I've always considered simply following fashion trends as ironically antithetical to the very idea of fashion itself. Fashion is about making a statement. By statement, I mean that there's been consideration and thinking behind your choices. You haven't blindly followed the crowd (which doesn't involve any thinking at all). It doesn't need to be a loud statement either - it can be subtle and subdued.
And yet, it's hard to swim against the currents of today's fashion trends. If your peers are following the crowd, then it's odd if you don't follow your peers. Sure, I get the idea of fashion as a means to identifying with a group. That's perhaps the one concession I would make here. There's a certain uniformity required to dressing up like a punk or a mod where the statement is along the lines of "I belong to this group". However, this is 2018, not the 70s. These days, it's a lot more about individuality, and I think that it's a lot easier these days to form your own individual tastes and not be brow-beaten into belonging to one of three or four fashion-related groups.
Therefore, I would suggest that the fashion scene has never been stronger - especially because you can buy your clothing and accessories from so many different sources now, thanks to the internet. It's also never been cheaper - the deals you can find on the likes of eBay and other websites mean that you can make your fashion statement for less and less money as the internet establishes itself.
And how to create your own fashion statement? Ahh, well there is no quick answer here. You must just follow your instincts. Don't listen to your friends or the media. Follow your own internal fashion compass. You see, when you do find your fashion statement, it will be yours alone. THAT is what it's all about - you've created your unique look, and you'll wear it well!