From TikTok to Depop: Style’s new development funnel
Before 2020, trends like leather, feathers, neutrals, or hot pinks were relatively easy to follow: the trend funnel moved from the runway to the frame with the help of popular culture. This year, Gen Z users of TikTok and Depop launched a new trend funnel that quickly led to aesthetics like “Cottagecore” and “Dark Academy” and influenced the purchases of young shoppers.
“If one of your favorites [TikTok] Creators change their aesthetics based on a certain trend, and an entire style can emerge from this, ”says Yazmin How, content lead at TikTok. “The fashion industry is no longer the only voice directing the trends of the new season. People use TikTok to see what new styles are trending and what previously popular trends are popping up again. “
TikTok trends manifest themselves in purchases at Depop, where 90 percent of users are Gen Z. In line with the surge in the cottage core trend at TikTok, searches for the term on Depop rose 900 percent between March and August when it peaked. Greater connectivity and longer time at home have increased the number of these consumer-led moves, and brands whose aesthetics match the trends are benefiting, such as LoveShackFancy, which specializes in prairie dresses and gingham blouses that go with the rural Cottagecore aesthetics are associated with them, as well as fast fashion e-tailers like Missguided who mimick them in a flash. At the same time, the shelf life of trends on the platform has shortened, says Depop CEO Maria Raga, making it harder for the rest of the industry to keep up.
“Trends used to take much longer and that’s probably because they didn’t air as quickly as they do now,” says Raga. “It used to be a long journey before they went mainstream, from creative directors to magazines to stores. At the moment they can be reached so quickly with social media. “
The TikTok effect
TikTok fashion trends can be linked to universal experiences like cottagecore, which includes rural life and healthy pursuits, and begins with the beginning of the lockdown life of people, baking and the outdoors. The trend has generated over 4.6 billion views on TikTok, and key Cottagecore influencers like @aclotheshorse and @hereatthecottage have 603,000 and 354,000 followers, respectively.
Others are influenced by certain video formats, such as the dark academic trend centered on attracting students, fueled by viral videos from university libraries and nostalgia from private schools in New England, as the terms began in September. The trend of blending gothic and preppy clothing styles creates a sense of community for students studying from home. The term #DarkAcademia has 256 million views and nearly 40,000 video creations on TikTok, How says. Searches on Depop rose 82 percent from August through November, and Edited retail analyst Kayla Marci expects the upcoming Gossip Girl restart to keep the trend going.
With Gen Z audiences interested in making clothes at home, crocheting was a trend at Depop starting in March. Searches rose nearly 500 percent by July and peaked around the time of Harry Styles’ viral crochet challenge on TikTok. Raga believes the DIY movement and long-standing, nostalgic trends like Y2K (based on fashion from the early 00s) will continue to Gen Z through 2021, even as core flash-in-the-pan trends wear off.
For brands that fit into the TikTok aesthetic like Cottagecore, the platforms offer an increase in customer acquisition.
“We always come back to vintage and Edwardian Victorian inspiration. We are so happy that it is in line with such a big trend in the market, ”says Rebecca Hessel Cohen, founder and creative director of LoveShackFancy, a brand that is represented at Net-a-Porter and MatchesFashion. The brand’s ruffle mini style has been a hero item for existing and new customers this year, she adds.
The rise of witch core and cottage core has also brought new audiences to The Vampire’s Wife, says the brand’s president, Leo Lawson. He says the brand doesn’t consider itself trending, but a recent collaboration with H&M was “fully embraced by fans of the witch’s core,” says Lawson, adding that it sold out in one day. “We saw the connection to witchore straight away through the social media posts and comments. We were excited to bring so much joy to a new, younger audience at an affordable price. “
Take the luxury
Luxury retailers are not as receptive to these rapid trends, but can keep up with internet culture to ensure they have their own views. In addition to casual wear and activewear, MatchesFashion’s purchasing manager, Natalie Kingham, expects an urge for novelty in the new year despite the lockdown measures. “I believe the appetite for novelty means trends will emerge as before, countered by the desire for brilliant, timeless pieces that a woman will keep and wear for years.”
The purchasing team at luxury retailer Ssense is paying attention to Instagram and other social media platforms, says Brigitte Chartrand, purchasing manager for women’s clothing. However, they rely on their instincts and try to keep an authentic approach to the brand’s response.
“Our purchasing approach hasn’t changed over the past year. He continues to balance our strong intuition with our data-driven mindset, ”says Chartrand. “Although we don’t always respond to trends, we are very much aware that high-profile appearances can be an effective means of getting new brands known.” For example, the emerging Nensi Dojaka brand saw sales spike after Bella Hadid wore the brand at an awards ceremony, she says.
While TikTok trends are fueling depop sales and being picked up by fast fashion, more traditional retailers can curate what they already have in their range to try to tell a trend story in their communication, says Marci of Edited. “We saw trends like cottagecore mature a bit – now they’re more accessible to different age groups outside of the Gen Z audience.”
A number of Depop sellers, including crochet and patchwork saleswoman Camilla Lawson, told Vogue Business that these online fashion trends are focusing on the micro-communities rather than massing them. While the trends themselves may be fleeting, the handmade and consumer-grown nature of popular fashion will persist.
“While I see the positive side of retailers picking up on these trends to increase the popularity and demand for such products, they are having a hard time keeping up when it comes to authenticity,” she says.
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