The pressure on the public and especially influencers around the subject of sustainability is getting stronger everyday. Fast fashion and plastic consumption are on everyone’s mind and a lot of bloggers are worrying about being seen in their Instagram Stories, YouTube videos, blogs and Instagram posts with plastic bottles, plastic cups, cheap clothes that are creating fast fashion. The likes of Stacey Dooley’s investigative show for the BBC delving into fast fashion wrecking our planet and the Telegraph’s article on charity shops being inundated with poor quality clothes that they have to send to landfill is terrifying. We need to try our best to make sure that we are not part of this problem.
KEEPING OUR AUDIENCE’S ATTENTION
It seems that to be a successful fashion influencer there is a constant demand for new content, each and every day. We need to be seen as current, follow and create new trends to keep our audiences interested. I have looked at my most popular Instagram posts over the last year and apart from a few “announcement” images my posts with new, current and exciting fashion pieces always rank most popular. These posts excite people, they want to know where you got that items from and in turn are boosting our engagement rate which we all know is imperative right now.
Most fashion bloggers use affiliate links through the likes of Reward Style, Shop Style Collective and SkimLinks. Although, for myself, and many other bloggers, the profits we gain from these affiliate links are pocket money and not reaching salary goals, every penny helps so we are obviously going to use affiliate links. If we are posting old clothes that are no longer stocked, we can not link them and therefore make no money from a post which is not a paid collaboration.
The Telegraph states this sad fact, “the rise of fast fashion, where t-shirts are sold for just £2 and dresses for £5, means clothes are worn once then thrown away, where they end up in landfill…Mrs Creagh told The Telegraph: “Charity shops can’t be the dumping ground for the high street’s dirty little secret – much of what they take back they can’t sell because of the quality and it’s very difficult to recycle the fibres.”.
So, what are us fashion bloggers meant to do in staying sustainable and earning a living?
HOW CAN WE COMBAT THIS PROBLEM?
The best way, I personally, can think of to help reduce our speedy consumption of buying clothes all the time is to work our blogging lives in the same way stylists do and always have done. Stylists get in touch with PR when they need items for shoots, they call in what they need and pack it up and send it back to the PR or brand after the shoot. The PR and their client gets current clothes, the brand and PR get the coverage they are after and free images to help promote their brand.
There are problems with this though. The reason the public have turned to bloggers over magazines is because bloggers are more “real”. We wear what we want, what we love and what we actually own and have spent our money on. If we are just borrowing clothes from brands and PR companies then we don’t actually own the item, we may not love it enough to spend our hard earned cash on the item so why should our audience part with their money? If we used this stylists lifestyle then would we effectively just be unpaid models for those brands creating our own editorial magazine style shoot but in a street style way?
THE RETURNS CULTURE
Back in August, the Daily Mail wrote an article which of course created backlash at the blogging community once again. They wrote about how bloggers and the public are buying clothes, wearing them once for the Instagram shot, then sending them back. Apart from cheating your audience with clothes that you are pretending to “love and own” you are actually doing harm to the environment with the constant ordering and returns process. Think of all those plastic bags that your online orders come in, think of the fumes of the vehicles getting your parcel to you.
The reality is, to be absolutely perfect and not harm our environment we are going to turn ourselves into a stress bucket. We all need to be a little more conscious with our purchases, love our clothes until they are falling apart and then sew them back together. Let’s not lose the love of fashion but let’s also love and respect our planet at the same time.