How Social Media Has Changed Fashion Trends

how social media changed fashion trends

With the rise of technology, the way that we have experienced fashion is wildly different compared to during our parents’ generation. From online shopping platforms featuring luxury brands like Alexander Wang to VR technology being used to “try on” products before buying, the world of fashion has gone through a multitude of changes. However, arguably one of the biggest contributors of change to the fashion industry has been social media. 

Through social media, not only do indie fashion designers as well as household brand names have a space to advertise and show off their portfolio but they are also able to gain more exposure through the algorithm, likes and shares. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that social media has had a huge hand in shaping the way that fashion trends have been created, spread and been received by the public. With Instagram having over a billion users and other social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube having an even larger user base, it is no wonder that such online platforms are capable of having such a heavy impact on the world of fashion. 

Faster Fashion Cycle 

As technology progresses, speed seems to be the name of the ever changing game. From internet speed to how fast news can travel around the world, the virtual world seems to perpetually be moving at a breakneck pace with new things perpetually around every corner. When this internet culture mingled with the world of fashion, this set off a chain reaction which has managed to forever change the way we look at and consume fashion. 

Previously, the world of fashion was far more exclusive. Models appeared untouchable and would be showcased via magazines or advertisements. Catwalks and fashion shows were attended by mostly those already within the fashion industry and were largely inaccessible to the wider public. However, with the popularization of the internet in the 90s this gave more people an unrestricted space for self expression. This led to the rise of many alternative fashion subcultures and their members banded together to create online communities to showcase their creativity and outfits. Fashion started becoming more personal and something that everybody could partake in no matter where or who you were. 

Now with many social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok having a heavy focus on aesthetics and how one presents themselves, fashion is not only a form of self expression but is also a statement of one’s identity to the outside world. With the prevalence of a culture focussed on looks, the world of fashion has also taken center stage. From prestigious events such as the Metropolitan Gala (Met Gala), to videos of hauls from various online shopping platforms on YouTube and even just casual shoots in one’s own home using ever improving phone cameras. 

Add to the mix the way that the internet allows for the rapid spread of new media and information and what you end up with is a storm of new fashion trends and outfits seemingly around every corner. Due to the fast-paced nature of the online world, this means that trends catch on faster but are also more susceptible to being overtaken and replaced. As a result this leads to a very rapid fashion cycle which covers a variety of styles and forms of expression. 

Variety Is The Spice Of Life 

The rise of the internet also led to more people being able to express themselves and their stories. This has led to people of all bodies, shapes and sizes to be able to share their lived experiences and humanize themselves rather than relying on widespread perceptions. This has led to a more socially conscious society with more positive perceptions of bodies no matter their shape and size. 

Additionally, the fact that phone cameras are becoming able to produce photos of higher and higher quality, this also means that it’s becoming easier for people to shoot better photos to show off their looks. This has led to changes in standards of what would be considered default standards of beauty since they’re now largely dictated through the opinion of social media audiences rather than through the industry standards. 

More and more people are capable of becoming social media influencers through the power of various platforms which allow them to showcase their content and their identity and personality. 

While there is a lot more that goes into cultivating an audience large enough to reach the status of ‘online influencer’, one cannot deny that looks definitely play a part and that fashion is one of the factors that adds to it. Furthermore, while fashion trends are capable of getting people onto the map of the social media landscape, by that same token if someone is popular enough, then they are capable of influencing trends themselves. This has led to a wider variety of trends and various fashion subcultures. 


The world of fashion is one that used to be vastly different compared to how we know it today. Social media and technology has led to fashion not just being a form of self expression but also helped to build communities around these specific types of self expression. With how fast the world of fashion seems to be moving today, it truly makes you wonder what might lie around the corner.

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