Instagram launched on 6th October 2010. By June 2018 Instagram, which had been bought by Facebook in 2012 for one billion dollars, “hit 1 billion monthly users” (Statista) and has become one of the most used social media platforms around the globe. With the success of Instagram came the rise of the influencer. The influencer industry that we see today is worth billions of dollars; a modern form of advertising. Whether it’s fast fashion hauls, planes to Dubai for the weekend, or makeup tutorials, the mainstream Instagram personality is fed by an insatiable appetite for consumerism. Online fast fashion retailers have thrived under this form of marketing; in 2019, during the thick of a global pandemic, in which populations were urged to stay at home in their pyjamas, brands such as Pretty Little Thing and Boohoo saw a boom in their sales numbers. According to statistics, the fast-fashion giant Asos saw a rise of “23% to £1.3 billion in the four months to December 31, with a 36% rise in UK sales” (Evening Standard). But there are individuals out there determined to use their voice as a force of good. In light of fast fashion’s threat to our planet, Instagram has seen a rise in eco-influencers. aware_ presents three leading eco-influencers refusing to be sucked into the maelstrom of consumerism, instead inspiring their audiences to consume with purpose, through encouraging an awareness for the bigger picture.
Venetia La Manna
Venetia’s journey to living more sustainably mirrors that of many of her generation. Tired of being a slave to trends: traipsing into Zara every week and lugging bags of clothes to the charity shops, Venetia turned her Instagram account upside down and vowed to pursue a sustainable journey. Having been a vegan for many years, Venetia began to investigate sustainable clothing and conscious beauty, reporting back to her Instagram and YouTube audiences with tips for increasing your environmental consciousness. Now a revered member of the slow fashion community, Venetia has launched podcasts, co-founded the collective Remember Who Made Them and appeared on platforms such as BBC Radio 4, BBC World News and NowThis News.
What sets Venetia apart is her fundamental understanding that mistakes form who are we. Her “fast fashion addiction” led her to realise the damage our consumer habits have both on the people making our clothes and the planet receiving the waste.
“Capitalist consumerism has resulted in a disposable culture here in the Global North, which has disastrous implications for both people and planet. No trend should cause harm to the people who made our clothes, and no style is worth depleting ur planet of its finite resources.
Big Fashion brands and billionaires have a responsibility to reduce the amount of clothes they’re producing and to pay their workers fair living wages.”
– Venetia La Manna Speaking to aware_
Follow Venetia for preloved clothing tips and tricks, vegan breakfast inspiration and honest reports on the big players in the fast fashion industry.
YouTube:Venetia La Manna
Podcast: All The Small Things
To define Aja Barber’s work by the parameters of social media would be doing the US-born writer, stylist and consultant a disservice. Through her speaking, consultancy and writing (her book Consumed: The Need For Collective Change can be pre-ordered via this link), Aja scrutinises colonialist structures, privilege, workers rights and feminism through the lens of sustainability. A fundamental understanding that inequality exists in all corners of society Aja works to inspire her audience to recognise their privilege, both in an environmental and social context. Aja’s experience includes speaking at events for the V&A Museum, Study Hall Central Saint Martins, Cambridge Student Union and Riposte Magazine and contributing to radio shows and podcasts such as BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour. Through her work, Aja allows a unique accessibility to heavy-hitting matters by breaking down bigger issues for consumers ready to change their habits of consumption.
“Ethical is walking the walk in your everyday interactions with marginalized people.”
Follow Aja for honest, inspiring posts on issues of race, climate change and fast fashion.
Website: Aja Barber
Aditi Mayer is a force to be reckoned with. After learning about the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster, the collapse of a garment factory which lead to the death of 1,134 workers, Aditi vowed to create her sustainable fashion community. Through her observation of the discrepancies in opportunity that exist for people of colour globally, Aditi’s work highlights the problematic, fractured foundations on which the fashion industry has been built. Since establishing herself as a key figure in the sustainable fashion movement, Aditi has worked in LA’s garment district serving as an educational voice, appeared on the council for organisations such as Intersectional Environmentalist and State of Fashion and become a leading voice on social media for sustainable fashion. Through Aditi’s unique, personable approach the Los-Angeles based campaigner inspires her audience not only to consider the future of our planet but also learn from the mistakes of our history’s past.
“For me, sustainability is culture. In the West, this is often reduced to a consumer act of buying something ‘sustainable’, or technology that will somehow fix the current climate crisis. However, when you understand that sustainability isn’t what you can buy, but what you embody, embracing one’s cultural heritage becomes paramount.”
Aditi Mayer speaking to Harper’s Bazaar India
Follow Aditi for sustainable fashion inspiration, information on topics such as social justice and ways to decipher and address greenwashing.
Website: Aditi Mayer
By Eliza Edwards