Mass lockdowns, financial recession and an increased focus on sustainable practices have caused rapid changes in the fashion industry in the last year - but what role has social media played?
The recent pandemic resulted in the majority of people spending significantly more time at home leading to a huge surge in social media users, with Tiktok now boasting over one billion downloads. The impact Tiktok has had on boosting the sustainable fashion movement is undeniable. From videos promoting small, sustainable businesses to posts exposing the carnage that the fashion industry is wreaking on our environment, users engage with environmentally conscious content every day.
One subgenre of Tiktok content that has thrived under the scrutiny of sustainability is the notion of upcycling or DIYing clothing to create new, trendy outfits from pieces you already own. Tiktokers like Maddie White (@madeleinecwhite) and @lilrotini gained huge followings after becoming known for their fashion and DIY videos where they cut, sew and piece together fabrics to create abstract, often avant-garde garments. A Tiktok created by Arabella (@lilrotini), which garnered 3.1 million views, showed the star wearing her own DIYed, deconstructed suit made from a blazer, cut to fit as a skirt and cropped jacket. Upon the showing of Miu Miu’s SS22 collection at Paris Fashion week, fans were quick to notice that Arabella’s love for the DIY deconstructed look was also shared by Miuccia Prada’s Miu Miu, suggesting that both drew from the same inspiration and therefore posing the question: how have DIY Tiktok trends shaped the fashion industry?
Microtrends have been known to thrive on Tiktok, like Lirika Matoshi’s Strawberry Dress, that went viral in 2020 after it was worn by model Tess Holiday at The Grammys - a hugely trendy item but the $490 price tag deterred many Tiktok users from purchasing their own. However, the massive interest in this dress did provoke many Tiktokers to have a go at making the dress themselves. This further established DIY as being a valuable part of the both the Tiktok community and also the sustainable fashion space, with it in many ways helping small designers by encouraging people to make their own versions instead of supporting fast fashion knock-offs. Since then, DIY trends have exploded: videos range from tops made out of tights to homemade replicas of celebrity Met Gala looks. In a world that is now so focused on sustainable practices, do it yourself fashion has proved to be a vital part of creating a sustainable wardrobe.
Tiktok has not only influenced deconstructed and DIY fashion trends. The trends and styling choices of the largely gen-Z user base have caught the attention of major high-end labels like Fendi and Prada. Fendi’s SS22 menswear collection included many looks that pushed the boundaries of gendered fashion using crop tops and cropped blazers, a trend often seen on Tiktok. Prada included screen printed tanks in their SS22 collection. Screen printing gained a huge amount of traction on social media in early 2021 due to Depop shops like @maemorris becoming popular among social media influencers. Fendi and Prada are not the first examples of a bubble up effect from Tiktok to high end fashion with Hedi Slimane citing e-boys as a main source of inspiration for his Celine SS21 menswear collection.
Tiktok’s influence on sustainable fashion goes much further than just DIY and upcycling projects. Reselling apps like Depop, Vinted and Ebay have seen a huge surge in usage in recent years, along with an increase in thrifting. Tiktok videos show users how to avoid impulse buying, how to incorporate thrifted pieces into their wardrobe and how to upcycle second-hand purchases. As a result of its huge thrifting culture, Tiktok has been credited as bolstering the y2k trend, with users being encouraged to wear second-hand pieces from past eras. The y2k revival actually ended up being crucial in the resurgence of brands like Juicy Couture and Von Dutch, which have become profitable once again.
For now, Tiktok’s push for a more sustainable fashion sphere has positively impacted high end fashion trends. But the question still remains; will this continue in a post-covid world?
Words by Scarlett Billinghurst
Photo Credit: https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/spring-2022-ready-to-wear/miu miu#gallery-collection | @lilrotini on Tiktok | https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/spring-2022-
menswear/fendi/slideshow/collection#7 | https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/spring-2022- menswear/prada/slideshow/collection#35 | https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/spring-2021-menswear/celine/slideshow/collection#45