Influencing is quickly becoming the dominating marketing model of many fashion brands, specifically those that are newer or digitally based.  With the sheer amount of these brands rising in the past five years and a change in advertising as a whole, with younger markets moving away from traditional media, and a rise in media literacy reducing susceptibility to advertising techniques; its near impossible for a new brand to cut above the noise. This is where influencer marketing comes in.

An influencer can promote to a captive audience, already engaged in their content. The faux personal relationship to the interaction between content creator and content consumer crafts an endorsement that  is made to feel adjacent to a recommendation from a friend, rather than a billboard spread or celebrity also allow one brand to target audiences in new ways, such as simultaneously using the traditional slim model body types in the majority of advertisements, whilst incorporating  plus size influencers in separate channels, who will try on the clothes and give a realistic depiction of how they look on multiple body types outside of the model norm.

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Yesterday a group of us rocked up to Parliament to talk to the Government Equalities Office about body image, what the current reality is & how to create real change in the way people feel about themselves. We talked about how to make social media a safer place, the need for fatphobia to be recognised as a form of prejudice & how legislation could reflect this, eating disorders, male body image and how marginalised communities experience body image issues differently! I don’t want to flex and make it sound like anything super radical was achieved (or make it look like I did more than I did – which was turn up somewhere and say some things), but I’m hoping it’s the start of a much longer conversation that will ripple out and into actual change. And I’d love for you all to be part of that too! What change do you want to see? How do you think the government can get more involved on the issue of body image? What legislation do we need? It’d be great to be able to feedback to them & also learn more myself about where we can go from here! 💜💙💚🌈☀️ p.s. yes I wore a crop top to parliament fight me 🌻 • [image description: Megan is standing in an ornate room with statues, carved archways and paintings on the wall. She’s wearing a rainbow pleated skirt with a white crop top and smiling while holding her arms out] #bodyimage #bodypositivity #edrecovery #bodyconfidence

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If a brand can make enough deals across the influencer markets, or just hits one big name such as Kim Kardashian or even strikes lucky in the case of this summer’s polka dot Zara dress then they have the power to create the newest fashion trend and drive traffic to their website.

The darker side of this mode of advertising is the incessant promotion of fast fashion brands. Seeing your favourite influencers massive ‘hauls’ every few weeks, from a number of fast fashion companies, normalises the ‘wear once’ culture that fuels Instagram. Whilst wasteful fashion is hardly a novel concept exclusive to influencers, it increases with the pressure on users to photograph their newest OOTD (outfit of the day) and not to re-wear outfits, at least to not post if they are, so if they want to engage in the social media culture and take photographs at events they feel they have to buy a new outfit

.  Simultaneously the opposite is also true.  There are influencers that are focused on sustainability and part of the push back against fast fashion, demonstrating a new way to influence, promoting ‘slow’ fashion, implementing a ’30 wears’ rule and including the use of reusable items like metal water bottles and washable makeup wipes. This works in tandem with the rise of youth climate strikes and suggests that the use the influencing model of creating trends can be used for social good.

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‘The year is 2030. Scientists’ warnings from 2019 went unheeded and the consequences of climate destruction are now apparent. You are summoned for jury duty at the people’s court as the complicity of Governments, industry, the media, academia, art institutions, and the citizenry is explored, and their actions assessed in light of what they knew in 2019.’ . . . Dropped in on this amazing interactive court at @tate today – I basically saw it on @izzyinkpen’s stories whilst in my pjamas and messaged her like ‘I AM ON MY WAY.’ Sometimes it’s hard to dwell on how much everything is going to change, but also energising to be around people who are as worried as you and taking things as seriously; most of the time it can feel like no one is panicking and you’re going do-lally. Thanks to the #AllRise team, especially for including kids in the exhibition and debate. Working on the next episode of #PositivePanic, cant wait to show you 🧡

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