Fast fashion’s four-letter word

The Internet’s mania for “core” may have reached its apex in 2022 thanks to TikTok’s For You page.

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Fast fashion’s four-letter word


The Future. The Internet’s mania for “core” – the suffix used to describe any style – may have reached its apex in 2022 thanks to TikTok’s For You page, where thousands of microtrends emerge out of nowhere (and disappear just as quickly) due to consumers’ short attention spans. As anything is fair game for the suffix, it’ll be hard to keep up with every microtrend, forcing consumers to drop the core and lean into their own personal styles.

Unconscious consumption

Fast fashion companies like Shein — one of the most-Googled clothing brands in the world and valued at $100 billion — capitalize on the “cores” of the viral moment by mass-producing designs often with unethical practices, according to Hypebeast.

  • Shein has earned a bad rep for allegedly stealing from independent designers and failing to pay its employees fairly.
  • It operates “numerous informal workshops [that have] no emergency exits and [come] with barred windows that would have fatal implications in the event of a fire,” reports Public Eye.
  • It churns out 700 to 1,000 new styles every day, reportedly leading to the expulsion of 6.3 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.

The algorithm doesn’t know us better than we know ourselves
While people will always love wearing the “It” clothing item, they likely won’t be able to buy into every core – which isn’t only unsustainable and expensive but also chaotic like Portia’s wardrobe in The White Lotus. In an interesting plot twist, Gen Z consumers are rebelling against the core cycle as much as they’re driving it, according to The 2023 Instagram Trend Report.

  • More than 50% of Zoomers plan to DIY their clothes next year, citing sustainability as a key reason.
  • More than 25% of Gen Z consumers plan to thrift their clothes in 2023, especially when items are out of their price range.

The bottom line
The fast fashion machine won’t stop in 2023. But core fatigue might just motivate people to embrace their individualism next year… no matter how shameless it may be.

Kait Cunniff

Kait is a Chicago-raised, LA-based writer and NYU film grad. She created an anthology TV series for Refinery29 and worked as a development executive for John Wells Productions, Jon M. Chu, and Paramount Pictures. Her favorite color is orange.


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