2020 has been a whirlwind; along with Covid-19 came a general wave of uncertainty and unrest. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves, especially in quarantine. All of a sudden our busy lives had to be put on pause even if we didn’t want them to be. While quarantine was an intense and difficult time for most of us, it also provided us with the opportunity to do things we never thought we would have time for. Our search histories were overtaken with intricate DIY projects and the newest twists on basic recipes. We had time to spend on activities that we previously would have felt were not important enough or unnecessary. Most of us especially spent our time in one place: a place where we found solidarity in having the most niche characteristics –TikTok.
TikTok has gained immense popularity over the past few months, specifically because of quarantine. It provides a platform where people can post short videos ranging from 15 seconds to 1 minute to showcase anything they want: food videos, fashion videos, dances, singing, etc. In addition, anyone who has the app has a personalized “for you page” that compiles videos that the algorithm thinks the user would enjoy. TikTok currently has 500 million users, with a huge spike in this total users starting from March.
Trends are constantly changing, and TikTok has consistently presented its users with updated trends throughout quarantine. One of the most popular trends that flooded TikTok and other social media apps was tie dyeing and bleaching sweatsuits. This was especially popular because people were spending so much time at home in more comfortable outfits. By adding character to basic sweatsuits, it allowed people to feel less mundane about staying at home all day everyday. I even decided to bleach tie dye and crop one of my sweatshirts because I saw an easy tutorial on TikTok and I loved the result! It was great to spice up a basic black hoodie and now I wear it all the time, not to mention that the process itself was fun and gave me something to do on one of the more boring days of quarantine.
Bleaching and tie-dying is just one example of the recent upcycling trend. These hacks took over a lot of people’s “for you page” because it showed people how simple it is to recreate old clothes. One such technique was embroidering jeans. This became a way to add more personality to jeans with an easy and versatile technique. Many embroidered fun designs on the back pocket of their jeans or even wrote a personally important message. This is just one other example of how people can use clothing in order to express themselves, especially when most of us have the time to personalize our clothing to be meaningful to us.
Making reusable masks has been another Tik Tok trend that has allowed people to personalize what otherwise would be simply a common necessity. This was especially relevant in the beginning of quarantine at the time of the disposable mask shortage. People took this opportunity to make masks to represent their beliefs, whether that was a “Black Lives Matter” mask or a mask requesting people to vote. Reusable masks are also good for the environment, so the trend of making your own mask is a great way to demonstrate and put into practice your beliefs, while still looking cute and being safe!
Being stuck at home is one of the hardest things for most people. The lack of a familiar routine is scary and uncertain. It may sound silly or superficial to say that an app like TikTok helped form communities and gave people a creative outlet, but this holds true for my own life as well as for the lives of people I’ve witnessed. Tiktok has given so many people the opportunity to grow their creative talents or even find a new one; Tiktok has a place for everyone. In these uncertain times, it’s important to have a respite from all the craziness, regardless of if it is just an app on your phone. So, even if you might feel like you’re too old or cool to join this “Gen-Z” app, I would encourage you to get it — I guarantee that you will learn something.