Trends like Y2K fashion are everywhere on social media, but within a few years, swiftly become “cheugy” or outdated. This is the life cycle of a microtrend, which can be anything from a specific item like the infamous green Hockney House of Sunny dress, to something more broad like the coconut girl aesthetic.
What is a microtrend?
A microtrend is a trend that becomes popular very quickly and suddenly becomes old news. The lifespan of a microtrend is generally about 3 to 5 years, but with the popularity of fashion TikTok, their inevitable rise and fall are even faster—closer to only a few months. In order to promote their brands, fast fashion companies send huge PR (public relations) packages to influencers. The influencers then advertise the products to their followers, who see this as an incentive to purchase more clothes that they otherwise would not have. People are feeling encouraged by their favorite fashion influencers to actually buy a whole new closet every month, and it’s working. The list of microtrends in the past few years is endless: reverse seam shirts, cow-print jeans, furry bags, patchwork pants, chunky resin rings, and just about everything on the front page of SHEIN. The demand for new trendy items every month has risen exponentially and the fashion industry is at fault.
Why does this matter?
Fast fashion companies have profited immeasurably from this demand. Microtrends promote the overconsumption of clothes, perpetuating the idea that clothes are disposable. Much of this micro-trendy clothing ends up in landfills or thrift stores. The fashion industry is one of the largest polluters in the world, producing 92 million tons of textile waste every year. Thrift stores only sell around 20 percent of the clothes that are donated, and the rest becomes waste. Microtrends that get thrown away because they aren’t “fashionable” anymore make this situation much worse.
What can you do?
Living sustainably is hard amongst all these microtrends and $1000 SHEIN hauls, but not impossible. Consuming less is the simplest option, but thrifting both online and offline, mending, upcycling, buying from sustainable brands, and making your own clothes are other ways to help out while still being stylish. People who wear larger size ranges or face financial difficulties find fast fashion to be more accessible, but they too can shop mindfully when purchasing from fast fashion.
Places To Buy Second-hand In The Greater Philadelphia Area
→ Philly Aids Thrift
→ The Second Mile Center
→ Buffalo Exchange
→ Raxx Vintage
→ Circa Gallery
Rather than trying to keep up with every trend that pops up on your For You Page, find your personal style. Maybe participate in a couple of trends, find what you like, and what you don’t like; it is much easier to not get caught up in every trend when you have a general idea of your style. Don’t buy hundreds of dollars worth of clothes—that you may never wear—all the time. It is much better to embrace the clothes you already own, discover your individual style, and help the environment all at the same time.
Featured Image from Vox.