Transforming the way we approach style both online and IRL, Gen Z’s app du jour has fostered an entirely new community for discourse, experimentation, and criticism.
If there’s one statistic demonstrating quite how drastically TikTok has become entwined in our lives since arriving full force on the scene just two years ago, it’s that people worldwide spent 2.8 billion hours scrolling through the For You Page in 2020 alone.
While last year’s numbers are yet to be revealed, if the short-form video platform’s monthly active user count of 1.1 billion is anything to go by, it likely won’t be long before we see this figure skyrocket more so than it already has – you do the math.
On this note, it’s somewhat unsurprising that TikTok became 2021’s biggest fashion influencer.
Revitalising the model first introduced by Instagram (and lest we forget, #ootd), it has transformed the way we approach style both online and IRL by fostering an entirely new community for discourse, experimentation, and criticism.
@miks_tiks should i do another there’s just so much cheug #cheugyfashion #cheugymillenial #cheugy #fashionstudent ♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey
Yes, Instagram will of course for ever be the OG of giving us access to a once-unthinkable global audience, but it has unfortunately lost much of the authenticity that made it so great to begin with, leaving those seeking limitless self-expression to flock to alternative platforms.
Pursuing this growing desire, most have digitally congregated towards TikTok, where anyone can create their own modes of dress and behaviour, unbound by outdated pressure to conform to just one style and far from the curated feeds we’ve become so used to.
‘Fashion is legit on TikTok,’ says the director of creator community at TikTok, Kudzi Chikumbu. ‘It goes beyond the outfits and into creative expression. TikTok is a place for joy, and it’s giving the fashion industry a whole new way of showcasing their art and personality.’
Though Instagram and the subsequent 2010 ‘influencer’ boom certainly made a significant dent in the process of getting garments from their early stages into the hands of consumers, it barely scratches the surface in comparison to what TikTok has achieved in the blink of just two years.
@queerbrownvegan i love goblin #goblincore #goblin #ecotok #halloween2021 ♬ Fairy – Deanmakes
Its community, as well as the wide range of formats on the app, from challenges to sound trends, has allowed fashion creators and brands to democratise the old influencer model.
Content creation is no longer about showing a cult of stylish personality – I’m talking influencers who created a following solely based on what they wore and promoted – but rather understanding that fashion really isn’t that serious.