Image Credit: Elana Mutnick for The Campus Trainer
The social-networking app TikTok has captured over 1 billion users within the past few years. This booming platform has fostered a community for people of all backgrounds and encourages personal expression, as long as it follows community guidelines. Content of all types are posted daily on the app, with the recent popularity of advertising. Ever since the Aerie Crossover Leggings blew up on the platform, advertising companies have been utilizing the app as a new way to attract consumers to buy their products.
Freshman psychology major Arielle Solomon found herself one with the trends. After seeing Tiktok influencer Hannah Schlenker wearing them in one of her videos, she purchased two pairs of the Aerie Crossover Leggings.
"They just kept showing up on my feed so I decided I should finally get them too. All my friends were buying them and I became obsessed with them," Solomon said.
The easily-impressionable Generation Z, which seems to be Tiktok’s target audience, turned Aerie crossover leggings into an entire shop with yoga pants, biker shorts, bathing suit bottoms, and more, all with the crossover style.
Junior criminology major Denise Yildirim also found herself on Aerie’s website not long after she caught a glimpse of Schlenker’s viral video. Yildirim said she struggles when it comes to finding pants that fit her 5’1 body, and was ecstatic to discover the flare pants came in a short version.
“They are one of the only pants that don’t drag on the floor when I walk,” Yildirim said.
When she first saw the viral video, the pants had been sold out. However, Tiktok was sure to let her know when they had been restocked through more advertised videos on her page, and she immediately bought herself a few pairs.
Solomon's personalized algorithm also led her to constantly see these articles of clothing. Not only are the crossover leggings a fan favorite, but so are Edikted's famous flared pants. This online women's fashion brand has had its leather pants completely sell out countless times because of their presence on Tiktok.
Freshman communications major Eve Laforte said she had purchased three pairs of the brand's flared pants, including the luna faux leather flare jeans in black and brown and the engine red flared jeans.
"I remember seeing the red pants on my for you page and immediately bought them. I was so excited to wear them for game days since they are red," said Laforte. Regarding the leather pants, Laforte said she felt like Tiktok was tormenting her until she bought them. "Almost every Tiktok influencer was wearing them, so I gave in and bought them for myself too." Umisha KC, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Communication at the University of Maryland, downloaded Tiktok at the start of the pandemic. She said the app's algorithm makes these advertisements effective in getting consumers to purchase items because they show you content you are interested in. "It's so precise that you learn a lot more about yourself than any other platform," KC said.
She said Tiktok influencers get you in ways that you don't realize, making their recommendations seem genuine even though they are not. She finds it weird how influencers try to pose their Tiktoks as video trends when they are actually sponsored advertisements. KC said she had purchased an angel number necklace from an influencer's amazon link in their bio after seeing her wearing it in a video.
"I don't think I would rely on TikTok to make a big purchase, but I'm definitely okay with buying small, inconsequential ones," KC said. Solomon, Laforte, and Yildirim seemed to agree. They said their purchases were not the last.
"My bank account doesn't appreciate my shopping addiction," Solomon said. "So much for a free app."