This will be a long post, so let’s just get straight into it!
What Is Instagram Consumerism?
This is a term I think I made up myself, but it could well be used elsewhere. Instagram consumerism, in my eyes, is the way Instagram affects how/when/where you buy your products. It is especially prominent in the influencer space, more specifically, brand deals and collabs. However there is also pressure around all of social media to wear a different outfit every day. This first harms our mindset towards clothing, and leads to consequences of buying more clothing to adhere to the expectation.
Why Is It Bad?
First and foremost, the easiest ways to purchase clothing is via fast fashion brands. That is a problem in itself, which my friend Ava did an amazing guest post about on my blog. Secondly, the most advertised clothing on Instagram is fast fashion. To those who are not educated on the subject, it’s easy to fall into the trap of fast fashion.
Before we go ahead, I’d like to add a disclaimer: not everyone can afford sustainable fashion. It disappoints me that less advantaged families have to buy from fast fashion brand without choice. If you are included within that bracket, please do not feel pressure from me. You do not need to switch to sustainable fashion if you can’t afford it.
However, so many people with enough money to buy slow fashion decide to still go for the fast fashion option. That disappoints me beyond belief. Seeing influencers on YouTube with millions of subscribers do a Primark haul that gets over 500k views is scary. Unless they’re putting the revenue from that video towards charities that help garment workers in Bangladesh (where Primark’s clothes are made), I’m not going to support it. I’m scared because they have power, they own the label ‘influencer’ for a reason. They influence those people who watch the video to buy fast fashion. 500k views. That has an impact.
How Do I Avoid Instagram Consumerism?
Now to the main part of this post. This section goes for any product you see promoted on Instagram, or YouTube. Not just clothing!
1) Read The Facts
If you see a book on Instagram, made from paper that is not FSC approved, look into how harmful that can be for the planet. Read information on deforestation, learn about why you should just buy second hand. Even better, an independent book store. Although they are expensive, they have plummeted into financial decline since the Covid-19 outbreak (like many other businesses). Support small. Rather than just buy on a whim, wait a few days. Find other buying options.
2) The Influencer Is Only Going To Hype The Brand Up, They Would Never Advertise a Product They Do Not Like
Okay, so this is an obvious one. If an influencer has been sent a gifted item that they do not like, they wouldn’t post it on their Instagram. It’s gifted, they’re not paid for it. They might send a critical review back to the seller by email, but they wouldn’t share it with their audience. Next time you see a gifted item on someone’s feed, remember that everyone is different. Just because they love it, doesn’t mean you will. Plus, this influencer didn’t buy it with their own money. Everyone loves free things! They might not have bought it if it weren’t free.
3) Make a Wishlist
Make a wishlist of all the physical items you desire in life (a book, a cactus and a blanket are on mine). Next time you want to buy something from an advertisement, glance back at your wishlist. Do you really want to spend your money on this, or should you put it towards something you have wanted for a while? If you decide you really love the advertised product on Instagram, write it on your wishlist. Come back a few days later and rethink. Do you still want this?
4) Did You Want This a Few Weeks Ago?
This is similar to the wish list idea. At the moment, razors have been gifted to a ton of creators in my Instagram feed. They’re cute, pink and, for some people, essential. Did you need a new razor a few weeks ago? Do you need a razor now? Probably not, because you already have one. Wait until you need a new razor before buying a new one! Don’t just buy one now, and then not get full use out of your old one. That’s wasteful.
5) What Purpose Does It Serve?
Book = happiness, education. Cactus = room decor. Blanket = keeps me cosy in the evenings. Everything serves a purpose. Some, however, will be more important than others. List out, either on paper or in your brain, the purposes your desired product serves. This simple practise will define what you should be spending your money on.
That’s it for today’s post! It was a little all over the place, wasn’t it? Hope you all don’t mind. Don’t forget that this post is a part of my series The Plastic Plan. It’s ongoing series, where every Friday either myself or a guest writer blogs about climate change, fast fashion and plastic. If you’re interested in educating yourself on those very important subjects, please do head over to The Plastic Plan category on my blog!
Let me know in the comments which tip you found most useful!
What was the last thing you bought after seeing it on social media?
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