Fashion is one of the central ways this generation expresses itself. Trends are constantly changing and evolving, and new styles are invented every day. With all these constant changes and options, how do young people develop and discover their personal style? That’s where social media plays a role. Social media platforms, such as Instagram, are a way for people to share their style, and in turn have become a place for people to look to for trends and creative fashion inspiration.
Social media is also a great way to spread ideas throughout a community, and it’s easy to notice this when looking at our own community at Berkeley High School (BHS). Some students have used their social media platforms to spread the word about fashion events and trends, creating a fun sense of unity among the student body, which is needed more than ever. Most people at BHS have heard of the most recent example of this: Jorts Thursday.
Jorts Thursday occurred on September 30, 2021, when many BHS students, and even some students from other high schools, showed up to school wearing jorts, or jean shorts. The creators of Jorts Thursday were Sasha Wizelman and Nico Vellutini, both seniors at BHS in Communication Arts and Sciences (CAS).
Wizelman and Vellutini didn’t expect the idea to take off as much as it did, so they were pleasantly surprised to see it garner so much participation from students across grade levels. Wizelman explained, “Seeing people I’d never met, especially underclassmen, wearing jorts was so wacky.”
Social media played a big role in the success of Jorts Thursday. Wizelman and Vellutini both posted on Instagram to spread the word, and many people subsequently reposted the announcement.
Wizelman added, “I honestly don’t think Jorts Thursday would have become a thing without the help of social media.”
Instagram has been one of the most widely used platforms when it comes to fashion. Velluntini said, “I feel like fashion is a big deal at BHS, and everyone has different styles. Especially after coming out of quarantine, the era of fashion on Instagram blew up.”
Besides being used to spread inspiration for fashion, Instagram has also been a tool for teens to start businesses. Teens all over the world have been able to start successful clothing lines, which was unheard of in the past.
Jackson Smith is a BHS junior in Academic Choice (AC) and the creator of the clothing line Jackalope (@jackalope.online). Smith holds the belief that social media is the most effective way to spread the word about a business in this generation. Smith said, “Other than word of mouth, social media is pretty much the only way people can find out about your business.”
On top of using social media to spread the word about his clothing line, Smith also uses social media for inspiration. “I have this feed of just crazy inspiring stuff that I can check out whenever I have a creative block,” Smith explained.
Gavin Trotmore, a junior in Arts and Humanities Academy (AHA) and creator of the clothing line The Island Ink (@theislandink), is another young business owner who has benefited from the use of social media.
“Social media has definitely given a platform to me and a lot of other small creators trying to get something started who might’ve not been able to get their voice out in the past,” said Trotmore.
Though social media has had a positive effect on fashion, there are still drawbacks. Trotmore said, “When it comes to fashion, I think social media can be good and bad. It’s cool because people can look to it for inspiration, but at the same time it kind of creates this stagnance in creativity.”
Smith continued, “Certain trends are constantly changing because they’re trending on social media, even if they’re not necessarily that good.”
Social media has helped fashion grow and has allowed the younger generation to gain a voice that it wouldn’t otherwise be able to have. Hopefully, social media platforms will continue to have a positive impact on teenage fashion and the BHS community, bringing small business owners and creators from Generation Z to the forefront of the fashion world, which is so often dominated by massive international corporations.