Social media and influencer culture are undermining the art of fashion

By Ethereal Violet Reyes, October 18, 2022

The regurgitation of fashion through social media is forcing fashion enthusiasts around the world to make the decision whether to fall victim to fashion through trends, negatively affecting the environment, or to shop sustainably and be considered a bygone fashion.

Social media content like TikTok videos create preset molds for viewers to choose from for their personal fashion expression, devaluing fashion as an individualistic form of expression.

A report by WIRED said that one in four top-liked videos on TikTok are between 21 and 34 seconds long, revealing our society’s increasingly short attention span. With this phenomenon, even fashion is accelerating as trends invade social networks in an ephemeral way.

The two polarized fashion archetypes are the trendy fast fashion enthusiast who indulges in fast fashion ventures like Shein and the fashion salesman who finds it reasonable to invest in archive and designer fashion, despite exorbitant prices.

People like me who don’t have the full privilege of being able to decide between being the fast fashion fiend or the archival fashion dealer wonder where our place is in the vast art form called fashion. We also wonder why we never feel welcome in the world of fashion.

I’m a self-proclaimed “fashion lover,” but can I really refer to myself that way when I can’t afford half the pieces I can spit knowledge on?

Can I even call myself an advocate of fashion as an art form when I have bought clothes from fast fashion companies that have a devastating impact on the environment and the reputation of fashion?

Fashion has become polarizing. It doesn’t matter if you wear second-hand clothes, trendy clothes, designer clothes or archival clothes, because everyone objected.

Sharon Wu | Post Poly

Compounding this alienation, the sad reality is that even influencers who have the money to choose slow fashion and who have the choice to buy quality over quantity don’t.

Influencers like James Charles have talked about repeating an outfit in a YouTube video or Instagram photo like it’s off-limits and how he revamps his wardrobe every month.

Other fashion voices like Heart Evangelista tell stories of wearing basic pieces like her naked Lady Peep Louboutins and being denigrated by a Filipino designer who claimed she was not fashionable to wear them. , although these are expensive designer shoes that should be timeless.

With narratives like this being common, the history of fashion and its driving forces, like tailoring and individualistic expression, are being drowned by the deep sea of ​​social media that has fast, hard, material-washing waves. nanoscale of what we once called fashion with every passing disposable trend.

According to the New York Times, more than 60% of fibers in fabrics are now synthetic, derived from fossil fuels, so they won’t break down in a landfill. Disposable fashion and its fleeting trends will affect the planet forever.

While influencers preach the “trends who know best” mentality, the influenced follow close behind, causing the dumps to get bigger.

Individualism with fashion expression is dying out as TikTok has become a driving force behind fashion trends. Social scenes are filled with people who look alike and people who dress outside of this fashionable box become outcasts.

Fashion developments after being chewed up and regurgitated by social media and influencers are oddly dystopian because only a few forms of self-expression are acceptable, making people look more alike.

All individualism has been expelled from the masses because of social media.

There must be a conscious effort to invest in quality over quantity and to prioritize personal style over trends. The environmental issue can simply be avoided by refusing to invest in these companies.

There is a balance to be found between buying second-hand clothes and buying clothes from sustainable brands or shops.

If we don’t push the tide that social media is pushing, uniformity will become common.

It will eventually move beyond the realm of fashion, with bodies and faces becoming trendy with plastic surgery, leaving the less privileged to seek answers on how to fit into a mold that doesn’t seem to accept them.

Fashion is just the tip of the iceberg of the dilemmas created by capitalism. Unfortunately, social media is rapidly advancing in these dilemmas. Disposable trends are an endless cycle of ruin, only benefiting those who present themselves as “trendy” while attracting meaningless Instagram likes.

The rest of us are just trying to keep up and soon the historical significance and art of fashion will be gone, replaced by fast fashion and huge environmental impact.

It’s up to fashion lovers to stop buying fast fashion for weight and start buying fashion for quality and their individualistic style.

Featured image by Sharon Wu

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