03.07.18

The Ethics of Influencing and Why You Should Always Do Your Own Research

Kira Simpson

This is not a subject matter I usually cover on The Green Hub.

But as we’ve grown and I’ve become an influencer of sorts, I feel I have a responsibility to speak up about issues I come across within the ethical and sustainable fashion space.

Readers and followers trust our advice and often make purchases based on that advice. 

I recently came across an influencer on Instagram sharing fashion brands and promoting them as ethical and sustainable. Five minutes of research told me the brands promoted are anything but ethical and only vaguely sustainable. Which got me thinking about how many bloggers and influencers out there are doing the same?

How to be an ethical blogger

"Readers and followers trust our advice and often make purchases based on that advice."

Ethical and sustainable fashion are now buzzwords, more brands are using them and greenwashing is becoming a huge issue in the industry.

Trust

We trust the people we follow online and try things based upon their recommendations, which is exactly how influencer culture works.

I think it’s a wonderful alternative to traditional advertising when done right. I’ve come across so many amazing brands, eateries and places to visit based on the recommendations of people I follow. None of which I would have found otherwise. But if you present yourself as a blogger or influencer promoting an issue as serious as ethical fashion, you have a responsibility to share factual information with your readers and followers.

At this point I want to make it VERY CLEAR that most bloggers and influencers in the ethical fashion space are amazing.

They genuinely want to change the industry, they take the time research brands thoroughly before recommending them, they don’t encourage mass consumerism and they don’t work with brands for a quick buck. Which is why ethical fashion blogging is not as lucrative as mainstream fashion blogging.

But we are only human and we don’t always get it right.

I’ve had readers call me out on brands I’ve promoted. Everlane is a great example. I’ve been promoting them as a brand you can buy from knowing they are 100% transparent only to recently discover they are not as transparent as they promote themselves to be. It was a reader who shared this information with me and I’m grateful for it.

Research

When it comes to buying fashion which has been made ethically or sustainably this is where I encourage you to do your own research and come to your own conclusions based on facts before making a purchase. While there is no industry standard for these two definitions, there are many certification bodies and research to tools to help you assess brands

For research I like Good On You which is available in Australia, the US and soon Europe. I also use the Baptist World Aid Report which is a report released annually sharing information about mainstream Australian fashion brands. But use your common sense with this one, fast fashion brands like Zara who are given an ‘A’ are anything but sustainable.

Look for certifications such as Ethical Clothing Australia, Fairtrade and GOTS. We have a guide to certifications here. 

It’s not an easy issue to tackle and I feel as though we’ve only just began to see the start of this.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, leave your comment below.

Kira Simpson

Founder + Director of The Green Hub, an urban green living advocate and coffee obsessive. She believes there is no one size fits all green lifestyle and we can all live more sustainably in a way that fits in with each of our unique lifestyles.