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When Will Consumerism End?

An analysis of current trends and how they affect sustainability practices and goals.

By Chanel Thorpe

Photo By Anna Wojeck

First, it was “clean girl,” then it was “mob wife,” and suddenly, bows were the next hot thing. Bows took over. Any piece of clothing — and non-clothing items — had bows, from shoes to clothing to bags, with lace tied on to complete the look. However, since then, bows have slowly dwindled down in the search boxes of TikTok, Instagram, and other social media platforms. 

On social media, people tend to use the word “consumerism” to call people out for their overconsumption. Consumerism is defined as “the protection or promotion of the interests of consumers.” The concept is a social and economic order rather than a way to say overconsumption, although today, that seems to be the more fitting definition.

For example, there is a trend and normalization of consumerism, where content creators post videos of themselves organizing their extensive collection of Stanley cups. The comments under these videos are usually an argument between viewers, with one side criticizing influencers with the name “consumerism final boss,” while the other side defends “let them do what makes them happy.” 

Just as fast as people commented about the Stanley, there was a shift to another reusable cup brand, Owala, that looks almost identical to the Stanley cups. Regardless of this shift, whenever Stanley decided to release a new color or collab, people lined up at Target at 2:00 am just for a metal cup. Isn’t the whole point of a reusable water bottle to have one and avoid using plastic without recycling? Nope. At this point, it’s a sign of status. And this phenomenon transcends water bottles. 

In the current days of mass production, products can be produced more quickly, but that also means that trends die just as fast. Gone are the days when only the elite had access to trending products. In the age of “dupes,” or bootlegs, you can find a dupe of any product, whether it be an Amazon dupe of a celebrity clothing line or Stanley dupes in Walmart. As these products become more accessible to the general public, influencers deem them outdated and quickly find something else to fawn over in the hopes that they can maintain their “superior” status.

So how does it end?

Become your own person. When looking to buy something, think about whether you would like it if it was not trending and, more importantly, whether you can see yourself wearing the same piece of clothing or using the same product in a year or two — and if it will even last that long! 

Sustainable shopping should be something that we all focus on. Not only will it save our planet, but ultimately, it will save our wallets.


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