Subscribe to Sustainability: The Rise of Sustainable Hauls
Subscribe, like, and comment. YouTube and other social media platforms have brought rise to fashion and lifestyle content. From style lookbooks to hauls, the promotion of fashion is all around us.
With the simultaneous growth of fast fashion and social media has come the birth of influencers. Influencers are social media users with loyal followings and the ability to ‘influence’ (hence, the name) the purchasing decisions of their followers. A fan favourite video for influencers to produce is “the haul”. A haul is where influencers show the abundance of clothes they bought – or more than likely were gifted – to their audience who in return scramble to go buy them.
The era of influencer marketing via fashion hauls is in many ways dangerous and exploitative. Hauls promote mass amounts of shopping and retuning, feeding into the already polluting fashion industry. Sustainable fashion by its nature goes against this idea of overconsumption. And yet, there is a new kid on the block.
Sustainable Fashion Hauls.
Sustainable fashion hauls have the same premise as any normal fashion haul – showcasing clothing recommended by our trusty influencers – except the brands being featured are sustainable.
With the wave of sustainable fashion taking a hold on the industry, it begs some questions. Are sustainable fashion hauls just as dangerous as those pesky little Fashion Nova or Misguided hauls? Or does the extra awareness and exposure out-weigh the negative aspects of the over-buying behaviour?
Sustainable Fashion Hauls – Oh my!
Hauls have traditionally been considered a nasty, cursed word in our conscious consumer community. They promote a buying behaviour that is excessive and only adds to the growing pollution of the fashion industry. So where do sustainable fashion hauls sit in all of this?
Traditionally, most of the fashion showcased on YouTube is considered fast-fashion. Although as interest in sustainability has risen in the fashion industry, it has slowly begun to pop-up in the influencer market. According to fashion search engine Lyst, there is a 66% increase in searches for sustainable fashion options. Now that sustainable fashion is "trendy", influencers are jumping on the bandwagon and sustainable fashion hauls are on the rise.
Sustainable fashion hauls are undeniably still feeding into the dangerous consumer behaviour that sustainable fashion is trying to fight against. Yet it could be argued that they at least influencers are bringing greater awareness to the community, helping normalise the idea of sustainable fashion. Sustainable fashion is a small but growing concept, and the more exposure, the better.
Although all of this pushes for greater awareness for the sustainability community, is it getting our message across correctly? By using the term ‘haul’, sustainable hauls are aligning themselves with the unhealthy trend of over-buying. Is this blurring the lines between unsustainable and sustainable?
Are Sustainable Hauls the Imperfect Fix to an Imperfect Problem
The talk of sustainable fashion hauls has caused a ruckus around the office. It’s a conundrum. On one hand, hauls go against the core values of sustainable consumption. On the other hand, they are bringing more awareness to our growing community and showcasing fashion brands that deserve recognition.
One solution? Ditch the term ‘haul’.
The word ‘haul’ insinuates a large amount of clothing being shown with the prime purpose of selling to consumers. Instead of influencers producing sustainable fashion hauls, we recommend making videos featuring recommendations for people trying to make the shift to sustainability.
Better yet opt for the #Haulternative.
The #Haulternative Revolution
With the idea of hauls not resonating with the sustainable fashion community, sustainable fashion leader Fashion Revolution dubbed a new term for our community to associate with – a Haulternative.
A Haulternative is exactly what it sounds like – an alternative to a haul. A Haulternative suggests a plethora of options instead of traditional hauls that include shopping second-hand, vintage, ethically sourced, or even in your closet.
The Haulternative is a happy medium for fashion lovers who are looking to better the fashion industry.
Who to Watch in the Sustainable Fashion Community
If you type Sustainable Fashion Haul in your search bar, you will be surprised to see a quite a few influencers pop up. We did some research and here are our picks for YouTube influencers trying to balance sustainability and the ‘haul culture’:
Arden Rose is a fashion and lifestyle youtuber who recently started her sustainable switch about ten months ago. In her first sustainable fashion video, ‘how to NOT destroy the planet while shopping”, Arden admitted, “I have promoted the means of fast-fashion by being a YouTuber online.” One of Arden’s unique Haulternative videos is her decluttering series where she tries on items in her closet to rediscover what she already owns. These videos are great to binge watch if you are a level four hoarder and need some inspiration to live a more minimalistic lifestyle.
Kristin Leo promotes an all around ethical living along with sustainable fashion. On her channel you can find informative videos on topics ranging from the realities of fast-fashion to how to build an ethical closet. One video of hers that caught our eyes during our research was her anti-haul. In her anti-haul she talked all about brands she was not supporting, which is an interesting spin on the traditional haul.
To wrap up our list of YouTubers we recommend is What Olivia Did. Olivia is a fashion and lifestyle YouTuber and while she does not solely focus on sustainable fashion, she is a great example of an influencer taking steps towards sustainability. When posting her video about her favourite ethical brands, Olivia prefaced the video by saying, “I’ve spent so long wondering about how to approach the environmental chat as a fashion blogger, but thought discussing some of my favourite more ethical brands would be a good place to start – and hope you discover some new gems too!”
We couldn’t agree with you more, Olivia! It is always better to be taking small steps towards sustainability than none at all.
Sustainable Fashion Hauls – Do we support them?
In the end, the promotion of sustainable fashion using influencers will always be a controversial, double-edged sword.
On one hand, it is feeding into the buying behaviour that conscious consumers fight against. On the other hand, it is giving exposure to brands that are improving the industry, and potentially offering a solution to shoppers who would otherwise turn to fast-fashion.
Haul or not to Haul? Where do you stand?