With the fashion industry being labeled as one of the most wasteful industries it comes as no shock that people are starting to take notice of the effects it is having on the planet. BBC documentary 'Stacey Dooley Investigates Fashion's Dirty Secrets', explores the shocking environmental impact caused by an insatiable appetite for cheap clothing which unsurprisingly caused a stir amongst fashion influencers and fast fashion brands. Today we look at what a sustainable fashion influencer is and which brands are tackling the issue head-on.
Of course, there are influencers that dedicate their platform to showing their audience how more sustainably. Here at ZINE have over 50,000 influencers and our sustainable influencers range from those promoting zero-waste to having a plastic-free policy.
What does sustainable fashion mean?
Sustainable fashion involves thinking about how we produce and consume our clothes and how much wastage do we encounter and how much damage we do to our world as a result. Countries like Sweden are forward-thinking in their ethical fashion habits. Swedish residents are encouraged to reuse or recycle their old clothes.
Mature fashion brands even have directors of sustainability to work out more efficient ways to realign their business with the models of a sustainable pipeline from production to sales.
The ultimate aim for sustainable fashion would be to create clothes while also having a Zero Waste lifestyle. The Zero Waste lifestyle involves reusing old clothing, giving them away to those less fortunate or turning them into something completely new.
What is slow fashion movement?
The slow fashion movement acts as a condensed version of the entire sustainable fashion movement. Slow fashion gets us to think consciously about how we consume and create clothes and doing so with integrity. When you start to take into account the social and environment you have, you start to take a responsible fashion approach to what you wear and take pride with knowing you're wearing clothes that are well made and long-lasting.
The slow fashion movement is where brands can have the biggest impact. And fashion influencers too. When clothing manufacturers start creating fewer clothes, it forces us to focus on the clothes we do have, take better care of them and think about the environment.
But in order for this to happen, we need to have a mindset shift where we start to think about sustainable fashion in a new way. That's where the new wave of sustainable ethical fashion bloggers come into play. Their influence on social media is a great way to spread the word and messaging of a sustainable lifestyle.
Seven forms of sustainable fashion for fashion bloggers and fashion brands
A handy diagram by GreenStrategy outlines the seven forms of sustainable fashion that brands can implement and fashion bloggers can advocate for.
The seven forms of sustainable fashion are:
1. High quality and timeless design
2. Garments should be manufactured on demand or custom-made
3. Garments should be made in an environmentally friendly manner
4. Consideration of various ethical aspects should be made
5. Garments should be used long-term with good care
6. When a product is no longer desired, it should be handed in to a secondhand shop, donated to charity or handed over to friends, or relatives.
7. Make use of thrifting and buy garments second hand or vintage
Fashion brands can start implementing these ideas through their business and when partnered with fashion bloggers, they're able to widen their reach. Think about it. If a fashion blogger has 1,000,000 followers who all care about ethical fashion when the influencer talks about your brand, your entire bottom line will increase and you'll be able to spread the ethical fashion movement even further.
Sustainable fashion influencers
One of our influencers Emma Ross, actually co-founded #plasticfreeparent which is a social campaign on Instagram encouraging her followers to go plastic free. She shares blog posts on the best ways to easily incorporate sustainable living into everyday life. We recommend checking out her recent post 'The Ultimate Sustainable Guide To Festive Season' for inspiration.
It is, however, hard to expect fashion influencers who make their living by showing their followers the latest trends and how to style them to completely stop their buying habits. Talk is generating in the influencersphere that is encouraging an education in mass consumption & waste. @josieldn, recently uploaded a YouTube video 'How To Be Eco-Chic' in which she said: "I may not have spoken that much about sustainability before, but I don't think people should be made to feel guilty about not being aware in the past". Which shows just how important education of small changes consumers can make in their everyday life that will have a huge impact in return.
Influencer, @emmahill, always focuses heavily on the materials used in the clothes she purchases often avoiding less sustainable mixes such as viscose and polyester. Emma is also a big advocate for investment pieces in your wardrobe and showing multiple ways you can style up one piece such as a blazer.
Re-selling is also a huge trend with the likes of depop taking the fashion world by storm, blogger sales are now becoming hugely popular. Who wouldn't want to browse the wardrobe of their favourite influencer? These small steps are all helping towards a sustainable fashion future, and awareness is key.
Alden Wicker is an ethical writer with a strong focus on sustainable fashion. She's the editor-in-chief of the blog EcoCult, a science-based blog that looks at sustainable fashion in more depth.
Alden also founded a group called Ethical Writers and Creatives that brings together other influencers and ethical writers who care about issues of sustainability.
Dominique Drakeford is the founder of MelaninASS a platform that tries to highlight communities of color within the industry of sustainable fashion.
Aditi Mayer is a strong believer in sustainable fashion and social justice. Aditi's Instagram is her hub to share her love of sustainable fashion and promotes its messaging.
Ethical fashion brands
Sustainable fashion brands are becoming more well known, Sammi from @samanthamariaoffical recently filmed an ethical brand haul featuring the likes of Arket and Nobody's Child which shows it doesn't have to break the bank.
Blogger favourite, Reformation put sustainability at the core of everything they do. They work covetable sustainable, vintage and dead-stock fabrics into every collection reusing and eliminating waste where possible. This is all listed in the product description so their consumers are educated from the offset. Not only fo Reformation recycle 75% of their waste, they also source 100% of their energy from wind power suppliers.
Gucci is everywhere at the moment and with Millennials accounting for over 50% of their sales, they're prioritising this demographic and their commitment to social values. They have recently introduced a purpose-driven, environmentally progressive program called Gucci Equilibrium. They have a microsite which reports the company's CSR policies, environmental impact, employee satisfaction and structural innovations. These efforts give Gucci the accountability that their consumers sought after.
These brands are redefining luxury with Millennials by keeping fashion sustainability in mind, with a Neilson Study in 2015 finding that they are more likely to spend more with sustainability at the forefront. It's now influencers chance to help push this into both an environmental and more fruitful future.
Join over 50,000 influencers in ZINE's database accelerating their career by receiving brand collaboration requests straight to their inbox.
I'm Influencer Marketing Executive here at ZINE, where I manage communications of over 50,000 influencers. I'm a self-confessed coffee and shopping addict that's happiest when in the sun.