What Style Influencers Should Know About Fast Fashion
Trust is the foundation of brand loyalty. It eliminates the need for clickbait, increases brand longevity, and turns people from mere “followers” into an actual community. This is part of Remake‘s winning formula. The non-profit and advocacy organization is dedicated to ending fast fashion (during Earth Month and beyond) with everyone’s help, including content creators who influence our shopping habits.
“It’s all about continuing that love affair with fashion but in a way that links with our values,” said founder Ayesha Barenblat during BlogHer Planet. “Suddenly, everyone is making all products sustainable, so it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s fake…When Remake says this is a truly sustainable brand, it is.”
So what exactly is fast fashion? Barenblat compared it to fast food. “It was sold to us as this vision of something cheap, easy, and convenient. How can I give you a knock off version that’s cheap and still aesthetically beautiful? The quality may not be there but I can get it to you quickly for the Instagram photo.”
These are the clothes that gain popularity for their proximity to luxury and thus get more real estate in #OOTDs than, say, a thrift store find or something sustainable. But like fast food, which we eventually discovered was bad for our health, the implications of fast fashion have also been exposed.
According to Barenblat, the world produces around 100 million units of clothes per year and seven out of every 10 units end up burned or in a landfill. “The thing that keeps me going in this work is the gender justice component. The only way for clothes to cost less than our favorite cup of coffee is to exploit women of color,” she added. “Eighty percent of the people who make our clothes happen to be Black and Brown women, whether in downtown LA or around the world.” Though their work makes our shopping more convenient, their wages shrink as demand grows.
“Thinking about environmentalism from an intersectional standpoint, the same communities that are giving us cotton and water in Bangladesh and Ghana are the same communities where we end up dumping our fashion.” And during COVID-19, the damage has only increased due to the face mask demand. And we’ve barely talked about the environmental implications since the micro-plastics used in fast fashion clothes often end up in the ocean.
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The outlook is bleak for sure, but if you’re a fashion-centric content creator, there are a couple of ways you can be sustainable without sacrificing style. First, challenge yourself to create content that showcases your creativity as opposed to working around whatever the latest trend is. For example, instead of buying a new outfit, try resuing what’s already in your closet to dream up unique combinations. You could also collaborate with local brands (bonus points if they’re Black- and/or woman-owned!) that create responsibly.
And perhaps the easiest tactic is to read sites like Remake who have brand directories you can consult if you want to literally wear your values.
“[Fashion] is a way to connect with how we feel internally. What I really wanted was to create a platform that was interactive and engaging and help people understand the underbelly of fashion, the issues behind it but not in a doom gloom sort of way,” said Barenblat. “We are really a brand of hope and inspiration.”
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