The Iliad

The Student News Site of Poway High School

The Student News Site of Poway High School

The Iliad

The Student News Site of Poway High School

The Iliad

The next best thing

Trends pollute our minds and our environment

   Trends of the past have bled into the new year; and with them come newer ideas, newer fixations, and newer comebacks for previously loved traditions and items. But, some trending items from 2023 are still flying off the shelves. 

   The Valentine’s Day edition Stanley Cup has become the staple of every Stanley owner’s current collection, and almost no one has been able to get one for weeks. Drunk Elephant Bronzing Drops have been on the wishlist of 10 to 14-year-olds across the nation, and Squishmallow nets still conquer the ceiling space in many bedrooms. 

   But what do these material collectables do for the consumer? Act as decoration? Are they actually used and rotated into a cycle where they become needed? Or, are the collectors just a part of a scheme of overconsumption pushed onto us by the media?

   People use the word “collection” to describe what they buy. They collect Funko Pops, Lego sets, dishware, stuffed animals, bottle tabs, or even mugs. But what are they used for? Do you even use them?

   Personally, I have a cabinet full of mugs. But they are used and rotated through the shelves, and there is not one that is used more than the other. Of course, I have a favorite, but if it’s dirty I won’t go out of my way to run it through the dishwasher just to have a cup of tea – especially if there are clean ones already in my cabinet.

   Some have a collection of Stanley cups that fill their cupboards, and yet they only use one. Think of how much money that is spent on something that isn’t intentionally used. Yes, it’s cool to have every single product that Drunk Elephant has come out with, but if you don’t use them with any careful intention then why bother having them at all?

   Social media is a huge part of our daily lives. Influencers push product after product onto us and whether we like it or not, it’s shaping our opinions about the world around us. Celebrities, whether they be film or socially famous, are held to a certain standard – or perceived to be held to a certain standard. The subconscious feeling of celebrities knowing better than you makes it more likely that you’ll buy a product from someone whom you admire. 

   Content such as brand deals make the products that are pushed mass-consumed. It creates trends and increases supply and demand. The quality of these products makes or breaks content creators, and whether or not they’re accepted by the mass media builds or destroys the reliability that people put onto these creators.

   When we let those opinions get the best of us, we tend to let social media control our general opinions on what is “trendy” or not. Labels are used as status symbols, and the cycle always repeats to refresh different products. Lululemon, Uggs, and Essentials all have “dupes” made to look almost identical to the actual “real” product, which are all bought just as often as the real things.

   When faced with popular trends we, as consumers, lose focus of things that actually interest us. Like traveling, reading, doom-scrolling Pinterest for ideas to refresh our wardrobes, and watching conspiracy videos on how the Oceangate submarine, the “Titan,” actually sank. We spend our time and our money trying to keep up with the Joneses instead of taking a step back and figuring out what the difference is between our own interests and the interests social media pushes onto us.

   Why should we care about what’s popular if what’s popular is honestly a waste of money and space? I’ll bring up the Squishmallows again. What is the use of them? Is it the serotonin from having a creature-shaped pillow? I think that having one or two are cute additions to a childhood bedroom, but after five it tends to get excessive. Suddenly you either can’t sleep on your bed or you’re unable to navigate your floor. Ceiling nets are fun, but they start to make your room feel stuffy and they easily collect dust.

   The excessiveness of Stanley cups is much the same. You can only use so many at a time, but it’s more efficient for your wallet and your health if you have one that you consistently wash. Having five or six (practically one for every day of the week) is considered extravagant. 

   I think overconsumption is considered a social trait these days, and people are getting rewarded by views, comments, and likes for their more extreme collections. What isn’t popular is discarded and the collections that people build up are either stored or sold as a means to make way for new things. As this cycle repeats, we continue to be consumed by the very things that we collect ourselves. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Iliad Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *