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Social Media and the Evolution of Fashion

Photograph by Melody Jacob

The emergence of social media in the last decade shaped the way we dress drastically. From Instagram’s easy-to-share platform to YouTube’s video format, consumers are welcomed into the world of fashion from the comfort of their homes with the ability to trade fashion tips online. Our two-part series will explore some of the impacts of social media and its role in the evolution of fashion. This week, let’s talk about the transformative aspects of personal style.

Social media and technology provide the ability to share and connect globally, which led to widespread diversity in fashion communities. Anyone can search for a specific look on Pinterest to find inspiration for new pieces in their wardrobe. Fashion Pins represent your closet’s digital mood board. On YouTube, the long-form videos allow for users to share their tips on different outfits from clothing hauls to themed lookbooks. TikTok provides a way for people to share creative ways to be stylish through simple video clips. Fashion is timeless and ever-changing.

Social media is synonymous with viral trends and you can thank influencers for their contribution to your personal style. The “dressing as different aesthetics” challenge became a popular statement. YouTubers took on this challenge, stepped outside their comfort zones, and dressed apart from their usual style. Typically a week-long challenge, influencers had the option to dress in all pastels or the Y2K style on day one and then go for a monochrome black wardrobe adorned with hardware on day two. YouTubers initially felt nervous about the challenge in their uncharacteristic outfits but found comfort and excitement in experimenting with different looks. The popularity of this challenge served as a testament to the curiosity of exploring with different styles.

The impact of such style challenges validates how social media leaves us more in tune with fashion trends than ever before. The exclusivity of fashion fades as tips and trends become more accessible. The freedom of self-expression demonstrated by influencers encourages individuals, not only industry insiders, the opportunity to try something new. They perceive personal style as a blank canvas, subsequently take risks, and have fun with fashion.

Moreover, social media led to a stronger sense of identity. The communities that form around various fashion styles are unique and foster a sense of belonging. These communities garnered a strong following on the internet and are incorporated in real-life fashion trends today from “cottagecore,” an aesthetic that embodies wearing lacey prairie dresses to “e-girls,” an edgy style that stems from Japanese Harajuku streetwear. The LGBTQ community was strengthened by this fashion revolution as well, with members forming aesthetics surrounding their identities. 

Different styles beautify the people around you. The positivity, openness, and vulnerability included in the flexibility of personal fashion came to the forefront through social media. Various platforms offer a modern, revolutionized way of fashion that transforms millions of people individually and collectively. How has this changed the way brands speak to potential consumers? Find out in part two of our series on the evolution of fashion through social media next week.


Photograph by Melody Jacob

CategoriesThe Line
Andrea Yu

Writer at Young Hot & Modern magazine.