Renewing Our Wardrobe: My take on trends, cycles and the fashion industry

Graphic by Amy Hoang
March 28, 2024

The weather is changing and so will our clothes, wardrobe choices and personalities, if you haven't figured it out already…Welcome to Seattle! As the ground slowly thaws, a whole fashion movement around spring is evoked and a new cycle of trends emerge. The dead of winter brings fantasization about the new, sunnier you. Maybe the spring you is wearing striking hot pink shades with a matching bedazzled graphic crop top, all while magically not going into thermal shock. You’ll be beaming with confidence as you turn heads and maybe even break hearts on your afternoon campus hot girl walk. Over in New York and Paris, spring fashion week has brought lovers of all things beautiful immeasurable joy as we see fashion’s finest hard at work.

Do not get me wrong, this is not a dig at the arts and appreciators themselves – but is a critique. As a fellow creative and fashion connoisseur myself, something about the mainstream fashion community isn’t sitting right with me today at all. The hyper-cyclical trends highlight a major flaw with not only society, but the global economy. As we empty our pockets and fill our wardrobes with clothes to distract from the winter we just blinked away, our escapist nature is strangely invested in chasing ephemeral bliss in shopping for the next new thing. We begin to blur the lines between our self worth and our material appearance; a dangerous facet of a hyper materialistic society. It’s no secret that the cycles of trends scooped and pooped out by brands like Shein and other fast fashion companies are problematic. Some of us stopped buying from Shein or mostly thrift now, but sometimes we give into our temptation. With enough cognitive dissonance and glee from looking cunt as fuck, we think nothing of it; there’s no crime in wanting to treat yourself and look fabulous, right?

There's a cautionary tale in tying hits of dopamine with shopping and materiality. What Karl Marx meant when he said “ The less you are, the more you have” encompasses the idea that we lose some form of creativity or energy onto a product in the process of labor in this economy. The dichotomy of this problem is that neither the worker nor capitalist ever seem to replenish this loss as the worker continually fights to sustain a living off a lower wage as the capitalist who saves suffers a spiritual deficit. If you haven’t already, I strongly encourage reading Karl Marx's essay on alienation and labor; though published 1844, has a scarily accurate application to society today. We have sold our souls to the proverbial monopoly man (point is: consumption empties creative spirit, eliminates imagination, and removes free will- as we have forgotten our power of choice and autonomy). I bet you thought this was going to be a fun fashion trend catalog, no, Sophia is here to drop big time marxist pedagogy to the #max. Much of my interests and work have to do with this idea of the social ill we collectively experience in the consumer culture-driven anthropocene. To call a spade a spade, consumer culture is a mass addiction that requires intervention on the bottom up scale. Unhealthy coping mechanisms of shopping range anywhere from relatively harmless to the perpetuation of a habit that when scaled up to the millions – has a massive impact on the state of the world economically, socially and ecologically.

Someone you will never meet makes the clothes you buy and discard and I’d be willing to bet if you put in the work to make it yourself, it probably wouldn't look as good and you certainly wouldn't toss it out without a piece of your heart going along with it. If all of us only made our clothes, our emotional attachment to the personal process of creation would halt the blackhole consumer greed leaves inside in its tracks because clothes would no longer be scraps of fabric we adorn our body with, but would become the manifestation of the labor of love, time and imagination we all have. Precious, like a beloved baby blanket stitched by grandma, the clothes adorning us would hug our bodies, tailored to our souls, transforming us as beings. Ok yes, this is a rather dreamy rendition of fashion, but I think the principle has been highlighted that we lose something in the consumer cycle, the very essence of expression and creativity itself. 

We have lost our way as a society and species and that is depressing. I'm getting a bit heavy because let's be real, how much waste do you generate? How much do you consume? It's not even our faults, look how teens and young folks are marketed towards and encouraged to consume. The transaction goes, we look cool, they make money, it all works, right? No, for ages the market-created demographic of teens and young people since its genesis have been misinterpreted as frivolous and shallow cash cows. 

Reinforced by the classist ties of conspicuous consumption to social status and pretty privilege, there's real unspoken power in style; it signals a life story without a word said–that’s power. Instead we get scapegoated as these work-avoidant, privileged and lazy young people glued to a phone. There's some truth to this but there's a massive miscommunication here. We have been pigeonholed into this image because the “adults” of the world can't take the power we hold in our hearts, minds and hands to really shake things up. So take this impossible situation we have been handed as a challenge rather than a wet blanket conversation.

 We have a unique opportunity to transform ourselves, our communities, and the world and stick it to the man. Who ever said the revolution would be unstylish? I hope I have painted an accurate depiction of this social ill; my aim is to empower us to transform and express ourselves, not reduce the world's problem to finding new ways to look hot. The most important message is there is power in what we become when dressing with love, confidence and to be seen. Look up the tuxedo effect, it's real! Spring serves as a metaphor that something new can emerge from the old, blooming with inspiration. Just as a flower sprouts in the sun on the ground once barren and frozen, our creativity comes out to play.


  • trade clothes with your friends
  • organize swap meets
  • cut it up! sew it, go to the mill!
  • personalize: you never go out of style. resonation with your clothes is integral to identity and fills that gaping consumer hole in you.

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