Sold Out! Retail Trends That Went Viral Overnight


You never know what will set off the next viral retail trend. The can be inspired by current events, social media or our favorite TV shows. This is great news for  retailers, who often find themselves selling out of these overnight sensations mere moments after consumers have taken notice. Below are a few notable retail trends that went viral, and as a result, flew off retailers’ shelves. 

Ken Bone, the 15 minute fashion icon

Anyone who tuned-in to the 2016 U.S. presidential debate would be hard pressed not to have noticed undecided voter, Ken Bone, and his now iconic bright red “American Dad” sweater from colorful sportswear brand, IZOD. Since the sweater’s television debut, it has gone on to sell out multiple times online. IZOD even went as far as renaming it, “The Town hall Look”. It’s probably safe to say this sweater will be selling through the holiday season as a classic “All-American” look for men.


Last year, a bride-to-be’s mother posted a picture of the dress she planned to wear to her daughter’s wedding to Facebook, after noticing that none of her friends and family could agree on whether the dress was blue and black, or white and gold. The photograph quickly went viral on Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter. Soon after, the dress, designed by Rowan Originals, sold out many times over. Though it was eventually revealed that the dress’s true colors were indeed black and blue, the hashtag #TheDress took the internet by storm, dividing its users firmly into two camps. Even Hollywood actors such as Julianne Moore and Mindy Kaling, as well as reality stars like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West weighed in. With a combined 80 million followers on Twitter, one dress took this brand to a whole new stratosphere of shoppers, who normally would never even heard of Rowan Originals.

Taylor Swift’s cat shoes

Known for her heartfelt lyrics (and active love life), Taylor Swift kicked off a major trend back in 2013, when she stepped out wearing Charlotte Olympia’s Kitty Flats. With millions of fans watching her in concert, on TV and following her on social media, her cat shoes became an instant sensation. The original shoes carried a hefty price tag, so Taylor Swift partnered up with footwear retailer Keds to create a shoe line in her name. The collection featured casual shoes for women with cat inspired designs.

Keep It Interesting

One thing is clear: consumers are continuously inspired by what they see in the media. It can be tough to foresee what the next “it” item will be (who saw Ken Bone coming?), so retailers should create a network of interesting brands. As a brand, you should be working to getting your name out there, whether it’s through the Twittersphere or directly into a celebrity’s hands. After all, you never know when a product may become the break out star of the year.

Jill England

Jill England

Jill likes to share usable information with readers spanning industries such as food, travel, beauty, sports, pets, holistic health, and all things green. She's a curious and avid consumer of information of all kinds to enable continuous learning and sharing.
Jill England