The Worst TikTok Fashion Trends: Opiumcore, Flexing Pandabuy Fakes, and More

Whether its Opiumcore or fake Pandabuy hauls, there is truly some horrible fashion trends on TikTok right now. Here are the eight worst offenders.

Zoomers Seriously Rocking Affliction or Dressing Like Jesse Pinkman

@xaury25
OK, I’m old. I admit it. As a 27-year-old style writer, I truly cannot understand why the youth is going crazy over some of these Y2K-era labels currently making a comeback. But one major Y2K trend that truly confuses the hell out of me is witnessing zoomers step out in Affliction, Tapout, and any other labels that Breaking Bad’s Jesse Pinkman would have worn while cheffing up blue meth in an RV. 

Don’t get me wrong—there’s plenty of good clothing from the 2000s making a comeback right now. Pieces like True Religion jeans, Ed Hardy hoodies, Baby Phat puffers, and Juicy Couture sweats don’t feel super outdated to wear today. But that’s because these pieces were actually popular and stylish in the 2000s. So let’s keep it real: When was Tapout or Affliction ever fly? The first thing I think of when it comes to these brands is someone who looks like they worked for Joe Exotic in Tiger King yelling at their family in a Costco food court.  

Well after doing some deep research into the roots of this Affliction revival, it seems that there’s actually a somewhat valid source for this trend. Turns out, an emerging witch-house/horrorcore collective called Haunted Mound has made this apparel a part of their look, which has since been transferred over to its fan base. I mean, if you’re really wearing Affliction because you love the rapper Sematary, do you. But I think the rest of the world can live without this microtrend.

Arc’teryx Jackets in the Shower

@notze66y

See how the water just beads off??🤪

♬ SONG IS ARCTERYX by ZE66Y unreleased - ze66y
@notze66y
Yep, we’ll never forget about the stupidest TikTok fashion trend from 2022 that somehow is still running strong today. Even though Arc’teryx was already designing some of the most trusted outdoor gear for 30-plus years, it felt like nearly everyone discovered the brand after watching teenagers wear rain jackets underneath a shower head indoors. For a hot minute, it truly felt like people were dropping hundreds on Arc’teryx rain shells to simply recreate a tired meme on TikTok over and over again. Like other trends on this list, this isn’t one of the worst TikTok microtrends because of the brand per se. In 2021, we actually considered Arc’teryx to be one of the best labels that year because they were killing it at the time—blowing up within the fashion space through cool collaborations with artists like Shaun Crawford and brands like Off-White. Another thing we can’t knock about this microtrend is how it put all of us on to the dope British rapper YT.  But let’s keep it real. While there’s nothing wrong with buying an Arc’teryx jacket for style, if you sincerely purchased a waterproof jacket to film yourself discovering how DWR or Gore-Tex works, you may need to reconsider how you’re spending your hard-earned money and actually touch some grass.

Those “Go to My Spreadsheet” Pandabuy Haul MFs

@undrgrnd767
One of the most despicable fashion microtrends to take off on TikTok, or really the Internet at large, is that hundreds of consumers are embracing streetwear replicas/bootlegs. Granted that these shoppers already existed before TikTok (thanks to Canal Street bootleggers and popular Subreddits dedicated to buying fakes), TikTok has taken it to a new level because there’s literally hundreds of creators solely building content around copping reps. 

Now I’m not knocking the many reasons why consumers are drawn to buying replicas or trying to position myself like a U.S. Customs and Border Protection narc. It’s just crazy to me that out of all the hobbies an individual could tap into for Internet fame, they seriously picked flexing fake clothing off Pandabuy—a website that connects overseas buyers to Chinese replica dealers—as their MO. 

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the whole purpose of buying something that’s fake to save money from buying the real thing? So wouldn’t it technically defeat the whole purpose of buying a rep if you become a TikTokker who’s constantly shipping in $50–$100 Pandabuy packages several times a week for the sake of filming fake unboxing videos? Then there’s the whole imposter baller syndrome one has to face after developing a shopping addiction for designer fakes. It’s one thing to split a check on the first date, but it’s another thing to struggle paying a monthly credit card bill because you can’t couldn’t stop buying 50-kilogram hauls of fake Chrome Hearts jeans and Rick Owens sneakers. Anyway, with Nike recently suing one of these replica influencers in December 2023, these Pandabuy TikToks may start disappearing soon.

The Countless Number of Opium Clones

@arnaldo.slzr
First and foremost, I have no animosity toward Playboi Carti, Ken Carson, Destroy Lonely, or Homixide Gang. It’s truly something of great note to see a group of hip-hop artists not only shift the sound of the genre but also the fashion associated with it. That’s exactly what's happened with the rise of the Opiumcore or (the Opium aesthetic) trend on TikTok, which is all about dressing yourself like Carti or a member of his record label. 

Really, there’s nothing particularly wrong or cringey about the designer labels associated with Opiumcore. Rick Owens and Balenciaga by Demna have been trending in streetwear for some time now. And to be honest, Opiumcore isn’t that different from the “street goth” trend we saw when ASAP Rocky was coming up a decade ago. It’s really just a new hip-hop artist embracing the same great high-fashion brands. 

But what makes Opiumcore one of the worst Tiktok fashion trends of the moment is essentially “fit fatigue.” Since Opiumcore is intrinsically tied to dressing like an extremely popular artist today, you see hundreds, if not thousands, of people dressing exactly like one another. This type of phenomenon isn’t new. When I was a teenager, Odd Future’s popularity led to everyone wanting the same Supreme box logo hoodie or camp cap that Tyler, the Creator wore in Odd Future videos. Whereas for Opiumcore enthusiasts, it’s getting that same pair of Balenciaga jeans or Rick Owen boots that Carti wore in a fit pic. Nevertheless, it’s your money and your personal (even if it’s inspired by Carti) style. But I do hope all these zoomers aren’t buying that clothing off Pandabuy or Temu.

Succession Is Over and Quiet Luxury Is Boring, So Please Drop the “Old Money Aesthetic”

@thequeentime
“Old Money Aesthetic” is one of the weirder fashion microtrends to pop off because it's not like the clothing associated with it isn't really in or out of style. 

What this trend really boils down to is dressing conservatively for casual occasions while gassing up hella boring fits. If anything, old money fits proved to us that TikTokers know how to dress for a wedding, a job interview, or any other occasion that calls for a formal outfit. 

But let’s not kid ourselves here; just because you recently decided to channel Princess Diana’s fits by copping a knit Polo Ralph Lauren sweater that was on sale doesn’t mean you’re cracking the Fortune 500 anytime soon—please prove haters like me wrong though. OK, it’s honestly fine to embrace these looks if you truly enjoy dressing like a 1985 Ralph Lauren model or a Hamptons, Long Island mom—even if that entire “quiet luxury” fit was pulled from Zara. 

However, what makes this trend absolutely insufferable is that so many of these TikToks project weird opinions about class and what’s considered to be tasteful fashion. One of the most liked TikToks hashtagged with “old money aesthetic” labels wearing Nike Tech sweatsuits and other streetwear fits as unfashionable choices in comparison to a Vineyard Vines–ass look. There’s also this whole microtrend-ception thing going on here where there’s TikToks centered on women fawning over a “Ralph Lauren guy in a world full of Nike Tech boys.” 

Aside from these being cheap shots at Nike Tech, it just comes off elitist, and arguably problematic, to position that the most fashionable clothing is whatever affluent WASPs have traditionally worn. And while there’s plenty of cringey videos debating whether “old money” or “new money” looks are better, Tyler, the Creator says it best: “Whatever bring you that immense joy, do that—that's your luxury.”

Collecting Stanley Cups Like Sneakers

@stanleybrand
While this technically isn’t related to fashion, we’re going to still air out this TikTok trend because it needs to stop as soon as possible. We’re really watching folks fight each other in 2024 over who gets to buy what’s essentially a giant metal reusable 7-Eleven Big Gulp. Trust me, I fully understand how this trend started and can resonate with most people who collect limited-edition items. But let’s keep it a stack here: Stanley Cups are not anything like hyped sneakers, Supreme pieces, or even those stamps your grandparents like collecting. It’s just mind-boggling to see that there are people who are incredibly passionate about collecting what are essentially different colored versions of the exact same metal water bottle. If you ended up buying just one of these because of TikTok, that’s fine, because hydration is important. But for real, I can’t believe we kicked off 2024 with videos of Target shoppers duking it out over a Starbucks x Stanley collaboration. Maybe it’s that supposedly harmless amount of lead found in these bottles getting to these collector’s heads, but we sincerely pray that anyone who’s seriously collecting Stanley Cups like Funko Pops will snap out of it soon.

MSCHF Boots

@complex_sneakers

No one wad feeling the #BigRedBoots during the Sneaker of the Year Panel at #ComplexCon 😂

♬ original sound - Complex Sneakers
@complex_sneakers
If there was one item every single fashion influencer should have passed on, it was MSCHF boots. Collectively, we should have all done what DJ Clark Kent did at ComplexCon last year by tossing them out the second we saw them. And let’s not act like people were seriously wearing these ridiculous shoes. The hype for MSCHF boots was purely fueled by how cartoonish they looked rather than how stylish they were. So after they were introduced, it became used as engagement bait for nearly everyone. Fashion influencers pretended they really “put that shit on” by styling these boots with actual outfits or “get ready with me” videos. And too many people made videos reviewing what it was like to waste $400 on them and wear them seriously. Eventually, one TikToker even made a coffee table out of them, which frankly may have been the most creative piece of content centered around this horrible piece of footwear. After MSCHF ran this boot up two more times by releasing a black colorway (*Opium intensifies*) and a yellow collaboration with Crocs, it felt like the joke ran its course. Hopefully, we won’t ever see a pair of these again post-2023.

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