It’s first thing in the morning. You’re lying in bed scrolling through Instagram (you totally meant to meditate first but hey, life happens). An influencer you’ve been following forever is promoting her latest IGTV so you tap into it and ooooh... it’s a haul! You watch as she pulls out a slew of shiny new pieces and one by one tells you how much you need them in your life. You weren’t really thinking about knee high boots but now that she’s shown you how great they look with a skirt you can’t seem to get them out of your mind. Actually, now that she’s mentioned the season changing, you do kinda feel like you need some new clothes…
If you’ve experienced the above, you’re not alone. The very definition of an influencer is “a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service” so actually, that influencer is kinda just doing her job well.
These days, you’d be hard-pressed to scroll through any social media platform for more than a few minutes without encountering a haul. You’ll see influencer after influencer proudly displaying this month’s mountain of PR packages, new items entering their wardrobe at an exponential rate… and most likely leaving it at the very same speed. And here lies the issue. What happens when this month’s haul of trendy sweater vests is discarded in favour of next month’s graphic hoodies.
Globally, we’re buying more clothes and wearing them less than ever, consuming 400% more than we were just two decades ago. The volume of clothing items ending up in landfill is a total catastrophe. There are consequences to our actions, and that fast fashion item isn’t so fast to degrade in landfill as it is fast to disappear from our lives… not to mention the people and resources that need to be exploited in order to create these low cost pieces. Talk about a fashion disaster.
We decided to take this whole influencer conversation to our community, and here’s what we found: 93% of you think influencers encourage excess consumerism, and 86% of you don’t trust most influencers. Whoa.
Here’s some things you want to see change about influencer culture:
- More regulations around disclosing sponsored posts.
- Influencers using their platforms to advocate for the environment and social causes.
- Normalising rewearing outfits.
- More honestly and realness.
And here’s some ways you think brands could approach influencer marketing differently:
- Send less product or don’t send any at all.
- Ask the influencer if they would genuinely wear the item before sending.
- Partner with more diverse influencers and those who are transparent and values-aligned.
- Use real customers to promote products.
We are still of the belief that influencers can be super valuable, especially those who are values-aligned. There’s nothing we love to see more than an influencer using their platform to encourage slow fashion or ethically and sustainably focused brands. Influencers can indeed be forces for change, and if that change is a change for good we are 100% here for it.
Having these conversations with our community has completely opened our eyes and revealed a whole new side of transparency that other brands aren’t talking about.
We’ve been having a lot of tough conversations around TWOOBS HQ lately on, well, lots of topics, but when it comes to how we’ll work with influencers going forward, these are some commitments we’ve recently made:
- We’ve changed the way we offer to gift product. We first ask if they like our shoes and would genuinely wear them multiple times, or wait for influencers who love our brand to approach us. Even if we have an influencer’s address on file, we will never send without asking.
- We don’t gift in excess - we have never and will never send our entire collection to an influencer. We always ask them to choose their favourite style.
- We are super selective about who we work with. We will only work with people who are values-aligned.
- Whilst we do send influencers product, we don’t currently pay them to talk about it. We have in the past and most likely will again in the future, but this is just where we're at right now.
Just like brands should work with influencers who are values aligned, you too can choose to follow influencers who support you to make more sustainable choices. There are some really amazing people online promoting slow fashion, some of our faves include: @yemagz, @danni___duncan, @gabrielasage, @n.ann.thrift, @abbyontheinternet and @ajabarber. Our hope for the future is that fashion’s most influential will no longer be promoting fast fashion, and at last our feeds will be filled with ethical brands, thrift hauls, and upcycling, with rewearing pieces 100s of times the new norm.
Are you with us?
Bianca Wittner, TWOOBS PR & Social Media Coordinator