You do not need to be told that social media is continually growing. You see it yourself everyday. It has been responsible for the growth of influencing as a career path, which is now the aspiration of many. Although it is difficult for young people to become the influencers they see on their screens, they try to be like them as much as they can and this is why influencers have such a huge impact on their lives. From determining the clothing their followers wear to the lifestyle choices they make, influencers hold a lot of power.
All it takes is one viral post, photo or video for a user to gain a following and work their way towards influencer status. Next thing they know they will have fast fashion brands wanting to work with them and they will receive parcels of clothes that they know they will probably wear once and never again. Social media is affiliated with fast fashion brands and clothing haul videos are guaranteed to be successful. However, it is time for influencers to start influencing responsibly and with sustainability in mind.
It is not as simple as boycotting haul videos altogether, as they are a useful tool when it comes to making those watching aware of new, upcoming and sustainable brands. However, it is important for influencers to limit the number of fast fashion clothing hauls they produce. For some, this may be difficult as their platforms are built around them and the majority of users follow them for these types of videos.
They could begin with limiting the number of items shown in the haul and discussing them in greater depth. We want to hear about the quality of the items, we want to see how they really fit and we want their honest opinions - which typically is not the case as influencers are paid to speak positively about these brands to make them money. They need to start being transparent, which is likely to gain them a larger following.
Supporting established or start-up sustainable fashion brands is the way forward. These brands tend to be more innovative in their designs but because fast fashion is all that some consumers have ever known, they are unaware of this. All they ever see is the same items replicated and sold by different companies and it is time for influencers to encourage people to switch up their style and try new things. Influencers themselves are also sheltered from the world of sustainable fashion and it would be great to see them and their following explore sustainability together.
The reason why many social media users believe fast fashion is the only option is because the different avenues of shopping are not widely discussed. Although thrift stores and charity shops can be problematic, they will always be a better alternative to fast fashion. ‘Come thrift shopping with me’ videos are on the rise, but it is important that they do not become a trend and people are shopping there for the right reasons. As it suggests in the name, sustainable fashion needs to be sustained. It is not a problem with a temporary solution, such as influencers posting these types of videos for short while and never again. If influencers feel passionately enough about sustainability, these videos need to be consistently uploaded.
There will never be the perfect influencer, but it is 2020 and things need to change in the social media world. Influencers need to take sustainability into consideration and realise that even the smallest of changes to their social media platforms can make a big difference.