Trend alert: trends are not sustainable

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The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Scroll through your TikTok feed and you’ll find video after video of influencers knocking over large plastic bags, filled with more plastic bags, filled with clothes. The fashion trend cycle is getting shorter and your favorite influencers are promoting it.

In 2021, an article by The Guardian on shopping overspending explained that consumer spending has increased 400% since the 1970s. The rise of social media contributes to this harmful buying behavior. In this fast-paced society, with the ease of posting and exploring social media, trends are changing rapidly, which puts pressure on the demands of mass production of clothing. As trends continue to evolve at high speed, the business opportunities for these unethical clothing manufacturers are increasing.

Social media has become a powerhouse in the fashion industry, producing whole new streams of advertising and careers. These influential personalities (whether they know it or not) bear a responsibility that could be directed towards maintaining a sustainable and long-lasting dressing room.

Their audiences are under pressure through content, like a constant cycle of receiving and buying new items. We see these new styled items once, and a week later, content creators get a whole new boatload of trending items. Trendy upkeep for the public is simply impossible, but upkeep for garment workers is atrocious. When these influencers buy a bunch of clothes for their videos, the items are most likely from fast fashion producers with poor work environments.

The blame cannot be entirely placed on the influencers. The fashion industry has been run by a group of big monopoly players. And with that, the fashion industry is one of the biggest producers of fossil fuels. So, do influencers pressure designers, or do designers pressure influencers? It goes hand in hand, but influencers need to understand their pressure on the consumer, and it all ultimately comes down to the consumer.

Influencers and celebrities can take the lead on this issue. Their content only captures an outfit once, and then it’s old news. Influencers could use their platforms to encourage the maintenance of a sustainable closet where they maintain their specific style and avoid participating in any trends that may come their way. Promote versatile items, encourage capsule closets, embrace comfort and if they like it, buy it.

Let’s turn the saying “it’s so last year” from being a dig to a compliment. Plus, being able to style a shirt a hundred different ways is way more impressive to me anyway.

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