There’s no denying that YouTube, like other social media platforms, is extremely influential, given its worldwide reach and the freedom it gives users to create their own content. This gives vloggers a substantial amount of power in their hands, especially those with an international following and millions of subscribers. Just by endorsing brands or recommending products, they can easily convince their viewers to shop them, too.
Subsequently, YouTube has the power to shape consumer trends. Aside from product-centric videos (like makeup tutorials), there are also channels that can inspire or influence viewers’ lifestyles and preferences. These can include those that talk about minimalism, veganism, and health & fitness.
Well, there’s an emerging category that might just be the next big thing. If you watch fashion vlogs, then you may have stumbled upon “sustainable hauls” or “sustainable try-ons.” There are also formats that give the viewer a “beginner’s guide” to sustainable fashion. Think of it as an online course to jumpstart one’s sustainable fashion journey. Popular vloggers include Arden Rose, known for her fun yet informative videos, and Kristen Leo, known for her insightful discussions on fast fashion brands.
A lot of Filipina vloggers are starting to take root in the category, too, with most of them flaunting their thrifted finds or giving their two cents on what it takes to dress sustainably. Even photographer and ukay-ukay queen Shaira Luna (she has her own YouTube channel, in case you didn’t know) has recently been posting more videos geared towards sustainable fashion.
Frankly, it’s a slow growth rate compared to the optimistic state of sustainability in fashion right now, but it’s a start nonetheless. Plus, given the influence of YouTube and the creativity of these vloggers, perhaps such content might influence more and more people to make the switch, and eventually make sustainable fashion their lifestyle. Here are some reasons why this might just be the key:
It will increase awareness about the importance of sustainability in fashion.
As with any consumer journey, it begins with awareness. Given the very small audience that the sustainable fashion category has at present, churning out more content will reach the eyes and ears of more people. Sustainable fashion vlogging is basically planting seeds to grow a larger community of sustainable fashion advocates.
It will make audiences better informed and equipped to make smarter purchase decisions.
After awareness comes consideration. However, a fashion consumer may not consider adopting a sustainable fashion lifestyle at all if they do not understand its relevance and the impact it can make on our environment. According to Fashion United, many brands are flexing their “green credentials” (or eco-friendly credentials) but “it doesn't give consumers sufficient insight as to why it is better for the environment or indeed if it genuinely is.”
Sustainable fashion vloggers can bridge this gap by explaining what sustainable fashion is in their own words and by expounding on the problems that the fast fashion cycle creates. This is exactly the kind of content that Kristen Leo has been churning out, and her “exposé” videos have reached more than half a million views.
It gives audiences the chance to discover brands and learn lifestyle tips.
The social media presence of sustainable fashion brands isn’t as strong as that of mammoth retailers, making it difficult for consumers to explore their options. Thankfully, a lot of vloggers churn out videos that list their favorite sustainable brands. There are also a lot of lifestyle-oriented videos that simply talk about tips and tricks related to being a more conscious consumer, as well as those that show just how fun dressing sustainably can be.
It can serve as a platform for discourse.
Since “closing the loop” in the fashion industry isn’t as easy as it sounds (there’s everything from the supply chain, retailing, to waste disposal), creating content can spark discourse among viewers, which can hopefully lead to action. This is evident in the various local Facebook groups dedicated to sustainability, whose collective efforts have resulted in campaigns and roundtable discussions.
Ultimately, it democratizes sustainable fashion by making it relatable.
In the same way that blogging democratized fashion since its boom in the mid-2000s, vlogging can make sustainable fashion easily accessible and understandable, thus encouraging others to explore the territory themselves and to eventually adopt the lifestyle, or at least the mindset. They’ll find out that it isn’t so intimidating after all.