Positive Influence: How Can Fashion Influencers Inspire Sustainability?
It means focusing on the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.
What is sustainable fashion?
Sustainable fashion refers to designed, manufactured, distributed, and used clothing in environmentally friendly ways.
Why is most of the fashion today NOT sustainable？
Unfortunately, today's dominant 'fast fashion' refers to clothing that's intentionally designed to be consumed quickly at low prices, leading shoppers to view clothes as disposable, wearing them just a few times before moving on to newer and trendier clothes. In contrast to traditional fashion houses that only have a few seasonal collections per year, fast fashion brands may churn out as many as one new collection per week (or more) in efforts to drive continuous, mindless consumption.
Why is it essential for the fashion industry to invest in sustainability?
Environmental concerns are increasingly growing, mostly with young consumers. Millennials spend more money on companies that care for the environment and make products that support their eco-friendly lifestyle.
"Harvard Business Review found that products marketed as sustainable grew 5.6 times faster than those that were not. "
Brand growth depends on it because environmentally-conscious consumers worldwide exercise their power to demand change through the products they buy.
"A 2015 Nielsen Sustainability Report concluded that 73% of global Millennials are willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings - up from 50% in 20142."
How can influencers bring brands and consumers together to promote sustainability?
More than ever, consumers are looking to set their purchases with their values, and they will distance themselves from brands that fail to embrace true sustainability. Influencers seem to play a huge role in consumer behaviors when it comes to sustainability. There is no better place to influence consumers on sustainable choices than social media, with influencers playing the trusted communicator for brands. There are a few ways to inspire sustainability in your communities.
1. Set an example by wearing sustainable materials.
Influencers can lead by example in day-to-day life to show commitment by purchasing clothes made from natural/organic materials, recycled, up-cycled, or deadstock materials, eco-friendly dyes, vegan and zero or low-waste designs. There are quite a few good examples influencers have set.
Daria Andronescu - @dariaandronescu
Daria is a YouTuber and capsule wardrobe queen on a mission to turn every closet into a Wonder Wardrobe - a unique and sustainable one. At the heart of Wonder Wardrobe, it desires to help people be more sustainable with their clothing choices. Daria welcomes the increasing awareness about sustainability in fashion, but she remains skeptical about how committed big brands are.
Carmen Jenny - @carmitive
As a digital editor of Harper's BAZAAR Germany, Carmen Jenny believes that we should be using fashion as a voice for sustainability and conscious consumerism. She posts about how to feel good on your ethical fashion journey, with practical tips for styling, second-hand shopping, slow fashion, and eco-friendly materials.
Marina Testino - @marinatestino
New York-based Marina is nothing short of fashion royalty, and she uses her influence for the good: fashion activist. In her #OneDressToImpress project, she wore the same red suit every day for two months to bring awareness to fashion consumerism and its negative impact on the environment. She then started with #CarryOnSummer, in which she traveled through Europe with only one carry-on.
2. Partner with brands committed to protecting the environment.
Influencer partnerships with brands are closely watched. Consumers expect transparent and authentic engagement from both the brands they shop from and the influencers they follow. One demographic more than any other fits this consumer profile, and that is Millennials and Gen Z. Influencers can partner with brands who see eye to eye on sustainability. This will generate authentic content and start a ripple effect that flows into the feeds of like-minded followers.
Everlane mixes sustainability with transparency by sharing with customers the exact breakdown of the cost of each item, and showing the factories where garments are made. Everlane also recently released a line of clothing made from recycled plastic bottles and other reused materials.
Best known as a direct-to-consumer and science-based textile company, PANGAIA produces clothing like flower down-filled jackets and slippers, upcycled hoodies, dresses, and sneakers. PANGAIA frequently uses earth-grown materials like discarded grape skins and eucalyptus pulp, with each of the dyes used in its pieces created with a recycled water system.
Every aspect of Eileen Fisher's design and manufacturing process is built to be as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible, from the materials used to the ethical treatment of the workers who sew the pieces. The company avoids air shipping and uses creative processes to limit fabric waste. Eileen Fisher buys back used items to recycle into new garments or turn them into art if they can't be resold.
3. Educate followers on how to be part of sustainable fashion in daily life.
Instead of purchasing fast fashion that is cheap and meant to be thrown away quickly, consumers can be more conscious of their purchase decisions. Encourage your community to buy second-hand clothing, do clothing swaps, and prolong the life cycle of clothes via mending and tailoring. As well, guide and introduce your followers to platforms like eBay, Depop, The RealReal, Tradesy, Etsy, ASOS Marketplace, and ThredUp. Lastly, engage your community with creative series such as "Dye your fabric at home with natural dyes" workshops to show how easy and affordable it can be to combine nature and fashion.
Last Few Notes
Influencers have a big say and power over the fashion industry. No pressure, but you can change lots of things today to inspire sustainability through the fashion world. Voila is committed to sustainability and has partnered with brands, such as J.ING to work with influencers. Join the Voila community today to inspire and create a change in the fashion industry. All because you have a say, and you are powerful.