Has everyone’s style become the same?
It’s a Tuesday night, and you’re walking to the pub to meet some of your pals for a few drinks. The vibe is nice-top-and-jeans, so you’ve opted for what you think fits this, but is also a bit different. You walk in and clock your friend… wearing the exact, same thing. Black maxi skirt? Check. Adidas sambas? Check. White top which you DIY-ed yourself? You guessed it. You stare at each other with silent amusement.
This would not seem to be a particularly valuable insight into the latest fashion trends, readily available to us at the tap of a button. With its deliciously short videos and tailor-made algorithm, it is impossible to avoid the barrage of trends thrown before our eyes, not to mention the super-handy TikTok shop feature, where we can realise these desires immediately. Whether you’ve recently discovered your love for jorts or can’t get enough of layering your dresses over jeans; if you gave in and bought the viral SKIMS dress or you find a way to work your biker boots into every outfit, nearly all these stylistic choices can be traced back to something we saw on the internet.
The grip that the digital hand of social media has on the way we think, and therefore our tastes and interests, often dictates the trends we gravitate towards. Trends can offer inspiration to help us to feel more secure in stepping out of our comfort zone and slipping into something new which empowers and excites us.
There is a tendency however, to vilify trends, deeming those who take inspiration from them boring or “basic”. The weaponizing of these terms distances us from others and seems to feign a sense of superiority within us, confirming an “I’m not like other girls” mentality. Certainly, this could be seen on TikTok, where many creators jumped at the opportunity to incorporate audio into their videos which stated: “Cool girls don’t wear what everyone else is wearing”. The assumption that – in order to be “cool”, you must construct a never-before-seen outfit, forged only from your own original ideas – is idealistic and frankly impossible.
That is to say, perhaps the seemingly endless stream of Outfit Of The Day videos – whilst scratching the digital itch we have for looks that are aesthetically pleasing – are also rendering redundant the need for individual fashion thinking. Why would I waste half an hour picking out an outfit, when I can simply recreate the first get-ready-with-me fit I see on my explore page? Whilst accelerating our insatiable craving for fast fashion and micro trends, it seems that the incessant stream of these videos poses a greater threat to our capability for thinking creatively and innovatively.
It seems therefore, that the balance between inspiration and replication is a delicate one when it comes to fashion influencers, who may well provide quick fixes for fashion fails, but often at the expense of our own ingenuity. That said, there is a sense of community that comes from finding a similarly dressed crowd, granting us a safe space to try out new styles we might not otherwise have the confidence to. Perhaps, though – to avoid that tense twinning moment – maybe text the group chat before you leave the flat: What’s everyone wearing tonight?