Fashion marketing has evolved dramatically over the past decade. While it may seem like Instagram has been a well-known platform since the beginning of time, it’s only been ten years since its initial launch. The social media revolution and accessibility to smartphones have resulted in the selfie effect.

While selfies may seem like a harmless bit of fun, they’ve disrupted the fashion industry in numerous ways. Here’s how the selfie effect has impacted the fashion industry and how brands are adapting.

Increased Shopping Frequency

One of the most significant impacts of the selfie effect has been the increase in shopping activity. This effect is primarily connected to the fear of being viewed in the same outfit more than once. While this was always an underlying concern for fashionistas, the move toward documenting our daily lives on social media has exacerbated the impact.

For the fashion industry, this means that people are generally shopping more to keep their look fresh and relevant. While the potential profits are a benefit of the selfie effect, designers are also faced with the challenge of continuously producing new products. Thanks to the selfie effect, fashion trends are no longer “so last season.” Instead, they’re so last week.

Real-Time Trends

Another significant change resulting from selfie culture is that fashion happens in real-time. Trendsetters no longer wait for reports from the runways to start shopping. Instead, they see new designs the day they’re created. Again, this forces brands to pivot quickly and release new products to take advantage of burgeoning trends before they fade away.

As social media is free for users, this paradigm shift in how we learn about fashion also means more accessibility. For the younger generation, there’s no concern about saving allowance to buy fashion magazines. Instead, they can access new trends 24/7.

Designers are also adapting to the selfie effect by releasing things on social media to build hype and get their name out first. One of the underlying impacts of the selfie effect is that consumers are driving the trends rather than designers— they’re the ones who follow the hashtags and decide what’s worth sharing.

Better Brand Engagement

Another positive aspect of the selfie effect is that brands are experiencing better engagement and loyalty. People who take self-portraits wearing their favorite brands and tag them with branded hashtags drive traffic to the brand through exposure and social proof.

This phenomenon has led to the use of user-generated content (UGC). With UGC, brands can market their products for free by resharing content and adding photo credits. Viewers see that someone they admire has purchased a great outfit with positive results and feels comfortable following suit.

Sustainability Concerns

One of the biggest concerns with all of these changes stemming from the selfie-effect is sustainability and fast fashion’s detrimental impacts on the world. The volume of clothing that ends up in landfills in America has doubled over the past 20 years.

Fortunately, many influencers are speaking out against this issue. However, mass production and the need for fresh content and clothing aren’t expected to die out any time soon.

The good thing is that appeared digital makeup apps on the market (like the one from Facetune), which leads to less makeup consumption. This should reduce the unnecessary production of a large number of makeup products.

The Resurgence of Consignment and Thrifting

One positive side of the selfie effect and concerns about sustainability is the resurgence of consignment and thrift shopping. This movement toward second-hand fashion solves two overarching issues: the need for a cost-friendly fresh wardrobe and the opportunity to be unique with one-of-a-kind pieces. With many retro and vintage looks coming back into fashion, influencers can make a powerful statement by engaging in this trend.

It’s hard to believe that a simple selfie could change the world. However, this phenomenon has created a paradigm shift in how we view ourselves, the fashion industry, and the world.