Suddenly everything in and out of fashion is faster than ever

It can feel something like Stefon drawing by displaying the latest current fashion “trends” Saturday Night Live: Barbiecore, night luxe, coastal grandmother, vacation, indie spoiled, balletcore. This season, quite literally, has just about everything — and by the time you read this, it’s likely half of it’s outdated and a new set of common terms will appear to replace it.

It seems like the only real reliable trend right now in fashion is, well, trends. The trend cycle has accelerated to an astonishing pace, sure, and most of that growth is driven by TikTok, where individual creators can create the latest thing on their own with a single viral video. But the popular social media app can’t do it alone; Would you be surprised to learn that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a role in creating today’s trend scene?

“TikTok is an interesting conversation because it has really accelerated the trend cycle since 2020,” says Cassandra Napoli, chief strategist at trend forecasting agency WGSN. Before that, people were living their lives abroad, and business was going on as usual. Then, all of a sudden, we were all confined to our homes, with little left to do but scroll through TikTok. We’ve spent all that time on digital media, and as a result, between 2020 and now, the trend cycle has accelerated at an accelerating pace.”

The proof lies in the staggering numbers in some cases: #nightluxe took off on TikTok at the beginning of the year and has been used about 47 million times since then. The hashtag #coastalgrandmother has now reached 167 million views worldwide. The #cottagecore, which first stabilized during the pandemic, maintains a strength of 10.8 Billion Watch, 2.1 billion of which happened in 2022 alone.

“Aesthetic” culture is now all inclusive

The embodiment of fashion trends isn’t particularly new—remember the 2014 “normcore” phenomenon, for example—but there is new pressure to keep up with the grueling pace at which these trends are rising and then disappearing. With more traditional fashion trends, there have always been ways for people to incorporate these changes into their wardrobe; Maybe it’s about adding a new accessory or trying the latest edition in a favorite silhouette. That’s no longer possible with these new social media-driven trends, which aim to include an entire lifestyle rather than just one or two staples in your closet.

Gabrielle Prescod, General Manager of Fashion for plank magazine. “I feel like this is getting less and less [true] Now, because with all the social exposure that all of these other trends are getting, it kind of pushes whatever you’re attracted to out of style.”

But how much stock should we put in this hypothetical flow of trends? Many of them can be traced back to a single viral video created by a social media user; Creator Lex Nicoleta can take credit for “coastal granny,” while “indie sleaze” came from Olivia V. What’s going on from there, according to Vox Senior Reporter Rebecca Jennings, is that other creators see success online. They want to emulate him.

“I think there’s this race to name the next thing — whether the next thing is there or not is kind of next to the point,” she says. ‘It’s more like, ‘I coined this wonderful term; Here’s one example that may or may not actually happen. “

Algorithm amplification effect

As soon as a video like this is released, it informs the algorithm that people are interested in the concept – and thus, a file actual trend is born. Since other creators see a topic that goes viral, they also want to get into the potential of getting views. “If you have a decent following on TikTok, you’re probably exhausted; you probably feel like you have to post multiple times a day; you’re tired of coming up with ideas,” Jennings says.

“When a new trend comes along, this gives you a video idea; like, ‘Oh, I can do whatever it might be – thrift, beauty, be ready with me – and you can just say, ‘I’m doing something for a coastal grandmother like’ who – which‘,’ she explained.And the You’re navigating in a direction, which may increase your chances of getting into the For You page in some people’s feeds.”

Traditional media picks up the baton from there, carrying these small trends from their original platforms to the broader fashion industry at large. In an article for Vox, Jennings details how a combination of SEO-driven online performance pressure and effort to be the first to report something annoying created the perfect environment for viral video that has become a de facto trend in the industry.

Fashion industry trends and social media trends are confined to a cycle

However, the current trend scene is certainly linked to the “chicken or egg” case: as much as social media can influence trends that occur in the fashion world, the Capital-I industry is equally responsible for sparking ideas across different platforms. Prescod cites the still-popular 2000’s revival as an example: When a brand like, say, Blumarine mines its own archive to give a fresh spin to vintage pieces — low-rise pants, bandana skirts, butterfly tops — the fashion-obsessed internet community will post So dig up photos of the originals and find them more Things to shovel back up.

“Whatever the fashion industry does, they dictate the trend to a certain extent, and then social media can be like, ‘If it’s relevant, remember when that was relevant and this happened,’ and then they take that and work with it,” she says. “This may be more relevant to the masses because social media has a greater reach than our fashion community.”

That’s how we end up in a world where a hit Miu Miu ensemble could lead to a complete renaissance of those ultra-compact mini skirts you might remember from your days as a high school student, with one major difference between generations: Millennials approach those fashion moments of comfy nostalgia. – “It’s kind of a big hug, talking about Backstreet Boys and Y2K and things like that,” explains Napoli — with Generation Z having enough distance to romanticize the era. (Imagine telling your younger self that your glowing dance pants will someday be worthy of that respect.)

yes nostalgia he is Move faster than ever

And if you feel like this nostalgia-driven cycle is moving faster than ever, it’s because it is. Once again, technology is responsible for destabilizing the entire generational system. Previously, it made sense that the generations were about 15 years apart; The baby boomers had a very different childhood experience from Generation X, who themselves lived in a different world than millennials. But even as millennials came to an end, things had changed enough to require a new period for those born within three years of the Millennium/Generation Z split (that will cover between 1993 and 1998, if you’re curious): Zillenials. With the rate at which our current technology is expanding, it is bound to collapse even more.

“The marginal generation has become more important because our relationship with technology is very different; it hasn’t accelerated as fast as it was back then, and so someone born at the beginning and at the end of the generation you share in common,” says Napoli. “But if you look today at the technology that is out there for the end of Generation Z versus the beginning of Generation Z, they are very different and their experiences of coming of age will be very different, because by the time Generation Z gets younger into adulthood, the metaverse might be here.”

The result is a breakdown of this nostalgia, which means that if trends may have been running in a 20-year cycle before, they now have a revival closer to the 10 to 15 year range. This old-fashioned aphorism about sitting toward a revival of something you experienced the first time is becoming hard to live with—and most importantly, it leads one to wonder if we’re on the brink of rock bottom when it comes to new ideas.

“Now, I feel like we’re in the late ’80s to the early 2000s, and I’m just like, ‘We don’t have anything else to point to?’ We’re exhausted from the ’60s, ’50s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and we’re in the 2000s now. Let’s go back again?” Prescod asks. “It doesn’t seem like we should be this close. If we don’t have any original ideas outside of that, I worry about what people are getting inspired by now.”

To participate or not to participate: that is the question

We’ve been so flooded with new hashtags to try it out, it’s no surprise that the idea of ​​sharing trends is starting to feel overwhelming for all generations. General Z he is They’re still interested in trends, but according to Naples, their approach to these popular hashtags is centered around the idea of ​​finding community rather than constantly changing style — and thus, those aesthetics that include lifestyle. They even built a platform, the Aesthetics Wiki, to share and name all the different subgenres. “Generation Z is really looking at social platforms to find camaraderie, find themselves and feel like they know themselves, and part of that is finding like-minded people online,” she says.

“This umbrella term for ‘core’ aesthetics: If I’m a ‘cottagecore’, what does that mean? It helps me get to know other people who might be like-minded, and it helps me find people who share interests, values ​​and things like that,” explains Napoli. “There is this appetite for nurturing our lives, for making our lifestyles and who we fit into an umbrella term so that we can understand it, and we can build a community around it. This appetite is really a trend focused on Generation Z, not a millennial trend.”

Maybe it’s time we think more like Gen Z: so that the following blanket terms evoke a sense of community for you – I personally am waiting for #BlairWaldorfCore, but this might just sit under the already existing #oldmoneyaesthetic (388 million views on TikTok this year) – feel free to checkout The next wave of fast fashion hashtags is sure to arrive in fall.

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