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Issue 17 Out Now

The Rise of 'Aesthetics' & Overconsumption

Clean Girl via The Fifth


Every time you open your phone and scroll TikTok or Instagram, I am sure you have been greeted by, once again, a new aesthetic! Clean girl, mob wife, coquette, coastal grandmother, dark academia, I could go on. 


I could talk for hours regarding the negative impact of social media (as I scroll Instagram), but you have heard that rant before. Instead, in a world ever-evolving within sustainability, why are the named aesthetics becoming so increasingly popular?


Mob Wife via Cosmopolitan


Every week, a new trendy aesthetic pops up on the feed, and everyone freaks out, empties their closets, and hops on. Let me buy a fur coat, hair gel, pink bows, or plaid skirts! Overconsumption is one of the main factors currently killing our planet, and the rise of these aesthetics is only hurting it more and more daily.


The fashion industry is the second largest polluter, following the fossil fuel industry. This statistic has only grown with the emergence of 8 different brand names for Shein. 


Coquette Core via Pinterest


Not only are these aesthetics entirely unsustainable, but they entirely wipe out the unique aspect of having a personal style. I remember all summer looking forward to bringing fur back into my closet for winter, and it became my staple piece. When the ‘mob wife aesthetic’ began trending, it made me sad that my signature style for winter is now being boiled down to another mere aesthetic that, according to popular media, will be ‘out of style’ in a month or two. 


Another aspect that must be approached when discussing aesthetics is the roots. Many of these ‘trends,’ made popular by white women, have roots in marginalized communities, communities that are not given the proper consideration. The ‘Clean Girl Aesthetic’ was the first aesthetic that rose to popularity, characterized by sleek buns, gold hoops, and minimal, natural makeup. This look originated in Black and Latina cultures, and women have worn these styles for ages, but it was not accepted in modern culture until the women of TikTok made it ‘trendy.’ 


As social media expands and becomes ever-prevalent as a driving force within our society, a healthy balance between inspiration and overload must be found. 

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