It's time for the downfall of fashion micro-trends – The Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Here is how fashion is rapidly changing our climate
Collegian File Photo
By Amy Aguayo, Collegian Staff

Social networking apps like TikTok, Instagram and Facebook have exploded to newfound heights. Social media has provided fame and high status to social media influencers. With this status has come endless possibilities in the marketing and advertising world. For instance, big TikTok influencers can post Shein hauls, sometimes worth well over $800. Almost immediately after, the influencer’s fans flock to Shein to buy, buy and buy some more in hopes of being like their idol. Because the phrase “Shein Haul” has become so mainstream in society, we must investigate consumerism as a global community.
Fast fashion is cheap, accessible, and consistent with current clothing trends. Companies like Amazon and Shein have skyrocketed due to its wide range of styles and trends at skeptically low prices. Fast fashion often results in negative outcomes for our environment. The fast fashion industry goes through inconspicuous and rapid changes due to the phenomenon of micro-trends. Fashion micro-trends are distinct designs of low-end clothing that quickly become unpopular within a short amount of time. Social media advertisements are ridden with keen marketing strategies aimed to attract large audiences.
The global fast fashion market has risen as a result from advances in marketing, media and technological developments. Clothing companies are financially thriving while they profit off our society’s misfortunes. Factory workers internationally and in the United States work under inhumane conditions and experience wage theft. The fashion industry has relied on the exploitation of underpaid workers, many of which work unreasonably long hours. Many fast fashion brands are also notorious for unethical tactics used in the development of apparel, such as using harmful plastics.
Sixty percent of fabric fibers are now made of synthetics derived from fossil fuels, so when clothing ends up in a landfill (about 85 percent of textile waste in the U.S. goes to landfills or is incinerated), it will not decay. Several other materials that risk harming the environment include fabrics like nylon, a completely synthetic material. Rayon is another cheap material that is seen everywhere; its toxic chemicals harm the environment and factory workers that take precautions prior to use. Viscose rayon is the least eco-friendly type of rayon, yet the most used as it is cheapest. According to a New York Times article, “the viscose process is the most environmentally harmful due to the toxic chemicals and the inefficient recycling of said components.”
Consuming our clothing in an ethical manner is an immediate way to counteract the fast fashion industry and the problems that come with it. From an environmental perspective, one higher-priced shirt can save the costs of several cheap ones. Another way we can combat fast fashion is by thrifting clothing. Apps like Depop, ThredUp, and ASOS Marketplace are great places to start if you prefer thrifting online.
Purchasing recycled, or upcycled clothing is also ethical, as the clothing is created from unwanted clothing or scraps. While recycled or upcycled clothing tends to be higher priced, it saves the costs of purchasing more clothing in the future. This also saves more clothing from being scrapped and collected into our landfills. Sustainability efforts have evidently grown within the past decade since news revolving around our climate has become much more dire.
While many acknowledge the critical impacts of fast fashion micro-trends, many do not alter their purchasing habits as many may feel that they are a minor attribution to our global effects. However, the false reality of that is coming to light as our world continuously consumes unethical clothing to the detriment of mother nature. Ultimately, we can see that our consumption habits need to change.
Amy Aguayo can be reached at [email protected]
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