The Issue

I want this post to focus on why consumers may overconsume; whether intentionally or unintentionally. There are many possible reasons for this, but I’d like to place emphasis on how social media and microtrends may affect that, similarly to how I’ve mentioned in my previous posts.

Microtrends heavily contribute to overconsumption in the fashion industry. As trends quickly come and go, the clothing items do as well. They often quickly gain traction online through influential people or posts that go viral, influencing other individuals to follow their lead. This may be out of the fear of missing out (FOMO), wanting to imitate influential people, or even the hopes of potentially getting the same attention as other individuals that have made a particular item popular.

Tiktok is one of the biggest factors for the cause of micro trends. It is used by many teens and young adults as well as many influential figures (usually celebrities). As many of us already know, people look up to these influential figures and sometimes try to copy them. 

This is where clothing can come into play. One way people can try to imitate these people is through dressing the same as them or wearing their style of clothing; this can be seen as the beginning of a possible trend. When it gets to this point, many people try to find similar clothing items to make the outfit called ‘dupes.’ This isn’t only seen in clothing however, it can for items like makeup and even furniture. 

Before I continue, I’d like to say that many people wish to become like these celebrities. Rich, famous and powerful. However, most people do not have the connections and resources to actually fund that lifestyle. This is why clothing is a way to keep up with them. Regardless of whether the clothes one wears are the same brand or a dupe, you would feel like you fit into their ‘group’ if you look or dress like them even if the clothes are of lower quality. So to put it simply, imitating influential figures, or in this case, clothing is a way for someone to feel connected to society. 

This can be seen with makeup as well; If we take a look at Refinery29’s article and video “Can Beauty Change The Face Of Homelessness?” and “What Beauty Is Like For Homeless Women On The Streets” then it becomes a lot clearer. Many individuals use makeup as a way to cope with being connected to society. People can utilize many different things to feel connected to society. For example it can also include objects like Stanley cups, and lifestyles like the ‘Clean Girl’. This is all generally because we feel more connected to society if we don’t feel different or outcasted, thus why many people may choose to imitate others causing them to overconsume. 

As my final post on this series of articles about this topic, I just want people to remember one crucial thing; be mindful about what you purchase and consider the possibility that you may be contributing to overconsumption. I don’t wish for anyone to take my posts as shaming others for wanting to follow trends or purchasing things they like, as I wish for these articles to be educating and eye-opening instead. I hope that we can all do our best in taking action to reduce overconsumption, regardless of how small our actions may feel. Taking small actions together as a collective is better than doing nothing at all.

This article was written by CONNIE DONG