Start a Clothing Fad – Bay Area Discovery Museum

Start a Clothing Fad

Dream up a new fashion trend! Invent a new clothing fad by combining fashion styles that have not been combined before. This activity helps children practice synthesis, a hallmark of many creative ideas.

Materials Required

  • Websites, magazines, or fashion books that will contain lots of pictures of clothing
  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil (something to write with)


  1. Use books and Internet searches to find fashions, fabrics, and clothing trends that were popular before the year 1900. Gather lots of pictures for possible ideas.
  2. Make a list of clothing fabrics, inventions, or trends that are more recent.
  3. Try a variety of fashion combinations of old + new until you discover a clothing fad not seen before. For example, a neon toga.
  4. Write down as many ideas as possible. After the most obvious combinations, think of new ideas.
  5. Look at the list of ideas. Play around with combing one older item and one newer item to make some unusual variations.
  6. Choose the most creative fad. Pick a fun name for your fad.
  7. Scan and sketch pictures to create a fashion spread for a magazine or website that shows off the new fashion style.

Additional Tips

Try these add-on activities:

  • Host a runway show with many different old + new fashions. Pick music that suits the new fads.
  • Sew or build samples to wear.

Links to Creativity

Many creative ideas come from synthesis, or by combining two unexpected things. In this activity, children combine different clothes, colors, and even styles of clothing to start a new fad. The more combinations and new ideas generated, the more likely you find a creative concept.

Supporting research includes:

Guilford, J. P. (1959). Three faces of intellect. American psychologist, 14(8), 469-179.

Koestler, A. (1964). The act of creation. New York: MacMillan.

McCrae, R. R. (1987). Creativity, divergent thinking, and openness to experience. Journal of personality and social psychology, 52(6), 1258-1265.

Rothenberg, A. (1990). Creativity, mental health, and alcoholism. Creativity Research Journal, 3(3), 179-201.

Rothenberg, A. (1999). Janusian processes. In M. A. Runco & S. Pritzker (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Creativity (pp. 103-108). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Runco, M. A. (1991). Divergent thinking. Westport, CT: Ablex Publishing.

Torrance, E. (1972). Can We Teach Children To Think Creatively?. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 6(2), 114-143.


This activity was contributed by the Center for Childhood Creativity at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. For more information and resources see

©2015 Bay Area Discovery Museum.

Start a Clothing Fad

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