The Effect of Social Media on Sustainable Clothing

Ideas:

  1. Sustainable Fashion with inclusive sizing.
  2.  Bamboo kitchenware to be used in the Muhlenberg dining hall. 
  3.  Biodegradable clothing hangers.
  4.  Coasters made from recycled rubber tires. 
  5.  Personal solar powered dorm room composting unit, i.e. a compost powered flower pot. 

One of the main causes of such rapid growth and outreach within the sustainability industry is the involvement of social media. In an age where seemingly everyone we know, especially younger generations are using social media platforms to conduct their daily activities, the rise of applications like Instagram and Snapchat has changed the course of marketing. While the constant awareness of information and seeking factual legitimacy is a blessing and a curse, this influx of constant technological use has benefitted the cause at hand. With the growth of social media, dawned the age of social media influencers. These individuals, typically credited with fame due to frequent posting, and often are perceived as very attractive towards the general population of their followers. Many female influencers such as Kylie Jenner have promoted the rise of fast fashion and similar markets. According to a study by Hitwise, the UK’s leading data insights provider, “The Fast Fashion industry has grown 21% over the past 3 year…” sites like “PrettyLittleThings is the fastest growing brand on the web – seeing a 663% increase in web visits” (1). Clearly, social media marketing strategies are capable of bringing enormous volumes of web traffic. While these fast fashion sites have used the power of social media to proliferate the effect of ecological damage from clothing, other companies who seek to improve the environment have also gained traction. 

Within my personal life, I follow the clothing brand Patagonia, in purchasing their sustainable outdoor wear, and on social media. From my experience, Patagonia does an exceptional job in providing outreach to many environmental issues, while still promoting their brand. The online magazine Medium explains this very well as: “ Lots of brands use multiple platforms to promote themselves, but Patagonia does a really good job of utilizing specific platforms for what they do best” (2). Across their various platforms, Patagonia does a great job of diversifying the information they are sharing, whether it is fundraisers, blog articles, or initiatives to improve our ecosystem. As opposed to many large scale manufacturers, Patagonia takes a personal approach to their company’s social media use and caters towards those looking at the brand, and those specifically seeking to promote environmental activism. Furthermore, I really like how Patagonia uses its platform to shed light on lesser-known organizations within the sustainability field. Their view is less on them as a clothing company, but through outreach, it provides an incentive for consumers to purchase their products. Within my own ventures of entrepreneurship, the example that Patagonia has set as a large corporation is much more appealing to the niche market that follows it. By integrating their products and their passion, they have grown successfully, without losing positive intention.

  1. http://www.netimperative.com/2017/06/rise-fast-fashion-industry-catwalk-retail-shops-see-21-growth-3-years/
  2. https://medium.com/@vmcgowan/how-patagonia-is-doing-social-media-right-b3bc6e1b06d7

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