The Treacherous World of Micro Trends


Lea Flavier

From exquisite butterfly tops to mundane low-cut dresses, the internet has curated a fashion catalog for every month of the year, a feat that has been rising steadily since the pandemic. But here’s the catch; they’re only trendy for merely a few weeks before they turn into the newest bygone and everyone is on to the next big thing. A large wardrobe isn’t something to be particularly ashamed of, after all. But what truly are the repercussions of fast fashion? The great traction that micro trends gained now stemmed into multiple branches of social issues including its detrimental impact on the environment, the exploitation of the working class, child labor, and art plagiarism.

Since the pandemic, online shopping has been the most favorable resort for people to spend their money on while lockdowns are in place. Paired with the favor of creating a signature style or complying to a certain aesthetic, micro trends rose to prominence. Major fast fashion brands as well as social media influencers share a responsibility in this fashion outbreak. Hundreds of dollars worth of hauls posted on every nook of the internet come from accounts that urge its viewers to purchase the same items they’ve bagged for a low price. The frequency of these videos create a wave of virality that falls as quickly as it rises. As a result, a chain reaction of overconsumption follows.

How ethical really is the fast fashion industry? The issue of underpaid child labor and the exploitation of the working class is twice as rampant, especially in the factories of that mass produce more than a thousand clothing pieces daily. Recently, customers have been receiving packages they ordered online with messages such as ‘help me’ and ‘need your help’ in the tags and garments. Workers from Shein have shared their testimonies, stating they get paid as little as 3 dollars an hour, with only one day off per month. Many fashion retailers have also had their fair share of ripping off designs from independent labels, selling them for more than half of its original price and without consent from the original artists. 

Supporting such industry giants whilst preaching online about the politics of environmental awareness, as well as turning any given situation into a moment of activism would be sheer hypocrisy. These companies cannot co-exist with the words ‘ethical’ or ‘sustainable’ since they contribute the most to the opposite of these causes. The prevalence of micro trends only creates traction and favor for the industry that takes advantage of the ecosystem and the working class. We, as a collective, should know better than to fall victim to the ruse that capitalism has formulated, seeking to simulate joy in retail therapy at the expense of morals. Boycott micro trends.