Buy, snap, post, discard. Our consumer culture encourages incessant buying, and approval from peers via social media further incentivises our hunger for newness.
For some of us it’s become the norm to be seen on screen only once wearing a new outfit. Fast fashion brands like ASOS and Pretty Little Thing have capitalised on this and their massive Instagram following is testament to their power.
Buying in line with ultra-fast fashion trends has become the norm for some of us – after all, all our heroes are doing it, right? How many of us have watched our favourite influencers unveil their fashion ‘hauls’ – many of which cost hundreds of pounds – on YouTube? And I’m willing to bet that we’ve bought something on the back of watching one of these videos.
The pressure to follow fast fashion trends is prevalent in the younger age groups, particularly those in their late teens to late twenties. And it’s no surprise to learn that there’s a correlation between following fast fashion and this age group’s social media use. In July 2019 34% of Instagram users were aged 25 – 34 and 31 % were aged between 18 – 24.
These pliable young minds are discovering their own image and building their sense of self, making them more susceptible to external pressures to look a certain way. When you add low self-esteem in to the mix, this is where fashion can go from being fun to toxic.
Consumerism is all about acquiring things. Each new outfit takes us one step closer to a happier life; a life that fits in with social norms. With every ‘like’ we feel a rush, we feel accepted and our self-image is validated.
Although we might look good on the outside, do we feel good on the inside? Does another new outfit make us feel better about ourselves, or does it make us feel better about the image we portray on social media? They are two very different things.
If our self-image is tied to our purchases, can