Present age has taken the definition of ‘trends’ to a whole new level. Now, trends come and go in the blink of an eye. But behind these fleeting trends, lie multiple implications that sound the alarm for something far-more concerning.

This hyper-fast generation is quick to tug you with them, oftentimes not even realising that you are now a participant in this hustle of life. One such area is the bustling world of fashion, which has become more fast-paced than ever. Basics don’t do it anymore, the need to stand out and receive compliments on your outfit is stronger than ever. OOTDs, try-on hauls, must-have items, outfit ‘inspo’, aspirants wish to pull a Komal Pandey and carve their name on the social media landscape. The world of micro-trends, fast fashion and ultra-fast fashion is aided by a hyper-presence of social media in our daily lives. Overconsumption has become normalised, but the planet and the marginalised workers, in particular, bear the brunt of this phenomena.

Fast fashion refers to the production of cheap clothes in accordance to the rapidly changing fashion trends, to profit from the newest trends at the height of their popularity. Consumers try to fit in and keep up with the micro-trends by overconsumption of these inexpensive fast-fashion apparels. But the rationale behind this overconsumption drive is that these clothes go out of style or simply wear out due to their cheap materials after a short while, and subsequently the garments are discarded after a few wears. Then, we behold another micro-trend that grips the masses, and the cycle resumes all over again. You might recall the Maddy outfit phenomena that stormed the internet when Euphoria peaked, or the recent Barbiecore with the release of Barbie, when people all around were rushing to add their contribution these trends. It is quite evident that social media plays a major role in creating the demand for fast fashion.

The Haul Culture created by social media is a prime example. It started with SHEIN, then moved to other popular websites and brands like Urbanic, Urban Outfitters, ZARA, FOREVER 21, H&M, FASHION NOVA, UNIQLO to name a few. The growing popularity of short-video content like Reels, TikToks and YouTube Shorts is indeed a driving force behind these trends. This is accompanied by the rise of influencers and micro-influencers which is also leveraged by brands. Brands have started mass-collaborating with hopefuls seeking to increase their social media presence. In turn, their audience gets inspired to follow their footsteps and starts buying from the same platforms. Brands have also partnered with social media platforms to collect extensive data from consumers, so any person expressing even the slightest interest on their platform gets bombarded with advertisements of the product or similar products. And so, these attractive advertisements successfully promote impulsive and unnecessary purchases.

But the truth is, these attractive prices come at a cost of something far greater. This pocket friendly price comes to you after cutting the wages of overworked marginalised workers. The globalisation of supply chains in the fast-fashion production system has led to serious violations of human and labour rights. The labour force to make these newest trendy garments comes majorly from developing countries like Bangladesh, India, Cambodia and Myanmar, to name a few. The labour force is made up of primarily women and children, who work under terrible conditions and do not receive even minimum wage. The working hours are intense, and the deadlines very short owing to the ‘fast’ fashion. Many such big names like SHEIN, H&M and ZARA have been exposed for violating several labour laws and exploiting workers. According to Fashion Transparency Index 2023, only 1% of brands disclose the number of workers being paid a living wage. It won’t be far-fetched to equate this exploitation with modern slavery.

Additionally, the environment also pays the true cost of the cheap garments. Micro-plastics are some of the primary materials used in the cheap clothes, which end up piling on the landfills, polluting oceans and cause serious damage. The discarded clothes end up as overflowing heaps of waste. The industry also uses huge amounts of energy and water (an estimated 93 billion cubic metres a year) and generates up to ten percent of global CO2 emissions. Dyeing and finishing not only emit huge amounts of greenhouse gases, but also cause water pollution. Resources are depleting rapidly, to meet the false demands created by the fast-fashion sector.

The way forward for industries is to address the lack of transparency in the global supply chains, which has been the root cause of exploitation of workers. As consumers, the onus lies on us to ensure that we make informed choices about the brands that we consume from. The age-old saying “quality over quantity” can easily be applied in this scenario. So rather than investing on heaps of cheap, low-quality clothes that are both unsustainable and a fruition of exploitative practices, invest on good-quality clothes that you know would survive fleeting trends. Make the best out of your investment and wear the apparels for as long as possible. The 5 Rs of Fashion: Reduce, Rewear, Recycle, Repair, Resell all the way! Thrifting is very much in, since you care about trends.


Read also:The Beauty Facade : Instagram Trends

Featured Image Source: BBC


Sarah Nautiyal

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Long gone are the days when Instagram was a way of connecting with forgotten friends. The contemporary face of Instagram has undergone a complete makeover. Read on to know more.

 A name on everyone’s lips and imprinted on everyone’s mind; Instagram. A social media application that gained enormous popularity in the last decade, Instagram is all what one needs. From thrift stores to connecting with counsellors, this genie from Aladdin’s Lamp grants every wish of yours irrespective of the count. Ask a ‘millennial’ about their contact information and they will drop down their fancy usernames on Instagram. On a personal note, I know most of my followers through their usernames and not their real names. Such is the level of influence that Instagram has done on our lives. As if the sophistication wrapped around in the cloth of our lives was not enough; Instagram added more to the same.

As the title suggests, I am not here to elucidate and throw limelight on the good side of Instagram. I would not dare to state that it is completely absent. It is very much alive and kicking but let us keep it for some other article, shall we? Today, I am here to focus on an aspect that mostly hides itself under the tag ‘beauty’. An aspect that strives to be perfect but it is not. The aspect of toxicity prevailing in the current Instagram trends.

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if the social media trends were for mere fun and not people recklessly trying to prove themselves better?

–says Sayantani Singha from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata.

When it comes to myself, out of the 12 months in a year I am only active on Instagram for about a month if you could count the total number of days. This inactivity doesn’t arise from inborn dislikeness towards social media in general. The plant of dislike grew over time; getting nourished whenever I opened up my account. The dislike has turned into hatred now, if I have to be more precise. All thanks to Instagram’s recent brainchild, reels. Reels are those short 15 second clips that an user can upload for promoting their talents, delineating an amalgamation of scenic pictures from a trip, etcetera. It came in more like a substitute to another platform known as TikTok or Musically.

I don’t have a problem with reels in general. They are fun, I agree to the core. The problem arises at my end when it comes to certain trends that are spreading faster than fake news. Let me first talk about a current trend : “How did I go from this to this?” While some users are using this trend to show their artistic progression over the years, be it in the field of dance, music, make-up, etcetera; some are portraying puberty with the term ‘glow up’. If you ask my mother about the changes in my body or face, she’ll reply bluntly stating about puberty. But, the above stated trend degraded to such a level that individuals have started using their childhood photos and portray their so-called ‘glow-up’. Learning how to dress yourself better and apply cosmetics to beautify oneself does not mean glow up if we compare it with the times when we didn’t even know how to comb our hair.   “Doechi, introduce yourself to the class” can be termed as the first trend’s sister. While some use it to portray the vivid makeup skills they possess, many are indulged in this puberty transformation itself.

There was a time when social media was a platform where we used to indulge in our free time, but now times have changed. Nowadays we free our time to indulge in social media. There is a recent trend that we can frequently see in our Instagram reels, that shows people’s transition from Anjali in kuch kuch hota hai to Poo in kabhi khushi kabhi gham. However in our real lives,this transition might be very opposite from these virtual glow ups we often see. We often suffer from body images of being too fat,too skinny or having bad skin and social media and its glorification of glow ups further worsens these issues. For I say,people evolve or grow up,we adapt to various external factors-we adapt ourselves to recent fashion trends,learn how to present ourselves in a proper manner and this isn’t a part of a glow up phenomenon but rather an adaptation due to growing up

says Mridusmita Barman from Cotton University, Guwahati.

If the definition of glow-up is restricted to wearing fashionable clothes and make-up, I beg to differ from the same. For a person like me whose hands tremble due to nervousness while applying eyeliner, it’s difficult to relate with such trends. Also, not every individual grows up to have flawless skin and body. For some, their puberty comes with other uninvited guests like recurring acne problems, body issues, etcetera. I won’t be wrong if I say that my skin was much better during my childhood days even though I possessed zero fashion senses. I was better at a stage when insignificant things like Instagram did not make me feel inferior to my peers.

With unrealistic beauty standards introduced by these trends, Instagram is becoming a toxic platform. The stereotype hourglass figure of 36-24-36 inches, crystal clear skin where flowers might grow, a pointed Roman nose and what not. My hatred for Instagram comes from these reasons. Imagine how strong these influences are for teenage/ young adults like us that many even go for surgeries at this age itself. Certain instagram models and influencers have also ingrained their so-called perfections of stereotyped ‘beauty’ into the minds of young individuals to a large extent.

These days people are faking everything on Instagram just to keep the trend and meet the standards or so. I know one girl, she even got her eyelid surgery during 9th standard and now she is trying really hard to be like the perfectionists and all. However, this made her mentally depressed also. It’s very hard.

— Anonymous

As I scroll down and down through my Instagram feed, I realise that most of the individuals are living the life of their dreams. I get jealous, I won’t deny. Perfect bodies, perfect jawlines and the list goes on. But, as I delve deeper I realise this perfection is nothing more than a mirage. A facade as the title suggests. This is what one of my contacts shared and it goes like this : “Do you feel your body is fat, ugly, imperfect? Girl, this body of yours is keeping you alive during a deadly pandemic. Respect and love it.” Instagram is just a social media platform, don’t let it become your life.


Watch This : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDAGWy4s1Z8

 Read Also :  Social Media Depression

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Featured Image Credits : Jerk Magazine


Himasweeta Sarma

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