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What causes name fashions?

(69 Posts)
Rainatnight Sat 08-Apr-17 04:41:51

I'm really interested to know how name fashions and trends take hold. It seems to me that it can't be as simple as calling your kid something because everyone else is. It seems more that there's something in the ether.

I was really struck by this in the playground the other day. We've just named our first DD. For context, I've become a mum much later than my friends, don't know anyone with babies at the moment, so haven't at all mixing with babies, toddlers or anyone naming children. So we didn't directly get the idea for the name from somewhere else. Nor is it particularly in the media or anything.

But in the playground there were two other little girls with her name! A few years older, but still.

So what causes it?

celeryeater Sat 08-Apr-17 04:50:47

I have often wondered this. When I was growing up I would hear a name and think that's nice, I will remember that if I ever decide to have children. Once it was walking around a very old grave yard (weird child) but now I am having children I probably wouldn't use those names because they've become popular again! I don't know where people heard them or thought of them from, they were never on TV or anything as far as I'm aware. When I had my DD the baby classes I attended were full of names I was considering and thought I was being terribly original!

celeryeater Sat 08-Apr-17 04:51:54

^sorry if the above post is a bit garbled - I'm very tired!

MrsCharlieD Sat 08-Apr-17 06:04:54

My ds has a name that has been my favourite ever since my dad introduced 8 year old me to the Beatles. I've always known if I ever had a son I would give him this name. When I finally became a mum in 2014 I found its become pretty popular and is often listed in here as a cool boys name. We used it anyway but I was secretly disappointed it had become popular.

SuperBeagle Sat 08-Apr-17 07:00:41

I think it's just cyclical, for the most part.

Names that were popular 70+ years ago are now coming back into fashion, whereas the names of our own parents are still considered dated. Likely, by the time our children are having children, those 50s/60s/70s names will be the "in" names.

AprilShowers16 Sat 08-Apr-17 07:08:21

I read something once that said that for girls names have a shorter shelf life because of a desire (however subconscious) to give girls youthful names. So names that come in fashion are names that are dying out in the oldest generation (eg. Ava) and that as we didn't really grow up with we don't associate with a particular age (or potentially want to use a beloved grandmas name). We wouldn't use Susan or Barbara because all our mums friends were called that growing up.

However for boys there isn't the same emphasis on youthfulness so boys classics tend to say the same (Thomas, James etc)

mistermagpie Sat 08-Apr-17 07:29:52

I've wondered this. When I was at school everyone was called James, Peter, Rebecca, Claire, Louise, David etc etc etc - those kind of names. In my DS's nursery class there is Magnus, Cillian, Belle, Eva, Ava, Freya, Gunnar, etc etc etc. Nobody would ever have been called those things when I was little!

It can't be that objectively Gunnar is a nicer name than Peter (surely?!), but why does nobody use Peter anymore? Or Claire? Or Gary/Darren/Ian for a baby? Will these names come back in eventually like Edith and Arthur have?

grufallosfriend Sat 08-Apr-17 07:30:07

Names are like fashion. People prefer 'fresh' trendy fashion which eventually becomes dated. That's why we constantly look for new trends, often reviving very old names that we didn't grow up with, so names go in cycles.

But not all names become super trendy, so by choosing a name outside the top 100 or 500 it may not rise to the top 10.

grufallosfriend Sat 08-Apr-17 07:32:53

Yes, Clare and Steven will sound fresh and new to our kids or their kids. Because they don't hear it all the time. But Alfie and Evie will probably become dated names to them

SuperBeagle Sat 08-Apr-17 07:36:00

April That makes a lot of sense!

Lemondrop09 Sat 08-Apr-17 14:13:47

Yes, I can see our grandchildren all being named Barry, Sharon, Nigel and Pauline.

Names we are using now (from our grandparents generations) like Albert, Stanley, Edith and Florence will seem dated and our children won't touch them with a barge pole.

Railgunner1 Sat 08-Apr-17 14:46:44

Films and books, celebrities are also to blame.

228agreenend Sat 08-Apr-17 14:55:13

Tv and film programmes have a big influence.

Kylie - all 28 year old now
Shania - 17 year old
Archie - from Monarch of the Glen
Eavie - from House of Elliott
Ethan - from films

diddl Sat 08-Apr-17 15:42:31

I think that what April says hold true for girls & boys names though.

We generally(?) find our parents & Gps names old fashioned.

By the next generation they might be considered OK again.

Railgunner1 Sat 08-Apr-17 16:19:23

well, its very much a male entitlement thing for fathers to name sons after themselves and call it a tradition (like if a child doesn't have a surname). Women rarely do that, hence the 'youthfulness' vs 'classics'

LokisSister Sun 09-Apr-17 00:54:47

I've wondered this myself. I have a 14 year old Amelia, named for my nan (it was her middle name) i got lots of comments about it being unusual. To me it didn't seem to get popular until Amelia Pond in doctor who, and I've noticed that rose, Martha and Clara are quite popular now, theyre also a doctor who companion. Probably just a coincidence though.

reuset Sun 09-Apr-17 15:14:09

Many many factors, just a few I'll mention: some influenced by celebrity and popular culture, lots 'avoiding' the names we remember from the generation above, or even our own, now dated, peers, now deemed old fashioned. Grandparent names sounding fresher again...some. People consulting and choosing from the top names lists. People hearing a 'new' name with no idea how popular it is and using it (a common one by all accounts)

But not all names become super trendy, so by choosing a name outside the top 100 or 500 it may not rise to the top 10.
It may not, I agree. But you'd need to chart its progress over the years (decades?) to decide if it was safe, and hope some popular celebrity, film, TV show, soap opera doesn't use it. Some names just outside the top 100 at present have 'super popular' stamped all over them. I was talking about Betsy earlier (at 135) on another thread, I'm predicting that one to have soared in the next stats.

reuset Sun 09-Apr-17 15:17:58

I've wondered this myself. I have a 14 year old Amelia, named for my nan (it was her middle name) i got lots of comments about it being unusual.

Common enough, people not knowing. Amelia was a top 100 name over 20 years ago. It would have been approx top 20 when you chose it 14 years ago.

GwenQuinn Sun 09-Apr-17 15:33:36

Yeah I think the dating thing is true. My DS has an 'old mans name' that's recently come back into fashion, I'm a carer and when I tell the people I work with his name they often look horrified grin. To them I suppose it is like calling a baby Gary or Sharon.

Like a pp, I also didn't really know any other babies or young kids before having DS and I still managed to pick two quite popular names, I actually thought they were quite unique! He would have been Isla if a girl, I'd never even heard the name before getting pregnant.

CaliforniaHorcrux Sun 09-Apr-17 15:38:38

MrsC I'm wondering if you mean Lennon, that's my eldest son's name and he was born thirteen years before your son was. There were over 1500 children named Lennon born within two years either side of mine and no doubt many more since. You said you're disappointed it had become popular but you were many years behind the trend I guess and I think it had a spike in popularity because that's what Liam Gallagher and Patsy Kensit called their son, who was born the year before mine, so it was probably kind of seized on by Oasis fans like me

Obviously if you're not referring to that name then fair enough

squoosh Sun 09-Apr-17 18:05:47

I'm going to guess that the Beatles name is Jude.

BackFromTheDead Mon 10-Apr-17 22:50:20

Jude's an ugly name innit

LovelyBranches Mon 10-Apr-17 23:42:54

One reason for the trend for old names is the death of a loved one, usually a grandparent. The name is. celebrated, often as a middle name and then the name grows in popularity and a newer group of people chose those names as a first name.

Veterinari Tue 11-Apr-17 07:48:36

Totally unnecessary, rude and unpleasant Backfromthedead

MrsMeeseeks Tue 11-Apr-17 14:24:42

A lot of it has to do with news and celebrities, I think. The year Maya Angelou died, three of my friends named their babies Maya. Footballers tend to go for slightly wacky names which seem to be quickly assimilated into general use. .

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