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  • Writer's pictureFazal Kaur

"Dressed to impress"

Are Instagram influencers promoting consumption of fast fashion? Well, we know that social media has a globalised impact in the digitalised world that prevails today. Therefore, it is very relevant for companies and businesses to have the necessary tools to use this impact for their benefit - of course, taking the safeguards required to avoid damaging the brand reputation. Undoubtedly, many of us can agree that social networks can become a double-edged sword.

Statista 2020 reports that the UK Fashion market is expected to grow at a 1.6% CAGR every year, up to 2025, and the current largest segment is women's apparel with a market value of $43,972m.

This shows that the demand for clothing and shoes is on the rise. However, this is not a surprise considering fast fashion brands such as Zara and H&M are in the top 4 most valuable brands worldwide. These brands offer unsustainable apparel that meets current fashion trends, at low prices.

With the rise of social media strategies in digital marketing for promotion (especially in SME's), fast fashion has been democratised, and this issue of fashion on pollution is getting overlooked.

Influencer marketing has grown into a hot trend as it is providing real results – brands make an average of $6 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing. Influencers are on social platforms (although they differ by content), building meaningful relationships with their followers, via their knowledge and expertise. By winning over the trust of their followers, they can have an impact on their purchasing decisions, leading to sales for businesses.

To understand the use of Instagram as an influential marketing tool, it is necessary to realise that Instagram has seen the rise of both micro and macro influencers - as there are different benefits of each. Both allowing companies to reach the consumer more quickly, economically, directly, and efficiently - ultimately increasing engagement and consumer retention.

Although this has a significantly positive impact on business, it can be interpreted that influencers have caused the rise in fast fashion due to their individual "appearances" and "lifestyles". They portray a lifestyle standard which cannot be upheld by sustainable fashion due to their depiction of new trends in every post, and regularly not wearing something very similar twice. So as consumers are surrounded by many influencers daily, this initiates a desire to portray themselves in a similar manner and overlook the consequences of their buyer behaviour.

How can you fight fast fashion?

One of the most effective and practical ways to support sustainable fashion is by shopping vintage (and charity) and urging others to do the same. By purchasing vintage, individuals can delay the quick design cycle by reusing garments that have just been made and adored, along these lines diminishing interest in the production of new, very good quality style. Rather than discarding the latest fashion clothes, vintage purchases urge individuals to search for energising pearls that are unfamiliar to them; however, they have been pre-cherished.

Donating your clothes is also a great way of recycling.

You buy in less quantity and buy better quality clothes. This means you get more use out of an item, as a £30 item will probably last longer than a £7 item.

The world, in general, is becoming more aware of the fast fashion issue and many small businesses have emerged from this finding sustainability as their USP. "Eco", "organic" and "conscious" lines will soon become your best friends.

Finally, stop comparing your real life to online lifestyles. Social media is a facade many cannot keep up with. What truly matters is your confidence in what you wear.

Nevertheless, there will be more and more brands that use influencers in their marketing campaigns due to the benefits they obtain they offset the outlay it entails. This raises the question whether sustainable fashion is near enough impossible to attain due to Instagram influence?

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