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As TikTok took the reins of social media back in the spring of 2020 when Covid-19 came around, so did its beginning on the hold it was going to have in the fashion industry. TikTok absolutely dominates the fashion industry now - defining what trends take and what discussions of fashion take place amongst its users - what does this mean for the future of the fashion industry?

As lockdowns became the new normal and everyone was stuck on their living room couch, TikTok was beginning to be downloaded more and more; 693 million times in 2019 and 850 million times in 2020, according to Mansoor Iqbal from Business of Apps. Moreover, Tik Tok has reached one billion users in 2021 and is expected to reach 1.8 billion by the end of this year. As 2022 comes to a close, we can review what predictions of “TikTok fashion” actually became trends; According to Rebecca Jennings from Vox, such trends included opera gloves, balletcore, 2014 soft grunge, skirts over trousers, feathers, and many more. With the help of TikTok’s algorithm that blasts viral content of exposure to new fashion trends to millions and millions of users all within seconds, these short lived videos curate mainstream culture, teaching what is considered stylish or not, ultimately affecting what Tik Tok’s users choose to wear themselves. Hence, this viral app plays a major role in what fads take place for the remainder of TikTok’s popularity.

Following the lead of what was once Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest throughout the 2010s, TikTok is now the new disruptor of fashion, dictating what trends are in and what are out all within a matter of days and number of views. TikTok is super powerful; the pace of these microtrends are equivalent now of “fast fashion” or even “ultra-fast fashion” - when a certain look, product, or article of clothing goes viral on TikTok’s ForYou page, one can count on that item being completely sold out by the time these videos are seen by most amounts of people, further fueling users to want to be ahead of the fashion cycle.

There has been the revival of the Y2K aesthetic as well as the pop up of “avant apocalypse” - both helping to define TikTok as “leading a shift that transfers influence from celebrities and legacy brands that has traditionally defined fashion to the everyday person”, according to Noah Cortez from QuickTok. Furthermore, Cortez relays that users of TikTok are 1.3x more likely (vs. users on other platforms) to convince someone to buy a product seen on the platform. From Nathanila Schuppe from Curate Gifts, other fast trends curated from TikTok include the look of an oversized blazer, crochet tops, Tie-Dye apparel, and baggy jeans.

With all of this positive influence from TikTok in regards to it being a fabulous source of fashion “inspo” or fresh incitement into what accessories are popping and elevating outfits, there is also a downside to this exposure on tips and tricks in the fashion industry. TikTok has definitely been criticized for its negative impact on mental wellness, body image, and the entirety of toxicity popular social media platforms bring. Schuppe says that the algorithm promotes unrealistic beauty expectations as well enforcing perfectionism mindsets all throughout the ForYou page with picture perfect outfits, hair, brand named items, and lastly, unattainable flawless skin.

As the use of Tik Tok rises, so does its rule in the fashion industry - how much longer will this social network act as fashion’s go-to marketing platform?

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