FRIDAY THOUGHTS: IS SOCIAL MEDIA FORCING US TO BECOME CONSTANT CONSUMERS?







We live in an extremely fast paced society, where people want things now. Hence the frustration when you see a beautiful camel coat on your fave blogger and ask for a link, only for her to tell you that it's two seasons old and unavailable now.

My theory: there is an unspoken and underlying pressure on fashion and beauty bloggers to constantly 'keep up', and be the first one to possess and style any number of 'trending' items.

I've recently been seeing a lot more awareness of this and a few different posts on this topic, and I've been meaning to add my own 2 cents.

It's all fun and games when we watch 'Confessions of a Shopaholic' or 'Sex and the City', where Carrie jokes once more about buying shoes instead of paying rent. But I think that we're at a real risk of promoting this 'buy it, because yolo' culture as somehow glamorous and we're forgetting that things actually cost money.

When was the last time you paid cash for a piece of clothing? For me, it's so far back that I can't remember. Everything seems so much less when everything is available to you with a swipe of plastic. Or with just a tap of apple pay. All the amounts, the £10 here, £20 there begin to lose significance, until you've maxed out your overdraft or reached the limit of your credit card. Then the reality of debt comes crashing down on you.


Fast fashion there's a constant pressure, particularly on bloggers, to stay 'on trend'. I know this from personal experience, and I'm not afraid to admit that if I see a particular H&M blazer on 10 different bloggers, all of whom have got incredible engagement in their posts containing that item, then I'll be upgrading that piece straight to number one on my wish list.

This isn't just limited to fashion, either. I'm sure we all remember when Fenty Beauty first launched, the way everyone was desperate to get their products first, so they could upload video reviews and blog posts as quickly as possible to get the most views and most engagement.

I'm becoming acutely aware of the fact that I feel a continual pressure to buy new things. I have deliveries arriving every other day, I'm constantly checking the 'New In' sections of my favourite online stores in a bid to make sure that I call which items are going to be 'it' pieces before anyone else, so that I get there first, before they sell out. I know that I rationalise my spending with the feeble excuse that I am 'investing in the blog', and whilst I know that realistically, this a somewhat pathetic attempt to disguise the fact that I just love to shop, it's dawning on me that there is also some truth in that.


The way bloggers shop and accumulate new things is, in my view, becoming kind of damaging. There's is just a continual cycle of new. Every other day we're being shown a new item they've just 'picked up' (anyone else absolutely HATE that expression?! I have no idea why but it really grinds on my gears lol!) Youtubers are continually 'hauling', and don't get me wrong, whilst I enjoy this content and continue to consume and partake in it myself, I'm also aware of the fact that this extremely fast paced lifestyle and shopping habit being promoted is wholly unrealistic not just for the average person, but for the smaller bloggers who are aiming to be on that same level way before they're means allows them to be so.

I think there's become an expectation for bloggers to constantly be seen in what's 'new', to have a firm hand on the latest trends and pieces, and of course, to an extent this is part and parcel of being a 'fashion blogger'. But there's also a fine line between showcasing a realistic wardrobe, and just essentially becoming a clothes hanger for everything that's new in the shops. It's a tough one, because I understand the need to create new content, seeing the same old sweater 20 times is boring content and I can see why that would be of little interest to the audience. But is this creating a culture of continual spending? A pressure to buy things that I'm not even sure we always want, and definitely do not need, in order to satisfy what we think our audience wants.

It's no surprise that posts with 'trendy' items do better in terms of engagement on social media. I remember there being a camel coloured H&M sweater last winter that was constantly sold out for months, and was featured on just about every blogger's instagram feed, each time doing incredibly well in terms of likes. I remember how, after seeing it so many times, I too was desperate to get my hands on this sweater, there's a certain brain washing element to social media feeds, right? And being honest, I was also sure that if I got my hands on it, it'd do well on my own instagram feed. Now I did genuinely like the jumper too, but it was £39.99, and I knew, being honest with myself, that there was no way I would have bought it for that price, it's the kind of piece I would've waited to go down in the sales before I purchased, because £40 for one jumper just seemed far too much. I also knew that if I waited until the sales to buy it, then the very reasons for me wanting it; having an 'it', 'hot right now' item to get good engagement as so on, would have worn off, and it would have lost its desired effect.

It's not only new in, 'trendy pieces' that have this affect either. It would appear that engagement tends to favour luxury pieces, and I think we're becoming increasingly aware of the elitism of the blogging world. It would appear that the more luxury pieces you have, the better engagement you have, and if you manage to tick the 'it' piece and 'luxe' piece boxes in one item, then you're laughing. Isn't this essentially a case of, the more money you have, the more likely you are to be a 'successful' blogger?


This is something that has been proven to be true even with my own engagement. I've realised that when I upload a post with an expensive item, like my Chanel slingbacks, or my Gucci loafers, I do particularly well in terms of engagement, I'll be met with a barrage of likes and new followers and this understandably makes me want to invest in more luxe pieces which I think would look good on the 'gram. Don't get me wrong, I've always been a sucker for my designers, but I can't deny the thrill I get when I've finally managed to purchase a luxury 'it' item that has subsequently gone on to do well on my social media channels, and I'm aware that that's both sad and quite wrong.

I'm pretty sure there are bloggers out there, drowning in debt and just managing to keep afloat, but continue to justify their spending as being an 'investment' or as 'part of their job'. Have we gotten to a point where there is simply too much emphasis placed on numbers and engagement, and we're beginning to lose that sense of individuality, of showcasing the pieces that we want and that we would realistically buy, which made the blogging space so personal in the first place?

Are we forcing bloggers to surrender themselves to one mould, one of fast fashion and 'it pieces', which chips away at their own personal styles?

The prospects of engagement and numbers are beginning to influence our shopping habits, as we have in mind, whether consciously or sub-consiously, the pieces that will do well on the 'gram, or what is 'trending'.

Does this therefore restrain our individuality and sense of personal style? After all, we all know how annoying it is when you see a outfit post with a piece you love and are desperate to get your hands on, only to realise that it's old season and now sold out.

I know that I can't afford to be constantly buying new things to keep up. Financially it just wouldn't work, I'm a 21 year old uni student who still lives at home, relies on Student Finance and my parents, as well as the little I earn from my blog for money, and so do the Chanel bits and new pieces I flaunt on my feed every week really reflect my circumstance? Probably not.

But it's not only the financial aspect, I know that it just isn't realistic, or relatable either. I can't keep buying new clothes continuously, I don't have the room for it, in reality I re-wear my clothes and only select a few pieces each season that I would usually invest in.




I'm aware of the fact that often, if I create a post centred around one particular item, I then become reluctant to wear it again to feature it on my social media profiles, because I feel as though I've covered that content, I've created it, and to do so would just be repetitive. That piece then risks being relegated to the very back of my wardrobe, I forget I have it and it gets little wear. It's not feasible to be continually buying clothes that I wear once and then feel that I can't wear again.

I don't really know what the solution is, folks. I don't really see the blogging world changing anytime soon. If anything, I can see the issue only getting worse - as the industry becomes more and more monetised, and the ability to profit off the clothes you wear and recommend through affiliate links making the idea of buying new clothes that you can then link to people all the more enticing.
Don't get me wrong, even if I were not blogging myself, I know I'd be keeping up to date with what was 'trending'. Fashion and beauty are my interests, after all - I buy into the 'fast fashion' culture even if I know that 6 months down the line my furry mules will be old news, because it's fun and I enjoy it. But I wonder if I would be so influenced by what others are buying, wearing and showcasing if I didn't have this little virtual home. Would my spending habits be more sensible? I would still be buying new bits and pieces that were 'on trend' because ya gal loves to shop, but I definitely wouldn't feel the need to buy a particular makeup palette or jacket or accessory as soon as it came out.



It's taken me a lottttttt of spending, and finally becoming exhausted by the constant packages and trips to the post office for returns to realise that I need to start actively fighting this habit, and reassessing what I'm buying.
I know this is where a lot of people would invoke the whole 'that's why you should never blog for numbers and purely for your love of it' spiel, but honestly I can be spared that bullshit. I think we all get caught up in the numbers game at one point or another. It's hard not to, particularly if you're someone who likes to 'do well' or succeed in other areas of your life, and you're never content with just doing 'alright', it's only natural that there are times where this mentality leaks into your hobbies sometimes too.
I think these days I'm trying harder to maintain more of a balance. I still like to buy new things, and often, these things will be 'it pieces', but I'm making sure that these are pieces I really love and won't just wear once, and that I only by a few pieces here and there each season. There is simply no need for me to be setting out almost as though I need to buy a whole new wardrobe each season.
That way, I'm not ashamed to say that if I do get my hands on an 'it piece', that I'll milk it a little to get the added 'engagement' bonus, because let's face it, we all do it.

But I guess I'd like to be less wary of wearing outfits with old favourites, or pieces that are no longer available. I'm a lover of a bargain, about 70% of my clothes are bought in the sale, meaning that the chances of these being available are slim, but that's just what I've always done. I've never liked paying full price for items, so what's the point me buying those pieces purely for the blog? After all, I set out to blog to showcase my outfits, and my style, not to simply model the latest things you can buy on the high street. I wouldn't buy every new piece each season if I didn't have the blog, I would re-wear my old favourites like we all do, so why pretend that I'm this girl who can afford to constantly buy new clothes? I've unwittingly become guilty go upholding a bit of a facade, but no longer!





So that's my rant over for today, folks - sorry for the rambles, but I hope you enjoyed nonetheless. What do you guys think? Are bloggers beginning to perpetuate the problem of constant consumerism? I'd love the hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Until next time,
Bisous <3

Eva
xxx

OUTFIT DETAILS:

Turtleneck: Boohoo
Jumper: Na-kd Fashion (On sale!)
Skirt: Na-kd Fashion (Limited Sizes available, similar here and here)
Boots: Topshop (Sold Out, v. similar version here)
Jewellery: Bohomoon (On Sale!)
Bag: Zara (Sold out, similar here)
Twilly: Dior (Similar here and here, on sale too!)
Sunglasses: Ebay


What's your opinion?

@whatevawears