One component that could be attributed to this behavior is none other than social media platform TikTok. TikTok fashion trends come and go faster than designers can even churn out collections.
TikTok has birthed microtrends at a higher-pace
TikTok’s great rise to fashion power player status is in large part owed to COVID-19. The platform exploded when everyone was locked in their home without nowhere to go and nothing to do.
Eventually, once high fashion brands, like Gucci, hopped on the platform, the floodgates were open. TikTok quickly solidified its place as the next big platform for fashion next to Instagram, which arguably transformed the entire fashion industry.
Compared to some of its other social media predecessors, like Instagram, which has a static feed, or YouTube, which typically features more long-form videos, TikTok was known for its short-form videos. At maximum, a TikTok user has three minutes to give you the content you crave. The problem with this is that aside from birthing even shorter attention spans, it has also birthed microtrends.
Unlike trends, which have a respectable amount of shelf life, microtrends come and go as fast as we can change outfits. During the first half of 2022, TikTok was largely responsible for birthing the “cottagecore” aesthetic of the New England grandmother at her summer home in Martha’s Vineyard. Then came the Barbiecore aesthetic that made pink so popular “Legally Blonde’s” Elle Woods would have a field day. In between that, there were microtrends such as goblincore, angelcore, clowncore, and the list went on and on. Many of these came and went so fast, that fashion media platforms didn’t even have the chance to properly delve into them. It was truly a blink-and-you-miss-it type of situation.
With all these “core” communities and microtrends happening, most brands that operate on a seasonal cycle can’t keep up. Microtrends are a ripe money opportunity for fast-fashion brands who can produce clothes and have them in stores within three weeks.
The rise in popularity of brands, like Shein, has also contributed to this. Shein is known to offer 700 to 1000 new styles daily, making them the fastest of the fast-fashion brands. As a result, Shein is considered one of the least sustainable fashion brands in the business. It is near impossible to mass produce at that level and have it come at no environmental costs.
In the end, the impact TikTok has had on the fast-fashion industry has been negative. Consumers need to be more conscious about how they are shopping, and there should be more reluctance to hop on microtrends. While great TikTok influencers are promoting sustainable fashion and providing fashion education, be wary of those schilling fast-fashion brands and trends that could be gone before we even blink.