Opinion: Influencers Taking Accountability
As more recent breaking news comes to light on the damaging effects of climate change, unquestionably, we cannot help but turn to look at the fast-fashion industry and its frivolous attempt to help save our dying planet.
This week the catastrophic results of climate change were brought to our attention, as the Financial Times reported on the unliveable conditions, that three billion people could be experiencing by 2070. Not only could this be a grueling reality for many, but, the BBC have also announced that the timeline to save the earth has shrunk from twelve years to eighteen months.
With the lives of millions in jeopardy then, it is offensive how most influencers and the online industry continue to turn a blind eye. As Instagram and TikTok continue to influence billions of people collectively, I believe it is time for the industry to be held accountable for their contribution towards global warming.
I am conscious of the constant flow of bad news through the channel of social-media, and how it has desensitised many people when it comes to the state of our planet. However, influencers that aren’t already doing so, need to use their influential power to guide their audiences to a greener life.
The phenomenon of influencer culture first gathered its pace during the YouTube era in 2009. Since then, the industry has seeped over to various online platforms, and in 2010 the creation of Instagram saw the beginning of the industry as we know it today.
What is now considered a full-time job, influencing is said to have an escalating impact on consumer behaviour. “It is true that 49% of consumers seek guidance from social media influencers before making a buying decision,” as reported by Clootrack.
Across the globe, influencers like Kylie Jenner, Addison Rae and Molly-Mae Hague have the ability to sell products to millions of mainly young and impressionable people.
Just recently the Love Island star who cracked America, Molly-Mae, was announced as PrettyLittleThing’s new creative director.
With a generous 6.2 million followers on Instagram, Molly-Mae has garnered a relationship with the fashion retailer over the years of her online presence.
The clothing company is estimated to revenue around $95.8 million a year, which is ironic as most of their clothing is “made of 95% polyester” – a non-renewable, synthetic fibre.
Influencers like Molly-Mae not only endorse companies like PrettyLittleThing, but they also encourage excessive buying of their clothes and items. In addition to this, the company themselves promote toxic consumer habits, with their exceptionally low prices and constant sales.
Furthermore, TikTok reveals an even more terrifying reality on the over consumption of fast fashion. Influencers are continuously updating their following on their buying habits and creating clothing haul videos for content. The hashtag #plthaul has garnered 135.7 million views.
However, the videoing platform seems to be showcasing a duality. More creators are fighting influencers and their excessive ‘clothing haul’ videos, as ‘#SustainableFashion’ and ‘#ClimateChange’ were trending this week.
This is a clear step in the right direction, and more sustainable influencers need to be leading the way on social media.
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