By Sanika Achrekar
As Pinterest boards grow and reels take over, social media is becoming a catalogue to help curate your fashion aesthetic. Are we letting the internet take over individual style expression?
Fashion has been in a weird space for the past few years. The internet has become the medium of micro trends — from cottagecore to barbiecore, or a certain clothing item going viral, or even comebacks of styles such as the ’90s, Y2K, or low-rise pants.
The algorithm of Instagram reels has been flooding feeds with these latest trends, and, in turn, probably influencing our personal style. Think of it in this way — you wake up, doomscroll social media, spot a new style, which becomes huge for the next two weeks and then bam, the trend disappears. That’s how quickly trends are changing.
Data shows that TikTok and reels styles are contributing greatly to the increase in consumption of fast fashion, which is not the best thing to happen, given the parallel environmental impact conversation that we are finally having. Microtrends encourage buying, and people end up discarding these clothes as soon as the trend declines. “This phenomenon of a trend becoming ‘cheugy’ contributes hugely to being unsustainable and increases carbon emissions that the fashion industry largely contributes to,” explains designer Nivedita Saboo.
“Fashion brands today have become dependent on social media to stay relevant and to drive sales; however, I do feel that this new age culture is promoting conspicuous consumption that may not be sustainable in the long run,” adds Gaurav Mehta, the founder and director of Jaipur Watch Company.
Social media has gone from being an additional source to quite the main source for brands to promote their latest campaigns and products. “Brands resort to social media for their two minutes of fame, like the Balenciaga distressed sneakers. Young consumers have stirred away from classics and are drawn towards trend-based purchases, which defeats the purpose of buying into luxury, which is meant to last you a lifetime. Whether it is oversized hoodies, neon jackets, glow-in-the-dark graffiti on tees, these aren’t styles that are here to stay, unlike a timeless white shirt,” opines Mehta.
Earlier, personal style was influenced by runways or your favourite celebrity. Kanye West wearing loungewear out and about was a cultural reset, and so was Jacquemus’ mini handbag. “Each individual looking like the other is resulting in losing individuality. We must make sure that each one of us recognises how to be the best version of ourselves and what trends, outfits, fabrics, and silhouettes go with our personality, ethos, and belief. Hence, I feel like this awareness is very important to find and be proud of our personal style before we succumb to a certain trend or reel,” thinks Saboo.
Ekta Mohanani Kamra, a lifestyle content creator, explains that she has never been a trending reel follower apart from using trending music. “I do feel the essence of the product gets lost when content creators and designers follow microtrends as it might not always go with the vibe of the item. I feel the best way to catch someone’s attention is just by being authentic and real,” she says.
Creator Nikita Madhani believes that microtrends are a great way to explore and expand your personal style. “I have personally experimented so much over the last few years that as through Instagram, we are able to connect with so many international brands and personalities. It’s a great way to encourage cross-cultural influences. However, I do refrain from jumping onto all trends. As an influencer, editing is key to knowing what is relevant to you or your audience.”
On the contrary, Aneeth Arora of Pero does not believe that the impact of micro trends is negative. “It is just making the use of the wardrobe easier for people. I think these trends are not deciding that people stop using something but make them more versatile in the way they dress as they keep revisiting their wardrobes in a different way. As a designer and a brand, we are not influenced by the ongoing trends because we are working very much in advance and we are not trend followers. We are trendsetters.”
There’s no denial that micro trends have changed the way fashion is consumed, but if you’re true to your personal style, refrain from jumping on every #ootd out there and use the trend instead of letting the trend use you.
Reproduced with permission from Mansworldindia.com