If you’re a teen, and especially if you’re reading this, chances are you keep up with trends online. They’re everywhere. From TikTok dances and jokes, to new songs, to Twitter news. Even major companies — notably popularized by Wendy’s and Duolingo — use trends to promote themselves. The internet relies on trends to stay afloat.
Of course, this has been the case since before the internet. Fashion magazines sharing the latest outfits to wear, radio stations featuring the top ten hits, and who can forget MTV’s long-lasting imprint on trending entertainment news. They’ve all highlighted what’s new and popular. But the difference with the modern era of trends is rapidly becoming more clear: time.
Trends are becoming faster than ever. Something might be popular for a week and then when time’s up, everyone’s moved on.
When writing this piece, I considered using current trends as examples. But I feared it making the article sound dated, even by the time it gets posted. You could literally write on something immediately, and overnight it stops being relevant.
This time crunch doesn’t just take its toll on journalists. It’s everybody.
Carolyn Mair is a behavioral psychologist and the author of “The Psychology of Fashion”. The Record shared her words on microtrends, and why they happen. “We follow trends because we want to belong. When we follow a trend, we show our belonging to others who follow that trend and dissociate ourselves from those who do not,” Mair said.
When people aren’t following trends, they feel like they don’t belong. But the issue arises when trends become so fast you can’t keep up, and it becomes a race to feel worthy.
Let me provide a personal example. As a video editor, I spent many years making fan content on social media featuring videos and fanart. But quickly trends started getting in the way of what I wanted to make. Because I was making videos for social media, I grew a major sense of pressure to keep up with trends by making content for new, popular shows.
But in just a few weeks, the show would stop being popular, and I felt ashamed to post that content. “It’s out of date, and cringy,” I thought, “And nobody will want to see it.” So I stopped posting that show and moved onto the next thing. The very real feeling of shame grew in my head until it began to take over, and I became unhappy with video editing because I felt like I couldn’t keep up.
Everyday teens feel this pressure too. Many feel that microtrends kill individuality, because it causes them to be stuck in a never ending cycle of wearing, or acting, or posting the newest trends. It’s hard to find your own style when all you do is follow others.
Mina Le, a YouTuber, shared her thoughts on microtrends in the fashion industry in her video “tiktok is kind of bad for fashion”. She says that when a particular fashion trend stops being popular, it’s considered shameful to wear it. “It all becomes a vortex, because people who genuinely love the trendy pieces that they get… You’ll probably be shamed or pressured into throwing it away.”
This constant cycle of what’s trending and what’s not is a serious issue. But at the end of the day, those who constantly participate in these trends may be contributing to their own downfall.
Do you participate in trends? Have you ever felt like it’s hard to keep up with them, or shameful when you don’t? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Send me a message and let me know what’s on your mind.
By Caileigh Winslade, Senior, ChiArts
Instagram @fairytwist / Twitter @silverrebi