Influencers have begun to move away from convincing people to buy things and are instead trying to tell them what not buy.
Influencers have begun to move away from convincing people to buy things and are instead trying to tell them what not buy.
Photo Credit: Olivia Payne/Canva/Achona Online

Dupes, de-influencing, and disregard: how social media has reconsidered overconsumption

Social media has become a maze of trends, new items, and fast fashion. It has caused a rise in overconsumption, where consumers buy more than they can use or need. Social media has become the place to find what new, hot thing you need to buy right now. However, recently, users have become more knowledgeable and resistant to the media’s influence over them.

Items with a big brand name have always been valued more than the “bargain brand.” However, the younger generations have started to turn away from the appeal of brand names. Dupes are products that are very similar to a product by a big name brand, but just cheaper. Many influencers boast finding dupes of Lululemon, Skims, and other popular but expensive brands. The trend of dupes reflects a turn away from buying into the appeal of having brand names just to have them. While dupes may not be exactly the same in look or quality, they achieve basically the same effect as their more expensive counterparts. 

“I love to buy dance clothes, especially when I see the cute stuff other people have, but some of the brand names can get to be pretty pricey. So, to save money, I may buy a dupe from Amazon or something so that I have something similar but don’t blow all my money on one thing. Because of this I can buy more things for the same amount of money and still have a perfectly good option to wear,” said Avery Doyle (‘24). 

Some brands rely on having dupes of popular items, such as Elf Cosmetics. Elf is known for having items that are almost the exact same as expensive beauty brands (even down to the packaging design) but for a much cheaper price. The most important part of dupes is the low price, even if the quality isn’t up to par with the original. For most products, the appeal is that the end result is the same, which is the case for dupes of products like the Dyson Airwrap. The Dyson Airwrap was a trending item for women who wanted beautiful curls, but many people struggled with whether to purchase it or not because it was around $600. Despite the price, many people still bought it because of the fact that it was trending. Now, many people opt for hair dryers that are known as dupes, such as Shark Flexstyle. 

Dupes have been a thing since the early 2000s, but it reached new popularity in early 2023. Trends would include people comparing dupes to the original or going into stores like Walmart or Target and finding exaggerated “dupes” of popular items. The dupe trend is just one part of a larger trend of people becoming more aware of overconsumption. Overconsumption has become more prominent in recent years with the growth of fast fashion, in which people buy and throw away clothes at an alarming rate. Companies like Amazon and Shein have been some of the main contributors to the problem of fast fashion, and people have begun to realize the effects of the continuous purchasing of new trending items. 


@emogirlnextdoor Almost got kicked out???#fyp #bzinhalsfa #fypシ #walmart #dupes #dupe #viral ♬ Original sound – AHHHHHHHH

Following in this desensitization, the concept of de-influencing has become popular on social media. Influencers have begun to share why people shouldn’t buy things in order to de-influence them from trends. They may share an anti-haul, where they list things that they didn’t buy or wouldn’t buy again. In these videos, influencers will list why these items may not be as great as they seem, or they will bring people to realize that they have just been caught up in marketing tactics. A popular concept is the “I tried it so you don’t have to” video, where creators will buy a trending item and tell people whether it is worth the purchase or not. 

De-influencing goes against the purpose of an influencer, which is to get people to follow their lifestyle or “brand.” Becoming an influencer has become easier over time, and people have become desensitized to glamor or idealism that they try to sell on social media. These trends try to combat the amount of influence other people have on convincing us to buy things. The “hype” around an item can make it seem like it is something that we have to buy right at that moment, even if it is just to fit in with everyone else on social media. People have been shown to buy things that they might not even like that much or need just because it is trending

“I had wanted to buy the Birkenstock clogs because I thought that they were pretty cute. But then I asked people and everyone said they were ugly, so I guess they de-influenced me from buying them,” said Katherine Yencle-Torres (’24). 

These trends are examples of the increasing disregard younger generations are developing for the influences of consumerism and big corporations. With the increased access to information through phones and social media, a significant amount of people have become aware of tactics that corporations and the media use to get them to buy their products. People have also become more aware of how they are using their money, as prices have been increasing since the pandemic. It has become more and more important for people to spend their money wisely as the price of living has increased and wages have not risen to match it. People can no longer spend extra for a name brand product in hopes that the quality is worth the price. Consumers are realizing that being economical is more important than following trends. 

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