There are many fashion influencers on Instagram, but very few care about the planet!
We all agree that even before COVID-19, the need for a change in fashion was more than obvious.
Also, we agreed that if we find a way to incorporate ethics and sustainability at the core of fashion, we can expect better socio-economic and environmental results.
But how will this change manifest?
What’s going to happen next?
And who to ask these questions best than fashion influencers?
These social influencers are constantly in touch with consumers, the industry, and all the changes happening around us.
And by using the power of social media, they have initiated a new type of political fashion market.
In fact, 71 per cent of people are more likely to buy based on the recommendation of an influencer.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 fashion influencers changing the face of fashion for good.
1. Venetia La Manna
According to her own description, Venetia is a woman on a ‘slow fashion’ mission.
Judging by her work, she certainly lives up to that claim.
An active campaigner, you’re most likely to find Venetia on the front line at fashion protests fighting companies to change their unethical policies.
According to Venetia, many brands have “hundreds of ‘new in’ items on their website every single day”.
Moreover, these brands are “actively encouraging users to split their payments into parts so they can sell more products”.
Q: Venetia, what is it you do you for fashion and what’s coming in the next five years?
A: Fashion is a multifaceted construct, that works like a chain.
- I try as much as I can to bring awareness to designers, but also to existing fashion blogs.
- Then, the designers I advice work only with fashion manufacturer that have ‘fashion sustainability ‘awareness.
- Finally, I support sustainable fashion products at a premium price. The price is critical as it forces the consumer to avoid buying too many garments at a time and ending up throwing them away, sometimes unused.
In five years the ‘big boys’ like Zara & H&M will still be there.
But the change for a more sustainable fashion ladscape will come from the many startups out there designing and innovating at the intersection of fashion, innovation, and sustainability.
2. Aja Barber
A South African native now living in London, Aja has become a critical part of the sustainable fashion movement here in the UK.
Fighting for inclusivity and intersectional feminism, Aja is definitely a voice any conscious consumer should listen to.
Aja subjects often cover fashion, feminism, race, culture and trends.
But, in particular, Aja is obsessed with the industry’s carbon footprint and how it links to greed and colonisation.
Aja’s conversations intersect beautifully, and the more you listen to her the more you understand that fashion has many pages still unexplored.
Q: Aja, what’s your take on the subject of sustainable fashion, where we are now, and what can we do to make it better?
A: Many of us buy too much because that’s how we’ve been conditioned by media. It is a false construct, a narrative misleading the general public perception.
We’ve become a society which treats our possessions like they’re disposable.
I often ask myself what would an alien race say if they visit us and find the horrors of fast fashion? All this non-biodegradable shit…Wouldn’t they think we’ve shopped ourselves to death?
My purchases are mostly second hand for that reason. I also champion independent designers, indie designers, asking to be more careful with the materials they choose, to be more inclusive (plus sizes … for every brand).
I often cover conscious designers I find online so if you watch my Insta stories you can catch snippets of super cool stuff as I love to share it with you as well.
3. Bianca Valle
Sartorially blessed and poignantly vocal in equal measure, Bianca Valle has spoken at length about the industry’s need to shut down harmful production loops.
“If all brands would use non-toxic dyes, biodegradable fabrics, and scraps to make new clothes, we could make a massive positive impact.”
Moreover, according to Bianca, this is just the surface of what we could potentially achieve with such little changes.
Q: Bianca, what do you think is next for the fashion industry and why?
A: For once, I would love to see a boom in the use of natural fabrics such as organic cotton in the fashion industry.
Not only does organic cotton use 71 per cent less water than conventional cotton, but it also doesn’t pollute the water with harmful chemicals and toxins.
All-natural materials are so much better for the environment.
I also think that the fashion industry and regulators will step it up a notch and set new directions.
As a direct result, sustainable fashion will become mainstream, therefore more affordable for the average fashion buyer.
4. Shanny Buckley
Giving a voice to the mid-sized women the world-over, Chicago-based Shanny defines her Instagram account as “an exploration of ethical clothing as a not-quite-plus-size person.”
Shanny is one of the most loved pathfinders of the new inclusive and ethical fashion era.
Follow Shanny to discover new inclusive fashion brands that care about all body sizes.
Moreover, Shanny’s Instagram account is the best place to learn from her excellent off-duty style inspiration.
Q: Shanny, in your eyes, what’s the path to more sustainable fashion industry?
A: Sustainable fashion is already here, and we need to embrace it. But, there’s no real sustainability without inclusivity!
However, from the global fashion market flooded by so many fast-fashion brands – among which, I must admit, many have applaudable initiatives of recycling – only a handful are body inclusive or care about.
Making the world a better place can become tricky at times. That’s why I keep saying that only together we can make this world a better place.
5. Clare Press
Clare Press is the presenter of ‘The Wardrobe Crisis’ an excellent podcast, where she interviews guests about fashion, culture, sustainability, ethics, activism, and the environment.
Claire is also the first Vogue Sustainability Editor, author of ‘Rise & Resist’ and ‘How to Change the World’ life-changing books centred around activism and fashion, and a Global Ambassador for ‘Make Fashion Circular.’
Simply put, Claire is a top expert/influencer in sustainable fashion from whom you can learn a lot.
Q: Clare, looking at the guests you had on your podcast to date, you must have a strong understanding of where the industry is going?
A: Things are changing fast. The path to a more sustainable fashion industry comprises several steps and that’s exactly what we are doing on our podcast.
We have to address all issues impacting the fashion industry right now: the fair treatment of garment workers, the global climate change, the reckless issue of plastic pollution, animal welfare and so on.
The simple fact we’re doing this it shows that a change is taking place. Moreover, after speaking with so many key players in the fashion landscape, I believe in a brighter future for the fashion industry.
In the years to come, more people will wake up and realise that the Earth’s resources aren’t endless.
6. Celine Semaan
Celine is the CEO of @theslowfactory, a startup raising awareness on recycling and the objects ending up on our landfills.
A frequent writer for the likes of The Cut, Celine’s eloquent take on social and environmental issues continue to impress.
Q: Celine, what’s happening with the world of fashion right now and where are we going to end up if nothing changes?
A: Everything is connected. Fashion with nature, people, animals.
If we all, designers, consumers, retailers do not reconsider the materials we use and buy the results could be dramatic.
For a durable, sustainable change, Fashion needs to take a 20-year break from harvesting any crops that aren’t regenerative.
Regenerative agriculture refers to methods that preserve and improve biodiversity in the soil, which then leads to higher yields and a greater amount of carbon drawn into the earth from the atmosphere.
Because we’ve engaged in agricultural models that were degenerative for so long, with pesticides and other methods, the world is having another 60 years of topsoil before we run out of resources.
The existing model of agriculture has led to barren, nutrient-stripped land, which could contribute to greater food insecurity in the future.
That’s why the fashion industry needs to give the earth a break.
Plus, we also have so much available—we need to learn how to use things we already have.
7. Marina Testino
A graduate of The New School’s Parsons School of Design, Marina Testino has worked with international fashion and beauty houses such as Chanel, POLO Ralph Lauren, Rag & Bone and Free People.
Her fashion coverage and eye-popping digital campaigns have been featured in Vanity Fair, WWD, Vogue and CR Fashion Book.
Q: Marina, tell us about the secret world of fashion. What is it that we do not see and yet, it impacts the world around us on a grand scale?
A: I’ve realised that the old saying, ‘what you don’t know can’t hurt you’ is not true.
Right now, there are about 5.25 trillion tonnes of plastic in our oceans.
A third of those come from synthetic fibres, often used in clothing.
If the current rate of plastic pollution continues, by 2050 there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
What we don’t see or don’t know is hurting us and our environment. And that’s the same with micro-plastics.
We’ve all seen the disturbing images of plastics clogging our shorelines.
They’ve made us more aware of how plastics are harming our oceans and marine life, and thankfully, people are beginning to act.
But the naked truth is that we are still harming the oceans without knowing, in ways that we can’t even see.
8. Lauren Singer
Lauren Singer is an environmental activist, entrepreneur, and blogger, known for her blog ‘Trash is for Tossers.’
Via the platform, Lauren has been teaching her followers how to achieve a more sustainable lifestyle.
It all revolves around the idea of showing them that living a low or zero waste lifestyle can be cost-effective, accessible, and fun!
Also, as the founder of Package Free, Lauren is on a mission to make the world less trashy by offering products that help you reduce waste daily.
Q: Lauren, as an influencer pushing for a zero-waste lifestyle, what’s your take on what’s next for sustainable fashion?
A: If there’s anything that has an amazingly positive impact on the planet, it’s composting.
Most people think that if they throw food into a landfill it’s OK because it will “biodegrade“. That’s not the case.
Food breaks down using aerobic digestion, or digestion with oxygen. However, in landfills, there is a lack of oxygen which results in anaerobic digestion. The same with discarded fashion.
Anaerobic decomposition releases methane, which is a greenhouse gas with more damaging effects than carbon dioxide over the timeframe.
So if you want to prevent global warming in a relatively simple way, composting is the way to go!
9. Aditi Mayer
When it comes to sustainable fashion, Aditi is a fresh force pushing for an inclusive and intersectional movement.
Frustrated with the lack of representation and intersectionality within the sustainability movement, Aditi created her own digital space that looked at sustainability with an eye that was equally curious, curatorial, and critical.
Ever since, Aditi has become a frequent speaker on topics of such as social and environmental justice in fashion, minority representation, responsible storytelling and more.
Q: Aditi, as a fashion influencer, what’s your take on the existing situation and also, what’s next?
A: Sustainable fashion is on the rise and every year companies are pushing out new ideas of what the industry will look like in 2025.
However, for the fashion industry to become sustainable, it must be first sustainable from a consumer and social perspective and only then engage in innovation and retail tech.
In the last year, I began looking for a more tangible way to build a relationship with the environment. Just like that, fashion must pay attention to the mini localised systems.
Regenerative fashion sequestering carbon. What does an accessible reconnection to the Earth look like for you?
10. Dominique Drakeford
Co-founder of Sustainable Brooklyn, over the past 10+ years, Dominique has been dedicating her life to redefining and breathing new life into the ideology of sustainability, to embody transformative justice and creative innovation.
Featured in Elle Magazine, Teen Vogue, BoF, The Cut, Fashionista, Green American Magazine, and Essence, Dominique is covering the intersections of sustainability and style to perfection, seeking “to heal our relationship to the Earth” and spark equitable change for economic wellbeing.
Q: Dominique, taking a leaf from your last virtual panel discussion, I’ll get straight to the subject, “What is most important for a fashion industry?!”
A: People. You, me, us. We have to understand ourselves first before we can fix fashion.
We often try to explain or justify our life, journey, and related emotions. But we get hurt and confused in the process, while the spirit is trying to play catch-up.
We often try to compartmentalise the human ecosystem – give definitions, judge actions and create our own rationale based on our own life experiences.
We are simple and complex at the same time. But until we heal ourselves first, we cannot heal fashion.
Every day I have to sit with myself … the uncomfortable parts of myself so that I can better define who I am — for myself.
We all use tools … various instruments to cultivate self-knowledge and wellbeing.
But we have to understand that restoring self and making life adjustments is about how the various parts of you work as a whole.
Integrated wholeness. Merging the beautiful layers. Stimulating and activating your personal ecosystem allows you to control your life – and that’s when you begin to thrive.
Once you tap into that, you’ll be beyond ‘human condition’… you’ll have an identity closer to that of nature.
Fashion trends will continue to change. In doing so, the number of fabrics used, the clothes thrown away, the waste, pollution, under different shapes and forms will keep on.
The only way forward is to work with consumers, and this is why these fashion influencers matter so much.
They’re making us understand that wearing what you have, for as long as you can, it is the right attitude.
That using recycled materials, is more luxurious than ever.
That compassion, empathy and inclusivity are required for a better future of fashion, and the world that we live in.
But most importantly, all fashion influencers told us that the road to better fashion starts with you.
Start by accepting who you are. Start healing yourself, start by going back to the mother nature.
Only then, you’ll begin your sustainable, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free journey.
Only then, you’ll become a force for better.
WTVOX – ‘Voicing the Future of Fashion’
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