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The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

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Fashion trends destroy authenticity

Evelyn Wille
English teacher Thomas Stewart and junior Gabby Allison display their unique styles in the English hallway on Jan. 25, 2024.

Speed. It seeps into every aspect of modern life. People constantly seek quicker, more convenient ways to achieve a desired outcome. 

As society becomes more fast-paced, the line of what can and cannot be packaged and sold to desperate consumers begins to blur. The line has blurred so much that entire personalities are now being marketed on social media in an attempt to give those without a strong sense of self, something to grasp.

The most recent trend of 2024 is the eclectic grandpa. 

Wear fun patterns and seemingly mismatched items to look in style. It is a stark contrast to the softness of the coastal grandma look that was trending just a few months ago. Which was pretty different from the old money look trending just before that. And don’t forget the pink pilates princess, the coquette aesthetic or the clean girl.

Something that all of these trends have in common, besides being popular on TikTok for a couple of months, is that they are perfectly packaged versions of a look that took someone years to curate.

They are extensions of the creator’s personality.

Because of the circumstances in which these styles were created, they are impossible to copy, no matter how hard social media and fast fashion brands try to market them. 

The overnight accumulation of clothing to fit a certain aesthetic will create nothing but an impersonal and subpar copy of the inspiration, according to Vogue.

The cheap replication of clothing creates a dichotomy between personal style and fast fashion. The heart of many of the trends that have been popular on social media is high-quality, long-lasting clothing, accumulated over a long period of time. As fast fashion takes hold of the clothing market, the accumulation of high-quality pieces becomes extremely rare. 

Over the past 30 years, manufacturers of clothing have largely ditched sustainable, long-lasting fabric to make production as cheap as possible and keep consumers coming back for more items, according to Harper’s Bazaar. 

So when H&M comes out with a clothing line that caters to the next trend, it is important to remember that those items are only made to last until the next trend cycle comes around, which is not very long. 

Creating a personal style is an act of labor, and by slapping a label on it to market it to the masses, the act is reduced to nothing but the few months of attention it receives from social media before it is considered outdated. 

Given the fast life cycles of these trends, it is no wonder that the main consumer base of them is Generation Z.

51% of kids ranging from 13 to 19 years old spend at least four hours a day on social media, according to Gallup. 

The crucial time in a child’s life that should be spent developing character through observation and social interaction is now being replaced with a constant influx of entertainment. 

Higher usage of social media is directly linked to higher levels of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and low body image, according to The Annie E. Casey Foundation. 

The combination of having a naturally malleable disposition during adolescence and becoming unnaturally insecure because of social media creates the perfect consumer. The speed at which trends circulate highlights the attempt of consumers to fill an aching void within them.

One solution to avoid the cycle of over consumption is to avoid fast fashion brands. Invest in pieces that stand the test of time and reflect individual taste, instead of buying what everyone else is wearing. 

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About the Contributor
Evelyn Wille
Evelyn Wille, Staff Writer

Evelyn Wille is a senior and second year journalist for The Current. Outside of school, she enjoys playing piano, reading and taking her dogs for walks.

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