledge handbook of sustainability and fashion, published in 2014. The major contents focus on sustainability, and fashion recognizes the complexity of aligning fashion with sustainability. It explores fashion and sustainability at the levels of products, processes and paradigms, while employing a truly multi-disciplinary approach to critically question and suggest creative responses to issues, i.e., Fashion in a post-growth society, Fashion, diversity and equity, Fashion, fluidity and balance across natural, social and economic systems, social sciences, arts and humanities interested in sustainability and fashion (Fletcher and Tham, 2014 ). Fletcher Kate made prominent contributions to fashion sustainable design and sustainable development.

The third most frequently cited book is Manzini’s ( 2015 ) book " Design, When Everybody Designs ", with eight citations. It presents Design and social Innovation, Collaborative organizations and encounters, Design ways and Design for novel cultures (Manzini, 2015 ). The ideas of social innovation design and sustainable design are presented.

The journal of “You are what you wear: How plus-size fashion figures in fat identity formation” from Lauren Downing Peters, takes up the third place in terms of frequency of citations. The research regarding fat identities are formed through the intimate practices of self-fashioning and via social channels (e.g., shopping and fashion blogging), thereby bridging the fields of fat studies and fashion studies. It also considers issues of performativity and is reflected as a situated bodily practice. Fashion design is combined with humanistic care (Peters, 2014 ).

The book Fashion and Culture: Cultural Studies, Fashion Studies, from SB Kaiser, 2012 be cited 7 times. The main topic is the integration of fashion, design and culture (Kaiser, 2012 ). Jenss ( 2016 ), Fashion Studies: Research Methods, Sites, and Practices , is cited 6 times. The book explores fashion in wide-ranging contexts by stressing material culture and ethnographic approaches in fashion studies. Ryan ( 2014 ), Garments of Paradise: Wearable Discourse in the Digital Age, research about the wearable fashion based on the new era (Ryan, 2014 ). Fashion design industry impressions of current sustainable practices , 2014, Noël Palomo-Lovinski, the article explores professional fashion designers' understanding and awareness of current sustainable design (Palomo-Lovinski & Hahn, 2014 ).

As revealed from the analysis of the co-cited literature, the literature and research areas arousing more attention in the fashion design area from 2009 to 2016 consist of fashion sustainable design and sustainable development, fashion humanities, fashion design strategies, wearable technology, fashion and culture, and Chinese fashion.

Co-occurrence analysis for the research frontier and trends

Hot research topics.

A research hotspot refers to a research issue or topic explored by a relatively large number of articles that are intrinsically linked within a certain period. The keywords are the authors' high distillation and summary of the core content of the article, reflecting the research value and direction of the article. Keywords achieving high frequency are generally exploited to identify the hot issues in a research field. The noun phrases extracted from the article can also represent the hotspot of research in a particular field to a certain extent. Clustering analysis of keywords is performed by CiteSpace software to generate keyword clustering knowledge graphs (Hu et al., 2019 ). The mentioned clusters reflect the last 21 years of topics in fashion design research (shown in Fig.  6 ).

figure 6

Co-citation clusters about “fashion design” theme

The silhouette scores of the major cluster that were focused on in the review were sufficiently high. Analyzing the size of clusters by Silhouette and size, and the cluster labels could be defined by log-likelihood ratio (LLR) to explain the term contained in. The top 10 keywords in the respective cluster are summarized in the Table 5 .

As indicated from the analysis of the keywords in the respective cluster, the research content of the respective cluster overlaps with each other. However, international research in the “fashion design” field can be summarized as eight major research fields: “Skill/Tools/Technologies/Material with fashion innovation”, “Wearing class and Art”, “Sustainable fashion”, “fashion design/ fashion designer and arts work”,” Education”, “fashion industry and business”, “fashion with culture”, “Medical fashion”.

(1) Skill/ Technologies/Materials with fashion design innovation. The common label that appears are: Wearable new materialism; technological innovation, wearable technologies, future mode, digital exploration, digital design, technological innovation, smart material systems. Promoted by the rapid development of society and science and technology, interdisciplinary learning and research has also emerged in the fashion industry. Innovative design, fabric innovation or innovative display combined with high-tech, novel materials and virtual or digital industries turns out to be a novel topic of great interest in the fashion industry (Barati, Karana, & Hekkert, 2019 ; Burns, 2022 ; Bower & Sturman, 2015 ; Chuah, Rauschnabel, Krey, et al., 2016 ; Feng, 2020 ; Ferrara, 2019 ; Huang, Tang, Liu, et al., 2018 ; Juhlin, 2015 ; Rocamora, 2017 ; Smelik, 2018 ; Smelik et al., 2016 ; Ünay & Zehir, 2012 ).

(2) Wearing culture and Arts. The common labels consist of dressing strategies, transgender fashion, men fashion, human right, accessorizing bodyscape, popular art, applied art. It focuses on different types of people, human rights and humanistic concerns, including unisex fashion. The collection is designed and worn with a mix of different arts, cultures and trends, as well as regional dress cultures, such as Chinese. The collection is inclusive of fashion and highly integrated with art (Chance, Camilleri, Winstone, et al., 2016 ; Geczy & Karaminas, 2011 ; Hancock, Johnson-Woods, & Karaminas, 2013 ; Martin, 1999 ; Mocenco, Olaru, Popescu, et al., 2016 ; Nelson & Hwang, 2019 ; Sabine Linke, 2013 ; Tullio-Pow, Yaworski, & Kincaid, 2021 ; Vainshtein, 2012 ).

(3) Sustainable fashion. Including the labels of sustainability knowledge, sustainable fashion, sustainable practice, communicating sustainability, sustainability knowledge, sustainable consumption, etc. Sustainable development and sustainability are a hotspot of discussion in academia. Sustainable fashion, i.e., Eco-fashion, refers to part of a growing design philosophy and sustainable design trend aiming to create a sustainable system capable of supporting environmental, socially responsible and sociocultural aspects (Aakko & Koskennurmi-Sivonen, 2013 ; De Brito, Carbone, & Blanquart, 2008 ; Fletcher, 2013 ; Gordon & Hill, 2015 ; Gwilt, 2020 ; Henninger, Alevizou, & Oates, 2016 ; Lundblad & Davies, 2016 ; Mukendi, Davies, Glozer, & McDonagh, 2020 ; Niinimäki, 2013 ; Shen, 2014 ; Wang & Lu, 2020 ).

(4) Fashion design, fashion designer and arts work. As the fundamental topic in fashion design field, the labels consist of design strategies, young fashion designer, costume design, South Korean contemporary fashion design, China fashion design, etc. Is the research about the characteristics of fashion in different historical stages, region, area, culture and style study (Bugg, 2009 ; Chang & Lee, 2021 ; Creigh-Tyte, 2005 ; Kawamura, 2004 ; Kim & Farrell-Beck, 2005 ; Larner & Molloy, 2009 ; Ling et al., 2016 ; Millspaugh & Kent, 2016 ; Park, 1993 ; Sterlacci, 2019 ).

(5) Education. Responsible fashion business education, teaching system, fashion design course, interactive teaching, fashion entrepreneurship education, etc. Educational methods have constantly been a vital topic required to be discussed, and teaching methods and concepts have been reformed and innovated to respond to social and economic development, as well as to the constant innovation of knowledge, skills and cultural heritage (Armstrong & LeHew, 2013 ; Faerm, 2012 ; Fletcher, 2013 ; Lee & Sohn, 2011 ; Stensaker, 2007 ).

(6) Fashion industry and business. In modern commodity society, the concept of fashion is more than a way of life and an inner state of mind. People's pursuit of fashion will change the existing mode of life and behavior, thereby constantly creating new demands. Accordingly, the emergence of new products is promoted, as well as the development of novel industries. Fashion products are not only characterized by commercial products, but also help create a fashion industry chain and huge economic benefits for its high added value, easy dissemination and wide circulation (Guercini & Runfola, 2010 ; Pal & Gander, 2018 ; Pedersen, Gwozdz, & Hvass, 2018 ; Şen, 2008 ; Shamsuzzoha, Kankaanpaa, Carneiro, et al., 2013 ; Todeschini, Cortimiglia, Callegaro-de-Menezes, & Ghezzi, 2017 ).

(7) Fashion with culture. The labels include cultural heritage, traditional craft methodologies, new vision, cultural identity, cultural knowledge, etc. Understanding the effect of culture on the fashion industry and design creation gives insight into the style of fashion people want. For the identical reason, fashion impacts the way we live. Fashion is impacted by changes in culture (e.g., modernization, art, and even innovative technology). It is noteworthy that fashion is created by people living in different cultures and places. If one wants to understand fashion, one should be aware of the cultures of different places (e.g., traditional cultures, cultural heritage, new cultural contexts, and cross-cultural exchanges) (Fillin-Yeh, 2001 ; Jansen, 2014 ; Ko & Lee, 2011 ; Roche, 1996 ; Rocamora, 2017 ; Woodside & Ko, 2013 ; Zou and Joneurairatana, 2020a , b ).

(8) Medical fashion, the labels (e.g., mask making, world view, disease prevention, wearable development and fashioning masks). The medical area fashion is listed as a separate field because of the specificity and timing of this field. Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020, the concern for health and disease worldwide has become an essential topic, and almost every research area has a connection with medical care, as impacted by such a general trend and environment, led to developments in the field of “medical care fashion” (e.g., the development of new materials, masks and protective fashion). In addition, due to the development of “human centred design” thinking, the current fashion industry not only pays attention to the creation of artistic works, but also pays more attention to humanistic care. The needs of special groups have also attracted the attention of the fashion industry, such as disabled people, etc. (Kim, et al., 2021 ; Koenig & Carnes, 1999 ; Li & Yim, 2021 ).

Keywords with the strongest citation bursts

Keywords with the strongest citation Bursts can be exploited to reflect the main research content of a research topic over time, and also to reflect the research trends in a certain time period. The tracking and identification of research trends can offer researchers information regarding the changes in research hotspots in the field of specialization, and can provide relevant inspiration and information for researchers in the field. Research frontiers are emerging theoretical trends and new topics that can be synthesized and judged in CiteSpace based on analysis of keywords with the strongest citation bursts (Li & Wang, 2018 ).

After running the CiteSpace software, 13 keywords with maximal citation bursts were obtained (shown in Fig.  7 ).

figure 7

Top 13 keywords with the strongest citation bursts in “fashion design” area

In this study, the research scope is selected from 2000 to 2021, and the strongest citation bursts are concentrated after 2010. The mentioned consist of identity, culture, fashion trend, popular culture, design process, education, design practice, craft, etc. Moreover, the analysis of the strongest citation bursts complies with the following noteworthy points:

The topic of sustainable fashion has burst on the scene three times over the last decade, i.e., in 2015 for “sustainable design”, in 2015 for “sustainability”, as well as in 2018 for “sustainable fashion”. The evolution of sustainable fashion can be identified in the shift from “sustainable production” to “sustainable fashion” concepts. In the wake of the world's biggest ever garment industry disaster, the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh, having caused death of over 1100 people (Rahman, 2014 ) the fashion movement by complying with the concept of “sustainability” is fading massively, which reveals an increased interest in sustainable fashion and ethical practices in the fashion industry (Westervelt, 2015 ). As sustainability turns out to be a “megatrend” (Mittelstaedt, Shultz, Kilbourne, et al., 2014 ), the fashion field has changed dramatically in accordance with the concept of “sustainable fashion” (e.g., sustainable design, fabrics, production and consumption) (Watson & Yan, 2013 ; Mora et al., 2014 ). Moreover, today sustainable fashion refers to a movement and process facilitating the transformation of fashion products and fashion systems towards greater ecological integrity and social justice. Sustainable fashion is not only concerned with fashion textiles or products, but concerned with the dependent social, cultural, ecological and financial systems correlated with people.

Research rends and frontier on fashion design

The identification and tracking of research frontiers present researchers with the latest developments in the disciplinary research evolution, predicts the trends in the research field, and identifies issues required to be explored more specifically. Research frontier topics are novel topics of interest in the field, indicating the social environment and research context. In brief, it can be referenced for relevant researchers in this field.

After CiteSpace is run, keyword timing profiles are generated by time segment based on Cluster co-occurrence analysis (shown in Fig.  8 ).

figure 8

Time zone view in fashion design research

From the time zone view, the research in fashion design can fall into four phrases. The first phrase is that the research situation before 2004 did not form a cluster, thereby indicating that the research on fashion design was scattered before 2004. The second phrase is from 2004 to 2010, thereby revealing that the term of “international modernism” appeared twice. It can be explained by the frequent cross-cultural exchange activities between nations. The research emphasis shifts from fashion research in the traditional sense (e.g., apparel characteristics, designer and design styles) to cross-cultural and regionally fashion culture research (e.g., China, Europe, and the US). The third phase is from 2011 to 2017, more clusters appear in this time period, thereby demonstrating a higher volume of articles published. The research topics in fashion design show a diversity of clusters keywords and a wider range of research directions (e.g., culture, regional fashion, traditional apparel, humanities, education, design approaches and techniques). The fourth stage is from 2017 to the present, the keywords of clusters are more obvious, especially the label around 2017: “wearable technologies”. The mentioned keywords include wearable technology, wearable devices, fashion technology, smart wear, and technology socks. This novel technology is “skin electronics” or “fashion electronics”, which are intelligent electronic devices worn near or on the skin surface to detect, analyze and transmit information regarding the body information, body signals, vital signs or environmental data and others; in several cases, the information can be delivered to the wearer (Chuah, Rauschnabel, Krey, et al., 2016 ; Çiçek, 2015 ; Farrington, 2016 ). The second label is “Transgender Fashion”, unisex fashion, embodies the humanistic nature of fashion. Moreover, the label in 2021 is concerned with “Medical Moment”. With the global outbreak of Covid-19, how to against the virus is the daily topic be concerned by global. Protective clothing, mask has become a necessity in people's lives. Based on this context, the fashion industry has also been affected. The fashion industry think more about the care and needs of the human body, “Medical fashion” has become a popular topic of research. As indicated from the academic view, the research direction of fashion design is closer to the society hot trends and interdisciplinary research. Caring for people's physical, physiological and psychological aspects, fashion research tends to be more human centred design.


By analyzing the frontiers and trends of fashion design research, this study reveals that at the beginning of the research period, the topics of academic research were biased towards research in the humanities (e.g., fashion design, designers, culture, humanistic care, locality, as well as arts work). The direction of research over the past few years has been impacted by the overall global dynamics as well as technological and economic development, thereby demonstrating that the trend of interdisciplinary and cross-border cooperation has entered a stage of development in recent years. The data collection and analysis time of this article is at the end of 2021, but with the development of time and science and technology, such as Digital fashion, Virtual fashion, AI design, Inclusive design, etc. have also become hot topics at the moment. The researcher believe it will produce more academic research in fashion design in the future time.

On the whole, research on the topic of fashion design still has a considerable scope for research. Scholars, designers and practitioners in the fashion field still face huge task. Accordingly, the researcher proposed several suggestions for how to strengthen the process and results of academic research. From a horizontal perspective, (1) the international academic community and researchers should enhance the interact, discuss and conduct collaborative research with each other to provide sustainable vitality and motivation for the research; (2) transnational, cross-unit and cross-border academic exchange and cooperation should be enhanced to create more possibilities for academic research; (3) additional, multilingual journal platforms should be offered for fashion or art fields. From vertical perspective: Combining or contrasting history with modernity. For instance, using new technologies to redesign or study historical apparel, etc. By combining traditional culture with modern technology, the scope of the time-line of fashion design research can be extended.

This study uses quantitative literature analysis to convey information from the literature by creating images, diagrams and information description. The existing state of research in fashion design is reviewed, and provide the knowledge base, the existing state of research, as well as research hot-spots and publication trends in fashion design research. This study can provide existing literature, knowledge map, new inspirations, and research directions to fashion practitioners, researchers, and research institutions. Based on this paper, scholars can efficiently familiarize the field knowledge and facilitate strategic adjustments by relevant institutions.

Availability of data and materials

The datasets supporting the research process and conclusions of this article are included within the additional files. For databases and research results, which is available and has no restrictions to its use by academics or non-academics.

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The authors are thankful to the Design Science and Art Research Center from Guangdong University of Technology, for providing the research facilities and environment for this study.

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YZ: Postdoctor, School of Art and Design, Guangdong University of Technology, Guangzhou 510062, China.

SP: Lecturer and Ph.D., Ph.D in Culture-based Design Arts Program, Faculty of Decorative Arts, Silpakorn Univeristy, Bangkok 10170, Thailand.

TS: Postdoctor, College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China.

D-BL: Professor and Ph.D., School of Art and Design, Guangdong University of Technology, Guangzhou 510062, China.

This research was received financial support from “Science and Technology Program of Guangdong Province: Overseas Famous Master Project” Guangdong province, China. The Project No. is 2020A1414010314.

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YXZ conceived the ideas, experimental design, data analization, interpretation of the results, and drafted the manuscript of the analysis. SP and ST gave technical guidance and provided continuous support to perform the experiment successfully,and gave the suggestions about the writing. DBL contributed to the interpretation of the results and revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Benchmarking: An International Journal

ISSN : 1463-5771

Article publication date: 23 September 2022

Issue publication date: 1 December 2023

The objective of this paper is to synthesise the published literature on consumer awareness and acceptance of Sustainable Fashion (SF) and highlight that sustainability decisions taken across procurement, designing, manufacturing and retailing must include the consumer perspective of SF.


Systematic Literature Review (SLR) on sustainable fashion combined with consumer behavior was conducted. The study approach involved descriptive analysis, content analysis and theoretical analysis in the first section. The later sections focus on sustainability practices across the apparel supply chain that can foster acceptance of sustainable fashion.

In this review paper, five solutions that are typically used for leveraging consumer awareness and acceptance towards sustainable fashion are identified from the latest research papers: (1) attention to micro-sensitive factors (2) shared responsibilities (3) repositioning sustainable fashion for larger audience (4) positioning conscious fashion and (5) unified approach. These solutions are proposed as most important for achieving success in sustainable production and sustainable consumption (SPSC) for the fashion industry. Further, suggestions for how to embed sustainability related business decisions across sourcing, designing, manufacturing, distribution and recollection and retailing are also provided.

Practical implications

Through this research, a clear view emerges of the progression of publication and where future research should be directed to popularise sustainable fashion among consumers. Research findings and proposed solutions will be valuable inputs for brand managers, marketers and retailers as they conceive new plans and make decisions about addressing sustainability challenges in textile and apparel manufacturing firms.


This is a first of its kind of study on sustainable fashion that highlights the importance of understanding consumer behaviour in influencing sustainability decisions required across sourcing, designing, manufacturing and retailing to achieve substantial economic advantages in the fashion industry. End-to-end supply chain processes (i.e. procurement, design, manufacturing, marketing and retailing) are considered to identify several factors that influence consumer behavior in favor of sustainable fashion throughout the supply chain.

  • Sustainability
  • Sustainable fashion
  • Slow fashion
  • Consumer clothing behaviour
  • Consumer awareness
  • Literature review

Sinha, P. , Sharma, M. and Agrawal, R. (2023), "A systematic review and future research agenda for sustainable fashion in the apparel industry", Benchmarking: An International Journal , Vol. 30 No. 9, pp. 3482-3507.

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117 Awesome Fashion Research Topics: Inspirational Ideas List

fashion research topics

Finding some decent fashion research topics that you can use for your next papers is not easy nowadays. You want something new, something original. Your classmates are probably scouring the Internet as we speak, so why are you still wasting time? Take a look at our long list of 117 exceptional fashion research topics and choose the best one right now.

What makes our topics different, you ask? Our experts are constantly updating the list and adding new ideas. This means you will always be able to find an original idea here on this page. We will soon be adding new topics for 2023, so stay tuned!

What Is The Fashion Research Paper?

Keep in mind that finding some great fashion topics to write about is not enough. You need to be able to create a well-organized, concise research paper. To help you do just that, we will show you the 8 main parts of a research paper:

Title page (or cover page) Start with a hook to catch the attention of your readers, then talk a bit about the background of the problem and present your thesis. Literature review. Here, you will need to demonstrate that you have analyzed the literature related to the topic and that there is a gap in knowledge that needs to be addressed. Research In this section, you will explain in great detail all the methods you have used to gather the data. Be as specific as possible. Data analysis. This is the section where you present and analyze the data. Be objective and avoid discussing the results. This is the section where you can discuss your findings and prove how your research results back your thesis. Don’t forget to acknowledge the limitations of your research. Restate your thesis and summarize your research and findings. Show your readers how your findings answer the research questions. References page. This is where you list all the resources you have used to write your research Make sure you don’t miss any.

Now that you know the overall structure of a research paper, it’s time to give you some excellent topics to write about:

Brand New Fashion Research Paper Topics

We will start our list with the brand new fashion research paper topics. These have been added to the list recently, so you can pick one right now knowing that it’s original:

  • Fashion in Ancient Rome
  • The impact of Jane Austen on the world of fashion
  • Swimwear in the 1980s
  • Using bizarre colors in fashion
  • The rise and fall of the jeans
  • Peer pressure related to fashion trends
  • Social networking and fashion
  • The life and work of Giorgio Armani
  • Talk about hippie fashion
  • Fashion in Islamic religions

Interesting Fashion Topics To Write About

If you are looking for something out of the ordinary, we have a long list of interesting fashion topics to write about. Take a look at the following ideas:

  • The rise of the Chanel brand
  • Does price reflect quality?
  • Fashion in Ancient Egypt
  • The sense of fashion in women
  • The link between art and fashion
  • Discuss ethics in fashion
  • The relationship between style and money
  • The role of clothes in your culture
  • Interesting fashion hacks

Fashion Research Topics 2023

In the fashion research topics 2023, you can find topics that were greatly appreciated in 2023. These may or may not be as appreciated in 2024 though:

  • Fashion in developing countries
  • Research smart casual fashion
  • Compare Asian fashion with American fashion
  • Fashion and aesthetics
  • Marketing a new brand of clothes
  • Fashion in vlogging
  • What are cycles in fashion?
  • The rise of the Versace empire
  • Fashion in Paris

Advanced Fashion Topics To Discuss

We also have a list of more advanced fashion topics to discuss. Just keep in mind that the following topics are not easy to write about. But as an option, you can buy a dissertation on any topic.

  • Negative effects of fashion on the environment
  • Forecasting new trends in 2023
  • Celebrities and fashion
  • Negative effects of fashion on the human psychology
  • Influencer marketing of fashion products
  • Fashion from a religious standpoint
  • The place of leather in fashion in 2023
  • Largest fashion shows in the world
  • The importance of Fashion Weeks in Eastern Europe

Fun Research Topics On Fashion

Who said a research paper can’t be fun? Choose one of these fun research topics on fashion and start writing the perfect paper today:

  • Fashion in 1990s media
  • Funny fashion mishaps
  • Men in fashion advertisements/commercials
  • Fashion in medieval times
  • Crossover fashion in 2023
  • Can you start a fashion business?
  • Fashion in the royal family (the UK)
  • Fashion and school uniforms

Important People In Fashion

One of the easiest ways to write a research paper in the field of fashion is to research an icon. Here are some important people in a fashion that you can talk about:

  • Karl Lagerfeld
  • Stella McCartney
  • Audrey Hepburn
  • David Bowie
  • Princess Diana
  • Charles Frederick Worth
  • Harry Styles
  • Kim Taehyung
  • Coco Chanel
  • Designer Paul Poiret

Fashion Research Paper Topics For High School

If you are a high school student, you need some easier topics to write on. Check out these fashion research paper topics for high school and pick the one you like:

  • Fashion in Ancient Egyptian times
  • Michael Jackson’s fashion
  • Fashion in Western Europe
  • Fashion at the workplace
  • Fashion in schools in the UK
  • Discuss fashion in North Korea
  • Luxury products and the human brain
  • Fashion trends and the science that explains them

Captivating Fashion Design Research Paper Topics

In case you want to discuss fashion design, we have a nice list of captivating fashion design research paper topics right here. All these topics are, of course, 100% free to use:

  • Fashion in the LGBTQ community
  • Fashion in Nazi Germany
  • Fun facts about beachwear
  • The role of Versace in fashion
  • New York as a fashion center
  • Effects of Tik-Tok on fashion
  • The origins of ethnic clothing
  • Mixing 3 styles the right way
  • Fashion and sexism in 2023

Fast Fashion Research Paper Topics

Don’t want to spend a lot of time working on that research paper? No problem! Simply choose one of these fast fashion research paper topics:

  • The role of politics in fashion in the United States
  • Talk about wedding ceremony fashion
  • Talk about trends in baby clothing in the United Kingdom
  • The role celebrities play in fashion marketing
  • Talk about 3 iconic fashion characters
  • An in-depth look at fashion in the punk world

Fashion Topics To Research In 2023

It’s time to think about the topics that should work great in 2023. In fact, our experts have already compiled a list of fashion topics to research in 2023:

  • Talk about the notion of “invisible branding” in fashion
  • Research women’s fashion in the 1980s
  • The role played by art in fashion trends
  • Research 3 major fashion companies
  • Talk about the low rise fashion trend
  • Discuss the women’s oversized bomber jackets trend

Fashion And Marketing Research Topics

As you probably know, fashion and marketing go hand in hand. Take a look at our latest and most interesting fashion and marketing research topics right here:

  • Fashion marketing on social media
  • Fashion marketing in the 1960s
  • Effective marketing strategies for luxury products
  • Style vs. functionality in marketing
  • Marketing and fashion cycles
  • The role of fashion in TV commercials

Fashion Ideas For College Students

College students should research topics that are more complex in nature. Don’t worry though; we have more than enough fashion ideas for college students:

  • Research the hoodies under blazers fashion trend
  • Compare Asian and European fashion
  • Research Jane Austen’s style
  • A closer look at minimalist fashion
  • The beginning of the Haute Couture
  • Fashion and the Internet

Unique Ideas Related To Fashion

This list of topics has been revised recently to make sure all ideas are unique. So, if you’re looking for unique ideas related to fashion, you have definitely arrived at the right place:

  • Analyze the cropped cardigans trend
  • Research the plus-size fashion industry in Indonesia
  • The impact of feminism on fashion
  • Social issues caused by fashion
  • Fashion and cheap labor
  • Effects of religion on fashion

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  • Discuss the notion of “color blocking”
  • Fashion trends during World War II
  • The evolution of men’s suits over the last 100 years
  • Fashion and child labor
  • What is organic clothing?
  • Talk about the rise of wig fashion

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Professors really appreciate creativity, so you should definitely go through this list of creative fashion research questions:

  • A closer look at the puff sleeves trend
  • The Kardashian family’s impact on fashion
  • How did Chanel rise to fame?
  • Sustainability in the fashion industry
  • Fashion and body types
  • Interesting fashion trends in Dubai
  • Talk about fashion in the armed forces

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Towards Circular Economy in Fashion: Review of Strategies, Barriers and Enablers

  • Review Paper
  • Published: 16 July 2021
  • Volume 2 , pages 25–45, ( 2022 )

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  • D.G.K. Dissanayake   ORCID: 1 &
  • D. Weerasinghe 1 , 2  

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Circular economy business models are based on the establishment of closed production systems where resources are kept on using for a longer period. Despite the strong desire and demand of the fashion industry to become circular, less is understood regarding the concepts and application of circular economy in the fashion business. This paper offers a holistic understanding about circular fashion, by synthesizing the literature to derive a comprehensive definition for circular fashion and providing a framework of strategies that facilitate the move from linear to circular fashion. Moreover, the barriers and enablers for the transition are discussed by consolidating different viewpoints. This analysis provides useful insights for the designers, researchers, businesses and innovators to support the transition towards circular economy in fashion.

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Fashion in a Circular Economy

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Enabling Circular Fashion Through Product Life Extension

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Department of Textile & Apparel Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Katubedda, 10400, Sri Lanka

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Dissanayake, D., Weerasinghe, D. Towards Circular Economy in Fashion: Review of Strategies, Barriers and Enablers. Circ.Econ.Sust. 2 , 25–45 (2022).

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Received : 04 March 2021

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Published : 16 July 2021

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fashion industry research paper topics

The Most Intriguing Fashion Research Topics and Ideas for 2023

A re you searching for inspiration to write your fashion research paper in 2023? This article can assist you with that! It examines the most interesting and up-to-date fashion research topics, providing ideas on what to cover. Additionally, we’ll discuss some of the hottest themes this year and why studying fashion is essential in modern society.

Top Fashion Research Ideas for 2023

The fashion industry is always evolving, so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of fascinating research topics to dive into. If you’re looking to stay ahead of the curve, here are some hot topics for the upcoming year.

  • How sustainable fashion impacts our planet. With sustainability on everyone’s mind these days, exploring eco-friendly practices in fashion could be a game changer. The study will explore various aspects, such as using organic materials and waste reduction techniques. Also, you can research their impact on protecting our environment while discovering ways to promote them further.
  • The role of technology in the fashion industry. The fashion industry is being transformed by technology. 3D printing, AI-driven design and other advancements are changing how we create and buy clothes. Explore these innovations to see their pros and cons. For instance, you may delve into tech’s role in optimizing supply chains or predicting trends based on consumer info.
  • The influence of social media on fashion trends. Social media, such as Instagram and TikTok, has revolutionized fashion. It connects designers with influencers and consumers in unprecedented ways. The effects of social media on shaping the industry are worth investigating – how it impacts clothing styles, beauty trends, and body image perceptions both positively or negatively.
  • Gender-neutral fashion. As society becomes more diverse and inclusive, gender-neutral fashion has become a hot topic. The exploration of how designers create clothing that isn’t specific to one sex or another is worthy of attention. You may research whether this approach will increase sales while promoting equality in the industry.

Don’t fret if you feel daunted by the idea of delving into these captivating research topics. There’s a solution: purchase research papers online and get ahead of the game. With fashion expanding at an astonishing pace, availing yourself of well-crafted academic work can give you valuable perspectives while also saving time.

fashion industry research paper topics

Why Fashion is So Important?

Fashion is much more than just clothing and accessories. It’s an art form, a means of expression, and a reflection of our culture and society. Fashion impacts all aspects of life; it can influence how we feel about ourselves or others, create social status distinctions or help us fit in with specific groups. Fashion also plays a vital role in the economy as well. The fashion industry generated over 2 trillion dollars globally in revenue last year alone. This includes everything from retail sales to textile production-related services such as marketing campaigns for various brands worldwide. Finally, fashion has become vital when discussing topics involving identity politics, like race or gender. They have been essential components of modern-day cultural attitudes. Fashion can help break down stereotypes and promote acceptance. It allows us to express ourselves in unique ways while also promoting inclusivity.

Tips on How to Choose Interesting Research Paper Topics about Fashion

While crafting an interesting research paper about fashion can be a daunting task, selecting the right topic is half the battle. Here are some tips to help you choose your subject wisely.

  • Identify Your Interests. To choose a compelling and pertinent research paper topic about fashion, it’s crucial to identify your interests within the industry. Consider which aspects of fashion intrigue you the most, such as sustainability, technology or cultural influences. By choosing subject matter that genuinely fascinates you will enjoy the research process more and be motivated throughout.
  • Stay Current with Trends. To find unique and relevant ideas, try staying current with fashion trends. This can include attending industry events or following top-rated designers online via social media platforms like Twitter or Instagram.
  • Consider the Scope. When picking a topic for your paper, it’s important to consider the scope of your research. A broad topic may be too difficult to cover comprehensively, while a narrow one can limit available resources and information. Aim for balance; choose a subject matter that allows you to delve into it but is still manageable.
  • Assess Available Resources. Certainly, you need to evaluate the resources available to you. Ensure that your chosen topic has sufficient literature and data accessible for research purposes. Consider consulting with librarians or experts in the field if needed.
  • Consult Your Instructor or Advisor. Don’t forget to consult with your instructor or advisor when choosing a topic. They may have suggestions based on their expertise and can help guide you towards relevant resources for research.

These tips will help you select a fascinating and doable research topic about fashion. With the right ideas, thorough research and quality writing, your paper can be thought-provoking while providing new perspectives on the industry’s trends for 2023!

In 2023, there are plenty of intriguing research topics within the fashion industry to explore. It’s crucial to stay up-to-date on current trends when selecting a topic that intrigues you. Along with your personal interests, examining available resources and researching diligently is necessary for finding an achievable focus. Getting advice from experts can also help open new perspectives about this ever-evolving field.

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The State of Fashion 2023: Resilience in the Face of Uncertainty

The State of Fashion 2023 cover key line

  • Imran Amed ,

We have released The State of Fashion 2024 by The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company. Download The State of Fashion 2024 now to explore the 10 themes that will define the industry in the year ahead.

Just as the fashion industry was beginning to find its feet after Covid-19′s turmoil, the later months of 2022 seem determined to throw brands and retailers off course again. Deteriorating macroeconomic and geopolitical conditions have weighed heavily on the industry in the second half of the year and continue to leave fashion executives on edge as they look towards 2023.

However, much of the industry is entering this difficult period with strong foundations, having experienced impressive growth in 2021 and in the first half of 2022. As economies around the world began lifting restrictions in 2021 after enduring the pandemic’s devastation, the fashion industry benefitted from a burst of pent-up consumer demand, despite some challenges remaining, like supply chain disruptions. Global industry revenues in 2021 grew 21 percent year on year, while the average EBITA margin close to doubled, growing 6 percentage points. The industry continued its strong performance in early 2022, with 13 percent revenue growth in the first half of the year.

More than 50 percent of the companies tracked by the McKinsey Global Fashion Index contributed to the industry’s total economic profit in 2021, compared to just 32 percent in 2020. The proportion of value destroyers (companies generating negative economic profit) has thus fallen to its lowest since 2013. Our roster of fashion “Super Winners” — the top 20 listed companies by economic profit — comprises many of the usual suspects from the luxury and sportswear categories, while players in the discount segment have also climbed up the list.


But some of these gains were chipped away as 2022 progressed. The war in Ukraine, which started in February, triggered a string of events, including an escalating energy crisis across Europe. Troublesome inflation in many major economies led central banks to roll out back-to-back interest rate hikes, ending a lengthy period of ultra-low and even negative rates, in a bid to temper rising prices and help steer economies away from recession.

Looking ahead to 2023, the drivers contributing to a broad state of global fragility are top of mind for fashion executives. In the BoF-McKinsey State of Fashion 2023 Survey, 85 percent of fashion executives predict inflation will continue to challenge the market next year. Meanwhile, geopolitical tensions, specifically around the ongoing war in Ukraine, have disrupted supply chains and created an energy crisis that 58 percent of executives also believe will weaken the fashion market.

In aggregate, McKinsey expects global fashion sales growth of 5 percent to 10 percent for luxury, and negative 2 percent to positive 3 percent for the rest of the industry in 2023, while the dichotomies that previously defined the fashion business are expected to return. Beyond the differences between luxury and players from other segments, regional differences will be pronounced. The US economy, despite the slowdown, is expected to be more robust than other major global economies — Covid-19 outbreaks and precautions continue in China, while Europe suffers from an energy crisis and a weakened euro against a strong US dollar.

Against this backdrop, the world map for industry growth is shifting. Markets that once showed solid growth potential are now facing a wider range of risks than they once did, ranging from extreme weather conditions to political or social unrest. Other regions such as the Middle East may become new havens of growth, requiring brands to further localise designs, marketing and merchandising to attract new customers. But as fashion executives assess what the new regional realities mean for their businesses, their scenario planning will need to factor in more than financial risks and opportunities.

Fashion companies will need to rethink their operations. Many will update their organisational structures, introducing new roles or elevating existing ones to target key growth opportunities and respond more effectively to risk. Brands may also choose to see the next year as a time to team up with manufacturing partners to sharpen their supply chain strategies. This may involve nearshoring to better respond to fast-shifting consumer demand or leaning more heavily on data analytics and technology to manage inventory efficiently.

Distribution channel mixes are also ripe for reassessment. As e-commerce growth normalises after its pandemic boom, the sheen has started to wear off the direct-to-consumer digital model that propelled many brands over the past decade. As lockdown restrictions lifted, shoppers have made it clear that although they still value online channels — particularly within luxury, where online DTC and third-party platforms will continue to drive growth — shoppers also want brick-and-mortar experiences. Brands will also need to factor in the continued return of international travel to pre-pandemic rates, which will be buoyed by a strong US dollar. Wholesale and physical retail have a new role in revamping customer journeys, requiring brands to look beyond tier-one cities to be physically closer to consumers.

Brands will have to work hard to remain attractive to consumers, given the tough economic environment. Consumer behaviours in 2023 will depend greatly on household incomes. While higher-income households will be less affected by economic pressures and look likely to continue shopping for luxury goods, as in previous downturns, lower-income households will likely cut back or even eliminate discretionary spending, including apparel. Some will trade down, pivoting to value retailers, marked-down items and off-price channels while eschewing full price, premium and mass brands.

All this elevates the importance of brands’ marketing strategies. Brands should use the year ahead to innovate their digital marketing. Budgets will shift to alternative channels that could generate better return on investment than paid social media ads, such retail media networks, while building stronger brand communities. This will feed into distribution channels, as brands will need to seek higher margins and gather more first-party customer data.

Executives are bracing for a tough 2023; leading brands will deploy realistic but bold strategies that combine careful cost control with strategic investments in skills growth.

How brands manage and communicate about issues that are important to consumers will also be critical. Consider sustainability. New and emerging regulations along with heightened consumer awareness of fashion’s contribution to the climate crisis mean that brands will need to be hyper-vigilant about how they talk about their sustainability-related initiatives and achievements to ensure they are not “greenwashing,” which could potentially lead to reputational damage or costly fines.

Brands that effectively navigate industry challenges in 2023 will be better positioned to seize consumer trends. Coming out of the pandemic, formal dress codes remain disrupted, pushing brands to rethink office and special occasion attire. Meanwhile, consumers are increasingly shopping across gender categories, and brands that can adapt their merchandising strategies accordingly will be able to strengthen their relationships with a wider range of consumers.

Executives are bracing for a tough 2023; leading brands will deploy realistic but bold strategies that combine careful cost control with strategic investments in skills growth. Those that recognise that growth will be unpredictable or muted, but still charge forward with investments in innovation throughout their organisations, will find they are in a stronger position to accelerate their businesses when the uncertainty and fragility subside.

The 10 fashion industry themes that will set the agenda in 2023:

1. Global Fragility

Amid the highest inflation in a generation, rising geopolitical tensions, climate crises and sinking consumer confidence in anticipation of an economic downturn, the global economy is in a volatile state. Fashion brands will need careful planning to navigate the many uncertainties and recessionary risks that lie ahead in 2023.

2. Regional Realities

Understanding where to invest globally has never been easy but rising geopolitical uncertainty and uneven post-pandemic economic recoveries, among other factors, will likely make it even more challenging in 2023. Brands can re-evaluate regional growth priorities and hone their strategies so they are more tailored to the geographies in which they operate.

3. Two-Track Spending

Consumers may be impacted differently by the potential economic turbulence in 2023. Depending on factors including disposable income levels, some will postpone or curtail discretionary purchases; others will seek out bargains, increasing demand for resale, rental and off-price. Fashion executives should adapt their business models to protect customer loyalty and avoid diluting their brands.

4. Fluid Fashion

Gender-fluid fashion is gaining greater traction amid changing consumer attitudes towards gender identity and expression. For many brands and retailers, the blurring of the lines between menswear and womenswear will require rethinking their product design, marketing, and in-store and digital shopping experiences.

5. Formalwear Reinvented

Formal attire is taking on new definitions as shoppers rethink how they dress for work, weddings and other special occasions. While offices and events will likely become more casual, special occasions may be dominated by statement-making outfits that consumers rent or buy to stand out when they do decide to dress up.

6. DTC Reckoning

Though brands across price segments and categories have embraced digital direct-to-consumer channels, mounting digital marketing costs and e-commerce readjustments have put the viability of the DTC model into question. To grow, brands will likely need to diversify their channel mix, including wholesale and third-party marketplaces, alongside DTC.

7. Tackling Greenwashing

As the industry continues to grapple with its damaging environmental and social impact, consumers, regulators and other stakeholders may increasingly scrutinise how brands communicate about their sustainability credentials. If brands are to avoid “greenwashing,” they must show that they are making meaningful and credible change while abiding by emerging regulatory requirements.

8. Future-Proofing Manufacturing

Continued disruptions in supply chains are a catalyst for a reconfiguration of global production. Textile manufacturers can create new supply chain models based around vertical integration, nearshoring and small-batch production, enabled by enhanced digitisation.

9. Digital Marketing Reloaded

Recent data rules are spurring a new chapter for digital marketing as customer targeting becomes less effective and more costly. Brands will embrace creative campaigns and new channels such as retail media networks and the metaverse to achieve greater ROI on marketing spend and gather valuable first-party data that can be leveraged to deepen customer relationships.

10. Organisation Overhaul

Successful execution of strategies in 2023 will in part hinge on a company’s alignment around key functions. Fashion executives need a new vision for what the organisation of the future will require, focusing on attracting and retaining top talent, as well as elevating teams and critical C-suite roles to execute on priorities like sustainability and digital acceleration.

Imran Amed

Imran Amed is the Founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of The Business of Fashion. Based in London, he shapes BoF’s overall editorial strategy and is the host of The BoF Podcast.

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The 10 Themes That Will Define the Fashion Agenda in the Year Ahead

The State of Fashion 2024 breaks down the 10 themes that will define the industry in the year ahead.

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The Defining Fashion Stories of 2023

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April Fools' Day pranks: Apps to translate baby stoner sayings, a ghostbuster at Tinder

Every april 1, brands and companies want to get some laughs – and attention – with goofy new 'product' launches. here are some ideas from companies such as sweetgreen, welch's and omaha steaks..

If you don't like Mondays, this one may especially be grating. It's April Fool's Day , when you should trust no one and question everything.

The roots of April Fools' Day may date back before to before the 15th century. But the modern-day April Fools' Day has become a day to prank a friend, family member, co-worker − or your customers.

Even though some companies have had April Fools' pranks backfire , marketers continue to issue spoof products in attempts to get some laughs and attention.

Already ahead of April Fools' Day, 7-Eleven has hinted at a possible prank product: In addition to new Lemon Lime, Green Apple and Sweet Orange flavored 7-Select sparkling waters, out now with partner Miracle Seltzer, there's a fourth flavor coming April 1: Big Bite Hot Dog.

The hot dog-flavored water "combines the mouthwatering experience of 7-Eleven’s iconic Big Bite Hot Dog into one refreshing beverage – ketchup and mustard included," the convenience chain says in a press release . "Say goodbye to the days of alternating bites of a hot dog with sips of a beverage, now those on the go can swap the bun for bubbles."

Krispy Kreme: A special doughnut deal for April Fools' Day

Will Big Bite Hot Dog sparkling water be sold? Its availability will be announced April 1. However, some reporters were sent a can of the drink. USA TODAY can confirm that it definitely smells like hot dog water and has a smoky aftertaste.

If you are interested in trying it, both 7-Eleven and Miracle Seltzer have hinted at having some to give away on their Instagram pages. (If you get a can, share with a friend as it's 16 ounces.)

Here's a roundup of many of the brand-related April Fools’ gag announcements. You've been warned.

Sour cream & onion flavored soda

Despite the proliferation of crazy-flavored products including Peeps-flavored Pepsi , Frank's RedHot sauce-flavored Vlasic pickles and Doritos Nacho Cheese-flavored liquor , healthy soda brand OLIPOP and Pringles are not really teaming up to bring to market a Sour Cream & Onion soda.

The product would have been "a match made in heaven … to bring the delicious, tangy flavor of Pringles’ Sour Cream & Onion flavor to life in liquid form with prebiotic benefits," the companies said.

Stoner lingo translation app

Another dream team prank product: Rosetta Stoned, a mobile app from Rosetta Stone and medical marijuana company Fluent , that "bridges the conversational gap between novice users and seasoned stoners in any social setting."

Da da decoder

Infant equipment site BabyQuip has its own language-bridging lark: the “Baby Translator” app, to decode your baby's secret language.

"Say 'goodbye' to restless nights as you decode your baby's coos and cries instantly, providing you with the understanding you need as a parent, all in one convenient app," it promises.

An AI-powered plush doll

Custom stuffed animal maker Budsies already makes selfie plush dolls with a built-in voice recorder. Its April Fools' spoof: Artificial intelligence-enabled dolls that "come programmed to learn everything about you and to become your new best friend."

A 50-pound Bearabuddy

Sorry to the 3,500 or so who have already signed up to buy Bearaby's Jumbo Benji plush toy, which is four times the size of its regular weighted plush toys and twice as heavy as its heaviest weighted blanket . This isn't actually going to be sold. But it is real and will be making its home in the lobby at The Child Mind Institute in Harlem to welcome children and their families. More weighted plushies are due the day after April Fools' Day, the company says.

A sleeping bag to go bananas over

The Dole Banana Peel Sleeping Bag, conveniently promoted as being available on April Fools' Day only, is made from actual banana fiber and "allows parents to escape into their own cocoon of sensory deprivation."

A full-body cleaning suit

Outrageous clothing company Tipsy Elves has a special product for April Fools' Day: The Mopsie. You don't need paper towels anymore, you can use your body to clean up those messes, with this "innovative, wearable microfiber towel jumpsuit" for "effortlessly soaking up spills and messes with ease." There's also a Baby Mopsie for "hard to reach places."

Korean BBQ deodorant

Kevin's Natural Foods , which has paleo- and keto-certified ready-to-cook and easy-prep entrées, is touting a new line of personal care products inspired by its food dishes including Korean BBQ Deodorant, Cilantro Lime Toothpaste, Lemongrass Basil Shampoo and Tikka Masala Sunscreen.

"These new face, body and hair care essentials will help fans prioritize self-care inside and out," the company says. 

Omaha Steaks' meaty sprays

Omaha Steaks has its own personal care prank product: Meaty Spritz sprays with flavors such as Omaha Fog, Hog Haze, and Cock-a-Doodle-Dew.

"The world’s first protein-infused, flavor-packed, portable pump spray … (to) enjoy all the mouthwatering flavors of your Omaha Steaks gourmet favorites no matter how far away from the kitchen you are!" the company says.

Sriracha toothpaste

Asian sauce maker Lee Kum Kee , which makes Sriracha Chili Sauce and Sriracha Mayo Dressing, is introducing – not – its Siracha Mayo Toothpaste. It's "fiery and creamy goodness … is sure to spice up your morning dental routine."

Post-salad dental kit

Need some less powerful toothpaste? Sweetgreen offered these fanciful personal hygiene products as part of its Sweetgreen After Salad Kit, which is "designed with your pearly whites in mind … offering everything you need to freshen up post-meal."

Choose from Miso Ginger Toothpaste, Spicy Cashew Mints, Lime Cilantro Dental Floss, and Sweetgreen Toothbrush and Floss Picks.

Fruit juice lip gloss

More personal care prank products: Welch’s Juicyfuls Juicy Fruit Lip Gloss – now available in five flavors: grape, orange, peach, strawberry and raspberry – made with real juice from Juicefuls fruit snacks so "you get that irresistible sweet flavor you love, all in a lip gloss that's as fun as it is nourishing."

Protein-powered seasonings

Quest Nutrition , maker of protein powder, snacks and other products, has a prank product line of seasonings including All Purpose, Lemon Pepper, and Garlic Herb, each of which deliver "21g of protein, 2g of net carbs and less than 1g of sugar."

If you want to try Quest's real products, you can use code NOJOKE for free shipping on online orders over $49 April 1-3.

Superpowered Superfeet?

These would certainly come in hand on a run, but – sorry – it's a jogging joke. Superfeet SuperBoost Power E-Soles gives you 8 hours of continuous battery-powered boost, for almost Iron Man-like propulsion. "All the comfort and support of Superfeet , now with electrifying performance," the company says in a video about the prank product. "It's like having a powerful electric motor in your shoes."

Scotch tape-branded Scotch?

This shenanigan seems like a blend that could stick: Scotch Whisky by Scotch Brand. The whisky "features a nose of cherry wood and a delightfully smooth finish that hits like a well-wrapped gift."

Who you gonna call when ghosted? This new title at Tinder

Dating app Tinder announced a new April Fools' Day hiring quest for a Vice President of Ghost Hunting to help combat "one of dating culture’s most prevalent vices – ghosting," a practice inflicted on 78% of singles already in 2024 (an untrue fact from Tinder).

Patrón's bringing back a beloved liqueur. No kidding.

Patrón patrons get some good news today. The premium tequila maker chose April Fools' Day to announce the return of its Patrón XO Cafe tequila-based coffee liqueur, which was discontinued in 2021. Since production ceased, devotees took to social media and signed a petition asking parent company Bacardi to bring it back.

Made with Patrón Silver tequila and Arabica bean coffee – the dry liqueur can be sipped straight, in cocktails and as dessert topping – Patrón XO Cafe will begin arriving in stores again later this month.

Say it with dead flowers

Don't forget to put roses on your April Fools' Day list. UrbanStems has this "special" delivery, The Dead Inside Collection, "an assortment of dead flower bouquets, dead plants, half empty vases, and more for the pessimist in your life." But, for real, check UrbanStems' social media accounts including Instagram for how to get 20% off an order of real flowers.

Cheesecake Factory's real deals

The Cheesecake Factory  also has a deal that's no joke: Sign up for the chain's Cheesecake Rewards loyalty program on April 1 to get an Any Slice, Half Price reward, redeemable for 50% off any slice of cheesecake or layer cake, with any food or beverage purchase (no gift cards).

Those who were members before April 1 will find something special in their account on Monday, too: either a free slice of cheesecake each month for a year, a free whole cheesecake, a free slice of cheesecake, $5 off $25 purchases, or $10 off $40 purchases. (All rewards redeemable by April 16; can be redeemed for dine-in, to-go and DoorDash.)

New merch from Dunkin', bonus points in app

Dunkin' announced it is going back to its roots and rebranding to just "Donuts'" on Monday, April 1. To celebrate the rebrand, the company is selling "Donuts'" merch, including sweatshirts that read "DONUTS," on .

Additionally, Dunkin' Rewards members will receive 3x bonus points on any donut order through the mobile app on April 1.

Urban Outfitters launches 'Name Three Shirts' movement

Urban Outfitters said it is launching a global movement to "stand in solidarity against band-tee-shaming" by launching a new collection called "Name Three Shirts."

The t-shirt line "playfully mocks the gatekeeping attitudes of older generations who insist that band-shirt wearers should be required to name songs by those artists," the company said in a news release.

The line, which features revamped logos from bands such as The Grateful Dead, Joy Division and Led Zeppelin, is a "playful jab at the attitudes of older generations, and fights back against the misogynistic undertones of the infamous ‘name three songs’ line of questioning," Urban Outfitters said in the news release.

The collection of shirts is available online and in select Urban Outfitters stores starting April 1. You can shop the collection online here .

Auntie Anne's, Frontier Airlines collaborate on Pretzel Plane

Auntie Anne's pretzels and Frontier Airlines announced they have collaborated on the newest addition to Frontier's fleet: the Pretzel Plane.

According to a news release, the plane includes new in-flight entertainment featuring Auntie Anne's pretzels rolled seat-side, the "luxurious" smell of hot, fresh pretzels throughout the cabin and airplane-shaped pretzels if you're feeling hungry.

Moe's Southwest Grill, Sonic team up to introduce a Queso Slush

Two popular fast food chains announced a collaboration that is sure to be polarizing.

Moe's and Sonic announced a new beverage, the Queso Slush, a queso-flavored slushie. "The frozen goodness of a Sonic Slush meets the delicious flavor of Moe's queso."

Follow Mike Snider on X and Threads:  @mikesnider  & mikegsnider .

Gabe Hauari is a national trending news reporter at USA TODAY. You can follow him on X  @GabeHauari  or email him at [email protected].

What's everyone talking about? Sign up for our trending newsletter to get the latest news of the day


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