TikTok and Online Searches Fuel the Bow Craze
In the year 2023, the bow trend reached its peak, dominating everything from hair and clothes to nails, technology, and beauty. TikTok alone has seen over 1 billion views of the #bows hashtag, indicating the immense popularity of this trend. High street bellwether John Lewis reported a quadruple increase in online searches for “pink ribbon.” It seems that people can’t get enough of bows and are eager to incorporate them into their outfits and everyday objects.
From Fashion Weeks to Celebrity Looks
The bow trend has not only taken over social media but has also made its mark on the fashion industry. Designers like Miu Miu, Simone Rocha, Sinead Gorey, Commes des Garcons, Selkie, Sandy Liang, Max Mara, and Moschino, among many others, showcased bow-adorned collections during both the autumn/winter 2023 and spring/summer 2024 fashion weeks. Celebrities like Olivia Roderigo, Gen Z mega star, and Blackpink’s Jennie have embraced the bow trend, frequently seen wearing bow accessories in their hair and outfits.
The Symbolism of Bows
Although historically used as a utilitarian accessory, bows have evolved into a symbol of femininity and playfulness. Inspired by figures like Marie Antoinette, who famously spent a fortune on hair ribbons, bows have become an expression of girlhood and coquettishness. In a year where “girlhood” trends, such as Barbiecore and the Eras Tour, were prevalent, the bow trend fits perfectly into the aesthetic.
The Bow Tax and the Critiques
As with any viral trend, there are critiques and commercial co-option. Some argue that the bow trend infantilizes women’s interests and reinforces stereotypes. Additionally, The Cut published an article highlighting the “Bow Tax” phenomenon, where identical items with the addition of a bow come at a significantly higher price. This commercial exploitation raises questions about the authenticity of the trend and its underlying messages.
Is it Time to Move On?
Considering the bow trend’s saturation and the potential pitfalls of commercialization, many are questioning whether it’s time to leave bows behind in the coming year. While some see bows as a reclamation of girlhood and a source of confidence, others believe it has devolved into an infantilization of women’s interests. Perhaps it’s time to reflect on the bow trend’s impact and consider new avenues for personal expression.