Become a fan of h2g2
It is a well-known fact that things drift in and out of fashion. Flares, bubble cars, The Spice Girls, and other such things are cruelly victimized once they are no longer popular. However, some fashions get out of hand, and become fads.
Fads can take any shape, or form. Fads can range from new gadgets and technologies, or clothes to outrageous hairstyles, but they all have one thing in common; they are all tremendously popular for a tremendously brief period of time. After maybe a month, or a season if particularly successful, the fad dwindles, and some people view anyone owning the item as yesterday's news.
The lifetime for the fads usually follows the same basic pattern:
Some designer comes up with an idea that just might sell.
He takes it to a big company, who then convinces them that it will definitely not sell, but they will buy the idea from him/her for a staggeringly low price.
The company then markets the product, and generates media interest.
Other (usually smaller) companies catch on, and start to manufacture similar products, and sell them in back alley shops.
The whole idea becomes hugely popular, and soon, everyone and his brother owns/wears/eats one.
The Company thinks it's onto a winner, and starts making variations on the same theme, exploiting the market to its fullest potential.
Another designer comes up with another idea that just 'might' sell, and sells it to a company for a staggeringly low price, and it becomes remarkably popular.
The first idea becomes yesterday news and all the lovely variations that were developed hang around on shelves, and are never sold again.
For instance, electronic pets. Now, they became huge overnight. Soon after they were released, there were people on talk shows claiming that they had lost their spouses to these small, egg shapes games. Yet now, the things are rarely seen on any shop shelves, as they simply don't sell anymore.
Ideal breeding grounds for fads include shopping malls and school playgrounds. Many fads have grown, lived their life, and died in these thankless social constructs. Examples of dead fads include Pogs, Rubik's cube, disco, horoscopes and slap bracelets.