By: Kylie J.

TikTok has taken over fashion and its influence on the fashion world over the past two years has changed fashion forever. 

What exactly is fashion? According to Wikipedia, “Fashion is a form of self-expression and autonomy at a particular period and place and in a specific context, of clothing, footwear, lifestyle, accessories, makeup, hairstyle, and body posture.” Basically, it’s what you wear to express yourself. Everything that is considered fashion is popularized by the media and the industry. But due to social media becoming a huge factor in everyone's life in the 21st-century fashion has expanded beyond reach. This then becomes a fashion trend.

A fashion trend is a specific style or expression shared with the public during a date and location. A fashion trend can emerge from anything that includes media, celebrities, influencers, designs, politics, cinema, etc. There is always a trend in fashion. 

Social media has always influenced what we wear however TikTok has taken it to the next level. When social media platforms were first taking off in the early 2010’s Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest changed the game. These apps allowed teens to share their personal styles and interests. Sharing one's daily outfit became the norm. Instagram was used to flaunt what you wore while Pinterest and Tumblr allowed you to take inspiration from people on the platform and curate your own aesthetic. These apps were so big that they affected what clothes everyone wore, and the makeup people bought, and they even influenced what plastic surgeries were worth having.

When TikTok blew up over quarantine it changed everything. The thing about TikTok was that it managed to combine both of the attributes that Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram had. They put it all into one app. The app is giving millions of people ways to express themselves when it comes to fashion. They are able to interact with people from all over the world and see what fashion trend is trending now and what's next. The app offers a feature called the “For You” page. This feature allows users to scroll through a page that is personally curated for every individual. Users like and comment on things that interest them and they can click the “Not Interested” button for videos that they don't care for. This allows the users and creators to have access to videos that they are interested in. Due to the videos being typically 60 seconds or fewer people's attention spans have become shorter and shorter.

One thing that varies TikTok from other platforms is its relatable content. The app allows anyone and everyone to go viral. It’s about the right time and the right audience. So when it comes to fashion, people from everywhere are able to share their voices. It supplies lots of inspiration and ideas for users. For example, users are able to style clothes that they thrifted or simply make their own. So all types of fashion are shown on Tiktok. Trends and micro-trends are then adapted. This can cause a problem in this creative space. 

Trends are being swapped in and out within a few days. What everyone was wearing just a few days ago is now outdated and basic in just a week. This goes back to the TikTok algorithm. Previously I stated that TikTok is just around 60 seconds or less. This causes things to change and happen really quickly. Attention spans are shortened. The viewers and consumers on TikTok grow bored quickly and want something new and fresh weekly. So people try to keep up with every new fashion trend and this leads to overconsumption. Hauls have grown huge over the past few years. A haul is a video where a person shows off everything that they bought. The problem with TikTok hauls is when the creator spends hundreds of dollars on just clothes. Lots of the time the items bought are from fast fashion companies. Even styling videos can lead to overconsumption. A styling video requires you to make multiple outfits for just one video. Although these videos do foster creativity and imagination when people feel the need to jump onto the bandwagon and follow every trend this can as well lead to overconsumption. Since trends are moving so quickly, to stay on top creators have to update essentially every day. 

One problem that stems from this is that creators feel the need to buy clothes constantly to film their videos so they find the cheapest option which is fast fashion. The other problem is that micro trends are started. Shein is a huge contributor to both of these problems. According to Business of Apps, “On an average day, Shein adds 2,000 new items to its store.” This tactic is used to further push these micro-trends and make them more accessible to everyone. This source also stated, “Shein generated $15.7 billion in 2021, a 60 percent increase on the $9.8 billion it made in 2020.” Fast fashion is a huge threat to the world. It’s environmentally damaging and unethical. Lower-income people are not even the main contributors to fast fashion. The real threat is the rich people who spend hundreds of dollars on weekly hauls. There is a huge price barrier going on as well. 

The consistency of seeing the low prices causes devaluation of clothes. Clothes that are well-made and sustainable cost more but due to fast fashion having such a huge impact on the way we see things the prices seem outrageous. Lots of work goes into making nice quality items. The price of the materials, labor, transportation, shipping, models/photographers, and designers all have to be considered. A lot of time, work, and effort is put into each excellent handmade item. The opposite is true for fast fashion. Workers are producing products at a fast rate. They are underpaid and overworked. Lots of the garments that are made are not made to last very long. They are made of cheaper materials. So when consumers buy these products and get rid of them quickly or the item starts to fall apart they pose a threat to the environment.

The micro trends are now bigger than ever. The trend cycle today has gotten much shorter due to social media, in this case TikTok. A blogger by the name of Mariel Nelson made a post about micro trends. Mariel stated, 

“Before the rise of Tik Tok and Instagram influencer culture, we looked to models, movies, celebrities, and fashion magazines to set the trends that many people carefully and diligently followed. This group of people was small, and our access to them was neatly curated, which ultimately limited the public’s exposure to potential new trends and kept fashion cycles slower. In the past 15 years or so, however, the rise of YouTube bloggers, and more recently, Instagram and Tik Tok creators, have given almost anyone the ability to influence the masses. Now, there are hundreds of thousands of potential trendsetters who can quickly and easily reach millions of people.” 

Becoming a fashionista today isn't only limited to celebrities. Anyone can become an influencer now. When these influencers hop onto a trend to stay ahead or rather start one everyone else does the same. Everyone is now only posting about that one trend. So now that it's everywhere the trend is no longer cool and everyone that still wears it is behind and late to the party. Creativity is being crushed and blown away. Lots of people are trying to be like everyone else and therefore lose who they are.

Some people feel the overwhelming need to fit in with everyone else. They over-consume and follow trends because they no longer know what they like as an individual. The added aesthetics draw boundaries and limit people to only one style. I don't think that people should limit themselves to only one style. So finding the clothes that each person likes and representing them as a person is important. This stops people from changing their entire wardrobe every few weeks and throwing out what isn't trending. Having style isn't about what other people like and how many clothes you have, it's about being who you are and finding what makes you feel the most like you.

Works Cited

Curry, David. “Shein Revenue and Usage Statistics (2022).” Business of Apps, 10 Mar. 2022,

Nelson, Mariel. “Micro-Trends: The Acceleration of Fashion Cycles and Rise in Waste.” WRAP, 17 May 2021,

Rauturier, Solene. “What Is Fast Fashion and Why Is It so Bad?” Good On You, 31 Mar. 2022,

Wikipedia contributors. “Fashion.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 24 Sept. 2022,

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