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A not so trendy take on hauls

Graphic by Sophia ’22.

Currently, TikTok, a social media app where users can share short videos, has an increasing number of trends that result in fast fashion and consumerism. Many users make videos buying a surplus of items from fast fashion brands like H&M, Zara and Shein. Since these brands are usually cheaper, people can buy copious amounts of items without totally breaking the bank.

Most of us have seen these hauls on our “For You” pages, TikTok’s explorer page, and immediately went online to fill our carts with pieces that we see in the videos. These TikToks are exciting because it’s like a friend constantly trying to sell you something and telling you, “You just have to buy it.” and think, “Well it looks so good on them… Why don’t I just buy it?”. These fast fashion brands, although cheap, are harmful to the environment and have bad worker conditions in comparison to more expensive slow fashion labels that value sustainability and ethical practices. Some of my personal favorite slow fashion brands include Girlfriend Collective, Petite Studio and Faithfull The Brand, all of which don’t sacrifice style for sustainability. But, you shouldn’t buy from these brands just because they are sustainable, you should buy clothing when you need it and love the piece. I would also like to mention the presence of thrift and slow fashion hauls on the app. Even though thrifted clothing is much better for the environment, it is still adding to buying a surplus of items rather than consuming clothing that you will wear forever, take care of and value. Furthermore, most people who do thrift hauls end up re-selling the items at a largely marked up price to make money. 

There are even dedicated accounts just for hauls, which means people  are constantly buying trendy clothing just to make videos out of them. However, we can’t put all the blame on the people who make these videos. TikTok pushes haul videos onto the “For You Page,” which makes users want to constantly make more videos and buy more items to increase their views. This then influences viewers to buy more and creates a constant cycle of consumerism. To add on, younger users such as those in Generation Z think that in order to stay relevant and keep up with trends, think they must buy these items to fit in. But they fail to see the never-ending trend cycle they are constantly buying into.

In all, Tiktok has caused a surge in consumerism because of the constant flow of trends and viral haul videos. With its over 1.1 billion users, 60% of them in Generation Z, Tiktok has an impressionable audience. Last November the Zara wide leg jeans blew up and went viral. Thousands of TikToks were made raving about how the pants were the “must have item”. Although the videos are entertaining, they promote a problematic cycle of constantly buying new items. While I am not saying that we should stop watching haul videos, I am suggesting that we should become more conscious of what we are consuming and think about if we really need to purchase into a trend that will be over in a week.