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TikTok’s Effect on Fashion: Micro-Trends

Just as fast as trending sounds go viral and die down on TikTok, fashion trends do too.

Micro-trends from TikTok that promote brands like SheIn might be harming the environment.
Photo: Pinterest

The effect TikTok has had on fast fashion is incredible.

“Fast fashion” is a societal phenomenon where fashion trends constantly changing have negative impacts on the environment. Microtrends are trends - in this case in fashion trends - that support fast fashion by going out of style too quickly.

With websites and brands like Shein, Amazon, and AliExpress, TikTokers have made it seemingly trendy to support fast fashion. What’s in fashion constantly changes, and it has been that way for years now, but TikTok has sped up this process.

Think about how many trends have gone viral on TikTok since the app’s sudden surge of popularity in early 2020…

Trends like dances, sounds, songs, and edits go viral for a few days or weeks and then vanish, just another memory left in our minds. With fashion, TikTok has been a huge force in bringing back looks from the past.

Looks from the early 2000s have gained popularity on the app, as well as whole new types of looks like an “e-boy” or “e-girl.” These are terms most people never heard of before joining TikTok, but now we all have an image in our minds of what fashion choices and overall appearance make up that look.

Y2K trends became popular in 2020, after the past few years of a 90s nostalgia that was running fashion trends. TikTok helped make the 2000s aesthetic go from cringey and embarrassing to nostalgic and adorable in most minds.

With cute edits, and sounds that brought back looks from our childhoods, it’s almost like you feel convinced.

One microtrend that gained popularity on TikTok was sweater vest outfits. Sometimes worn by influencers, but also by regular creators on the app, sweater vests became cute and trendy.

Other microtrends that might ring a bell are leather pants last Winter, and patchwork jeans and tops that were all over social media.


These types of trends are harmful to the environment as they directly support fast fashion. Influencers like Addison Rae promote shopping from Shein and even advertise their clothes. She even participated in a paid partnership with Shein in 2020, posting on her Instagram with a discount code.

TikTok’s fast-paced environment of constantly changing trends has done plenty of harm for the fashion industry.

Shein has gained so much free advertising from fast fashion becoming more acceptable, and many college-aged women have shopped there or still do.

Its cheap pricing makes it an easier and more “worth it” option to keep up with the fast changing of trends in our society. It's hard to fight the urge to support fast fashion.


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