With more than a billion users, TikTok now also seems to have the fashion world in its grip. Although the Chinese video platform in its early days was mainly known for dancing children, the content and audience are becoming increasingly diverse. Catherine Kosters, the mod editor at Flair, notes that shift and sees how TikTok is influencing fashion today: “TikTok has evolved a lot. Now that the target audience is more extensive, the platform is also interesting for fashion houses.’ Fashion influencers can even click here to learn how to get more followers on TikTok.
That the charts are full of songs popularized by TikTok is no longer a secret, but the fashion world now also seems to recognize the influence of the platform. The app is a source of microtrends like regencycore, balletcore, and even Bella Swan core, named after the main character from the Twilight saga. But also trends that have been around for a long time such as Y2K, where the fashion trends of the 2000s revive, and the balaclava trend (also called balaclava) owe their lasting popularity to TikTok.
According to Kosters, you also see some trends trickling down to the catwalks: ‘The Y2K trend has become very popular on TikTok in recent years. Fast-fashion retailers such as Bershka immediately jumped on that trend, but now you see that big fashion brands that jumped on that bandwagon are also becoming popular.’
Kosters cites Blumarine as an example. The Italian fashion brand was popular in the nineties and two thousand, but after the Y2K style died out, the popularity of the brand also died. Blumarine’s new designer Nicola Brognano responded hard to the Y2K revival, powered by TikTok. ‘Until recently it was a fairly marginal brand, but because of the Y2K revival they are back on trend.’ Other major brands such as Versace, Diesel, and Balenciaga have also incorporated the style into their collections.
‘TikTok is a turbo accelerator of the ‘see now, buy now’ philosophy’ -Catherine Kosters, fashion editor Flair
Still, according to Kosters, the influence works in two directions: ‘You also have something like top-down, where designers inspire new trends on TikTok. The Miu Miu micro mini-skirt is an example of this.’ That miniskirt went viral on social media soon after the collection was presented. ‘On social media, people gave their own interpretation of the trend and that even before the collection was for sale.’
TikTok as a trend accelerator
Catherine Kosters sees how TikTok accelerates fashion trends even faster. ‘For social media, collections were shown to journalists and shops. It wasn’t until six months later that they came into the store and the consumer was able to discover them. Now that happens much faster. The influencers at the fashion show immediately show the collection to their followers, creating the whole see now, buy now philosophy. TikTok is a turbo accelerator of this. So much content is created around certain trends, which makes them seem old-fashioned when they’re in stores. To come back to the Miu Miu skirt: the collection is only now in the store, but I’m already tired of it because so much content has already been created around it.’
Inspiration for young people
Nanou Gevaert (19) is on TikTok every day. The platform is her biggest source of inspiration, even more so: she owes her clothing style to the app. ‘I used to have no fashion sense. I didn’t know how to combine my clothes to get a nice outfit. I learned that with style videos on TikTok. I would like to learn to sew myself because I have a lot of garments that I want to upcycle. I also dare to experiment more and I notice that other people dare to do the same. In Antwerp I see a lot of styles that I also see on TikTok.’
As a young fashion freak, Kosters also liked to experiment with clothing. She now sees how TikTok makes it easier for the youth. “I think what people used to do in their rooms, young people are doing on TikTok now. Experimentation is a way of expression for many. I used to have to do that alone in my room, but now you can share that with people of your age group. While it’s frightening how quickly the trends follow, TikTok remains an inspiring platform, more so than Instagram at the moment.”