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Copy Cat Consumption

Written by Willow Bullington

December 9, 2022

Trail blazing fashion influecncer have found their claim to fame in promotion self experession and finding idenity within the bounds of fashion. Bella Hadid, Matilda Djerf, and Emma Chamberlain  garnered a cult following through forming a distinct personal style, and insprinng their followers cultivate a closet of clothes you actually like, and will actually wear. Yet even in their pursuit to promote sustainable consumption their iconic outfits have become the blueprint for many fast fashion corporation, and Inadvertnly creating this phenomenon of “copy cat” consumption.

But it is not like Bella Hadid is “Dress like me! I am the blueprint! I have the best style,” her exsistence has simply become the blueprint for womens streetwear. So, If an influential fashion figure sources their clothes ethically, but it causes an uptick in unethical consumption is it their fault? Bella Hadid steps outside in her platofrm uggs, vintage bycicle jacket and dainty sleepshorts and almost instantaniously social media is flooded with photos of the models “effortless” look.

This past week I saw a tik tok about how Bella Hadid was directly contributing to the over consumption of clothing and needed to be more aware of how her actions could negatively impact the environment. Initially, I was in somewhat of agreement. I have always been a large advocate for ethical consumption and shopping practices. If Bella Hadid was advocating that “everyone should shein, or going to Forever 21 every week for a new piece of clothing I would agree there is a problem. But if an influential figure in the fashion world shops sustainably, but it causes an uptick of unethical production is it their fault?

Bella Hadid steps outside in her platform uggs, vintage leather jacket, and dainty sleep shorts, the epitimy of effortless, and instaneously poeple rush to buy the pieces to recerate the model’s look, but is it her fault that fast fashion companies capitilize off of this? Can we place blame on these influecncers for inadvertanlly driving the consumption cycle?

This brings me to Miss Matilda Djerf. I could talk for hours about my love for not only her style, but her advocacy for shopping sustainably. Matilda Djerf is Copenhagen based creator and founder of the brand Djerf Avenue, a company built around ethical prodiction. In general the only grievance poeple have found with the brand is its hefty prices tag. But Matilda Djerf is quick to break it down, emphasizing the importance of ethical wroking conditions, she reguarly posts videos from inside the production facitlies, explainigng why the pieces cost more to source and put together. And again we see this copy cat phenomenon. Brands attempting to mimick her styles, even going as far to copy them exacty. Copy cat consumption speaks to our cultures battle to balance personal style and feeling validated through trends.

We see trends contributre to the rapidity of consumption cycles, but is not meant to  imply that adopting a trend means you are only seeking validation. I will proudly say that many of my favorite pieces and outfits are derived from trends, but there is something to be said about isolating the prodcut from the “hype.” We often deny it but public opnion directly correlated to our opnions, in an age where you can consume everyones opnions on one topic it has become increasingly difficult to decificer what we think versus what we are consuming. The desire to avoid criticism and “fit in” has become fuel to fast fashions fire. Companies capitlize off of this “hype”, trapping consumers in this idea that we will all give into the trend regardless of our own opnion.

Terms like “Bella Bot” and “Matilda Minion” create this false pretense that we have to fit a mold. We have to have a certain style that can be labeled, identified and catered to.For me personally, Fashion and Clothing is one of the most beautiful forms of self expression, but it can feel like Self expression has become lost within the choas of consumption. Now more than ever Fast Fashion companies latch onto these trends, making “trendy” clothing accesiable and cheap (empahisis on cheap).  We are caught up in this never ending cycle of jumping on trends, and then a year later hating on ourselves for our participation and blind consumption of whatever we were told was cute.

It is almost too easy to create a carbon copy of influencers style, Bella Hadid could post her outfit on Monday and by friday Zara will likely have all the pieces on standby. Trend Cycles are relentless, but I don’t necessarily think it’s fair to blame these influencers for their inadvertent contribution to fast fashion, because at the end of the day profit is what drives these companies, not their desire to create the most groundbreaking trendsetting clothing lines. Fast Fashion companies havedisregard for the impact of overconsumption and the impact that forcing these trends down consumers throats has, Nonetheless, as we see these trends rise and fall and in conjunction the trend cycle continues to spin.

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