For Bloggers My Outfits

An Insider’s Take on Eco Fashion Blogging & Ethical Fashion Influencers

An Insider's Take on Eco Fashion Blogging & Ethical Fashion Influencers
Written by Jennifer Nini

I’ve been blogging about sustainable fashion and green lifestyle for almost seven years and have insights from the other side of the fence working as a digital consultant, so I feel somewhat qualified to broach the topic of ethical blogging and Instagram influencers with you.

I’ve watched the blogging industry change over this time, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse and I feel compelled to share my views now more than ever, in the hopes of bringing forth a discussion that needs to be had.

But first, let’s rewind the clock…

The early days

When I first started blogging back in 2010, the ethical community was smaller. If you think it’s a niche industry now, before it was super duper niche.

In those early years, there seemed only a few of us writing about our frustrations with the fast fashion industry and the consumerist propaganda on our lives. The pioneers of ethical blogging were part of a real grass roots effort to try and change the fashion industry. We didn’t care about amassing followers. We didn’t care about search engine optimisation. We didn’t care about gaming social media for monetary gain nor did we have Google Adwords accounts or pay for Facebook advertising. We had a humble mission: to bring depth to shallow fashion conversations and to improve the awful, exploitative environmentally destructive industry.

The word ‘influencer’ hadn’t been coined yet. There were very little dramas in the community. We ethical fashion bloggers were mostly on the same page.

But then gradually it changed.

The State of Eco Fashion Blogging & Ethical Fashion Influencers - Eco Warrior Princess

Industry entered our community. More people joined in, some with questionable motives, and some with fake followers and bots that distributed ‘likes’ and love heart emoticons like cheap lollies. Collaboration was increasingly replaced with rivalry. Quality, passion and sincerity increasingly replaced with quantity, ego and money.

We might have been promoting ‘slow fashion’ but there was nothing slow about the state of ethical blogging. It was speeding up, getting faster, being egged on by fierce competition from individuals within the blogging camp as well as ethical brands who – upon hearing that blogs are a great way to increase website traffic – launched their own (often mediocre) blogs.

For all the saintly admissions about “doing good through fashion” and “changing the world, one garment at a time” it was becoming clear that doing good came secondary to making money, stroking one’s ego and popularity. Ethical fashion may have had more substance than its superficial fast fashion sister, but the family ties of capitalism and commerce still remained.

How bloggers and influencers make money

Fast forward to 2017.

I am a professional copywriter, I run a digital content agency and I’ve built a solid reputation writing within the conscious fashion space. Unsurprisingly, I expect proper compensation for my work given my skills, experience and ability to reach an engaged audience of conscious consumers.

Unfortunately, there are some ethical business owners who don’t completely understand the concept of fair compensation, and still try to shame and guilt me for charging a fee for the work I do to promote their brands. It wreaks of hypocrisy. You create products and expect to be paid for them. How is my creating original content for your business different?

If you receive commercial benefit from our work, isn’t it fair that we receive some form of compensation?

Now I’m not saying that all bloggers and influencers deserve payment, in cash or otherwise. Frankly speaking, some don’t. This is not me being envious, or being negative or being arrogant. Consider unpaid interns who receive experience and education instead of monetary compensation and that’s what it’s like to be an amateur ethical fashion blogger. Most seasoned bloggers can describe those early years of doing unpaid work for the love of it or to have our words read by someone outside of our family.

These days there seems to be a sense of entitlement without necessarily “doing one’s time”. Perhaps it’s because many ethical fashion bloggers – myself included – fall into the millennial generation and it’s our generation that’s most accused of acting like spoilt brats.

Here’s my take on why most “influencers” fail to receive compensation:

  • their work lacks quality
  • they have no credibility
  • they behave unprofessionally
  • they don’t know how to negotiate
  • they have a small audience or readership
  • they are a “nobody”

They of course have the right to complain because in all fairness, they are contributing time and effort. But let’s face it – market dynamics rule. The market decides whether your work has value or is shit, just as it’s the market that decides whether a brand’s product is wonderful or not.

So if you’re a newbie blogger and are complaining about how hard done by you are, just stop. No amount of bitching to the ethical blogging community is going to change the fact that brands don’t see your work as adding real value. Here’s how to solve that problem: create brilliant work, offer value to readers, offer value to brands, provide proof that you can deliver on your promises, educate yourself and continuously improve. Brands generally don’t invest their marketing dollars with bloggers and influencers unless they can see value in doing so. It’s all about that return on investment. They’re running a business and no business wants to take a punt on a losing horse.

People are fascinated when I tell them that Eco Warrior Princess is a business and that I make money off of it. They think blogging and posting Instagram images isn’t a real job. Working in my pyjamas, taking pretty pictures, posing for photo shoots and writing blog or Instagram posts seems more like fun than work. But that could be said of modelling, photography, film making, fashion design, playing music, creating art. These jobs seem like fun too, but the financially successful ones treat it as serious work.

To put together a 500-word post about green beauty brands that you adore is one thing; to critically evaluate and write in-depth think pieces is quite another.

Related Post: Ethical Bloggers & the Compensation Issue

Eco fashion brand COSSAC

So while many ethical fashion blogs and Instagram accounts are passion projects for some people, there are others – like me – who earn income because the market perceives us as contributing some value to the community.

Just to fill you in, here are the most common ways eco bloggers and Instagram influencers make money:

  • sponsored articles
  • sponsored Instagram posts
  • social media promotion
  • affiliate marketing
  • books reviews
  • product reviews
  • ethical brand inclusions in articles
  • photo shoot collaborations

Are ethical bloggers and ethical fashion influencers required to share blogging and social media income with their audience? No. Most ethical bloggers don’t earn an income from their blogs so don’t really need to.

Those who do make money are not required to share this information. Many bloggers I know keep these details private.

I run Eco Warrior Princess differently. Since I demand transparency off of the fashion brands and businesses I work with, I think it’s only fair that I too should be transparent with how I operate the site. Consequently, I began publishing Transparency Reports that detail monthly revenue and expenses as evidence of my full commitment to transparency (you can access the Transparency Reports here).

On “selling out”

There is nothing wrong with earning money doing what you love and care about. I am amused by people who accuse bloggers and influencers of “selling out” just because they make money off of their craft. These people give no thought to the hours a blogger or influencer has spent on creating a post, putting together a photo shoot, or the creativity that goes into producing video blogs and film content.

Selling out is compromising your own integrity and principles for money. Selling out is not being paid for work that you do. That’s simply called a job.

Individuals who pass judgement on others after reading/viewing tiny snippets of their work is ignorance at its finest. The only way for these self-righteous people to feel good about themselves, is to attack someone else, tear them down, call them “sell outs”. How fucking sad. (Note: I am not taking aim at those who raise logical, rational arguments. As an open-minded person, I welcome those opposing views because I learn so much from civilised discussion. In fact, I am partial to an intelligent, healthy debate. It’s the personal insults, name-calling and baseless accusations I have issues with.)

Ethical Fashion Blogging & Influencers - Eco Warrior Princess

Several weeks ago, my future sister-in-law Sarah spent time at our farm. Sarah is a quick-witted, highly observant individual who has a self-deprecating sense of humour and whom I can rely on to be honest as she’s a real straight shooter, one of the qualities I truly admire about her.

We chatted about the state of blogging and people “selling out” and Sarah who admits to being a “cynic” tells me that she’s observed my Instagram feed, and thinks I’m going about it in the right way because it’s not all sponsored content and I have in-depth discussions in the comment section, with people in the community. I was extremely relieved to hear her say this. Had Sarah pointed out any problems in the way I was handling Eco Warrior Princess I would have been devastated. I have a high opinion of her, and her opinions.

I don’t lose sleep over a stranger calling me a sell out or acting like an asshole. I don’t give up my power to a person who plays no significant role in my life. But if a family member should ever call me a sell out, well that’s a whole other story…

Not all ‘ethical’ businesses behave ethically 

Where money is involved, unscrupulous behaviour soon follows, and the ‘ethical’ industry is no different.

The truth is that there are some ethical businesses that just don’t care about the blogger or influencer they are approaching. The only thing they care about (apart from their bottom line) is access to the blogger or influencer’s audience. These businesses aren’t genuinely interested in you as a human being or your audience or readers for that matter – they just want to sell, sell, sell their products to make a profit.

It’s often these same ‘ethical’ businesses who act manipulatively and have no concept of mutual benefit, that operate in unethical ways. Ethical brands behaving unethically? Yes it’s known to happen.

Here are some dubious business practices I’ve witnessed personally:

  • trying to obtain ‘free’ promotion by lying about financial status or crying poor (if you’re paying for Facebook and Google ads, you have a marketing budget and thus can’t claim to be ‘poor’!)
  • buying fake followers on Instagram and Twitter
  • claiming ‘ethical’ credentials such as Fair Trade, organic etc where none actually exist
  • syndicating content without permission
  • using a blogger or influencer’s photos without crediting them
  • stealing intellectual property
  • not offering reasonable compensation in exchange for access to audience
  • exploiting unpaid interns and bloggers with the offer of “mutual value” where none actually exist
  • adding influencers to mailing lists without permission
  • spamming bloggers and influencers

These ethical brands have a lot to answer for, and I’m not afraid to call them out when they do stupid shit like what I’ve described above. A so-called ethical business putting the industry in disrepute is not something I’m just going to turn a blind eye to.

Eco Warrior Princess - Ethical Fashion Influencers

Some ‘ethical’ bloggers behave unethically too

I should point out that it’s not just some ethical brands behaving badly. Some ethical bloggers are just as guilty of behaving unethically. Here are some ‘unethical’ practices to watch out for:

  • buying fake followers on social media
  • not disclosing whether a product has been gifted
  • not disclosing whether a blog post or Instagram post has been sponsored by a brand
  • lying about website traffic, followers and subscribers
  • price fixing and collusion
  • pretending to be nice and be your ‘friend’ to manipulate a favourable outcome
  • copying your blog design, content strategy etc

The ethical fashion blogging world is still very small and it has increased in competitiveness and cattiness over the years. When you’ve been in the community as long as I have, established deep friendships, you get to know a thing or two. People within the community who pretend it’s all rainbows and unicorns are not being real. The community as a whole is a wonderful one to be a part of and for the most part there are no problems – but let’s not pretend that it’s a bed of roses. There are also a few thorns in the mix.

What’s causing the most problems?

Jealousy, copying, gossip and backstabbing of course.

Seriously, when you’re busy transforming the world for the better, who the hell has time for it?

Instagram comment pods and ‘gaming’ social media platforms

Comment pods are informal groups on Instagram where people come together and agree to like and comment on each other’s photos in order to inflate their popularity. By participating in comment pods these individuals are in essence “gaming” Instagram and deceiving brands into thinking they are more “influential” than they actually are.

Some people will disagree with me here and tell me that these pods are great ways to build a community. I’m not going to argue with you if you’re in denial, only someone participating in a comment pod will know his or her true intentions for being involved in one. But here’s my rebuttal: the ethical fashion community is already there. All one needs to do is look up relevant hashtags and you’ll find plenty of people to have genuine relationships with.

An Insider's Take on Eco Fashion Blogging & Ethical Fashion Influencers

Last year I was approached by several ‘ethical’ bloggers on Instagram via direct message to be part of their comment pods. I’m not going to lie to you: I was insulted by the proposition of joining an “ethical fashion community” directly tied to gaming Instagram. I politely declined because it’s hard enough keeping up with my real friends on Instagram let alone pretend to be interested in other people’s posts for the sake of looking popular. An Instagram comment pod sounds too much hard work for little reward, not to mention the real possibility that Instagram’s algorithm may be penalising podsters for manipulating its system.

This sort of behaviour is not too dissimilar to trying to improve SEO rankings using “black hat” practices in an attempt to manipulate search engines. Whatever happened to organic growth and genuine relationships? Whatever happened to creating valuable content?

I spoke with Lily Wang the owner of green beauty ecommerce site Riatta – a business based on the central coast of New South Wales – who reveals how a digital marketing firm bought followers on her brand’s behalf: “When we first started [Riatta] we hired a digital marketing freelancer and what this person did was buy Facebook followers for my page without consulting with us and it was all because I mentioned that some suppliers wouldn’t supply to us because we didn’t have many followers,” shares Lily. “But then the next day I had almost 7,000 followers.” Lily reveals how shocked and dismayed she was not only because they had acted without permission but now her brand’s Facebook community has been diluted with fake followers. “Now it’s sending spammers to my [Facebook] account.” Lily admits she rarely uses her Facebook account anymore and focusses her attention on building Riatta’s Instagram community.

Lily also explains how she attended an expo sponsored by a digital marketing firm who promoted the use of automated comments: “[The digital marketing rep] said that I had to comment on people’s photos and I asked, if a business is really successful and they don’t have time to engage and they’re getting too many notifications, what can they possibly do as they can’t possibly comment on every single comment? He basically said, use automated comments.”

Games that people play

The funniest part of being involved in this online community is the games that people play. A person follows you hoping you follow back. You follow back and then they unfollow you. Or worse, they pay for followers and bots that make it seem they’re really involved in the community, when in actual fact, the community is having a relationship with an automated bot. It’s tragic what people do to get ahead.

If influencers, bloggers and brands spent more time creating better, original content, and less time playing these stupid games, maybe then they’d get somewhere. All this talk about “authenticity” and “ethics” and then being fake is damaging our community.

And honestly, who are you kidding? Following 3,000 people on Instagram when you only have 500 followers reveals a lot about your intentions. Not to mention it clutters your feed and prevents you from seeing the posts of your true friends.

An Insider's View on Eco Fashion Blogging & Ethical Fashion Influencers

So many influencers, yet so little influence.

The one issue that has been cropping up again and again in my conversations with business owners: how can you tell if an “influencer” has real influence? 

My response? Definitely not just by the number of followers.

There is ZERO correlation between a high number of social media followers and influence, just as there is no correlation between smiling photos on Facebook and happiness.

Businesses relying on data such as a number of followers to determine a person’s influence are going to get a rude awakening if they haven’t already. High numbers could mean influence, but it could just as easily mean popularity and even fake followers.

How does one gauge influence? That’s a tough question to answer because there’s no specific formula that determines social influence. However there are some ways to help you identify whether a person has more or less influence than others. Here are some questions that will help you collect more data on an individual to make a more informed decision about their “influence”:

  • What is the individual’s reputation in the community?
  • What do other esteemed individuals in your community think of the influencer?
  • How willing are people to listen and engage with this influencer?
  • How willing are people to share the influencer’s blog posts, photos, quotes?
  • Does the influencer receive quality comments on Instagram and social media, or just superficial hearts and kisses emoticons?
  • What type of social proof does the influencer have? For example, have they been featured in reputable websites and publications?
  • Do you consider the influencer a voice of authority in your community?
  • What’s the quality of the influencer’s work?
  • How many email subscribers does the influencer have?
  • Does the influencer have brand testimonials that they can share with you?

Brands also need to work out what they’re looking to achieve when working with a blogger or social media influencer before engaging their services. Are you trying to increase Instagram followers? Want more Facebook fans? Or looking to increase sales of your current collection?

Too often I’ve had to listen to a brand complain about the lack of return when investing in the services of an influencer or blogger, only to dig a little deeper and learn that clear goals weren’t even established.

Before you engage a blogger or social media influencer, determine what your goals are and what you’re looking to achieve in the partnership. Then make sure to communicate these expectations to the influencer so you’re both on the same page.

An Insider's Take on Eco Fashion Blogging & Ethical Fashion Influencers

I hope that what I’ve shared in this post provides you with real insights into the ethical fashion blogosphere, paid collaborations and sponsored posts and what both parties need to know before entering into an agreement to work together.

If you have any questions or want to share your own personal story, we’d love to hear about it. Feel free to leave a comment below and let’s keep the lines of communication open!

Credits:

Photography – Ben McGuire

Stylist/Model – Jennifer Nini

Jacket – COSSAC

Shoes – Mamahuhu

Top + jeans – Second-hand

Sunglasses – Model’s own

Disclosure: Eco Warrior Princess is a proud brand ambassador to COSSAC. The jacket was gifted as part of this relationship. Eco Warrior Princess strives to only work with brands that meet our high ethical standards. For more information about our ad policies, click here.

Enjoyed this post & want to show your gratitude? Then please support Eco Warrior Princess on Patreon!

About the author

Jennifer Nini

Jennifer Nini is a writer, activist and the founding editor of Eco Warrior Princess. In 2010, after studying Fashion Business, she launched Eco Warrior Princess to explore her interests in fashion, politics, social justice and sustainability. Jennifer is also the founder of The Social Copywriter, a digital agency harnessing the power of copywriting and content marketing to help mindful businesses reach more people. When she’s not perfecting a sentence or coaching business clients, you will find her at her certified organic farm reconnecting with nature.

17 Comments

  • Thank you so much for writing this article, Jen! I’m having a similar issue at the moment with online noise and this really strange cat and mouse game that seems to be happening on social media. I have this discussion every day about Instagram and what a strange world it has created. I feel as though there is quite a lot of green washing at the moment by some of these ‘influencers and bloggers’ who have a larger following, and when you get to know them, they’re actually not true and authentic leaders in this movement whatsoever, but rather embracing the ethical & sustainable growth of the fashion industry as a fad. I find this really disappointing as these are the people – with the large followings – that are getting attention and exposure, when they’re in fact; number one not only not adding value, but also fraudulent with their intentions and beliefs. As someone who believes in substance, quality and openness in can be really tricky to navigate these issues, but then I read things like this and remember to focus on all the authentic leaders and change makers out there like yourself who are honest, hard working and not afraid to bring these issues to the forefront. Thank you so much, Jen we are so lucky to have you in this community.
    Lots of love, Nat xx

    • Thanks so much for such a thoughtful comment Nat, and for contributing your own views on the matter. Yes the world that Instagram opened up for us was amazing at the beginning. But it’s created this illusion too – not only in the way a photo has been created (and let’s face it, most amazing photos took considerable amount of time to look as they do, particularly with flat lays and outfit images) but in the way it makes you want to aspire to something that’s actually fictitious. Some people are discerning but I worry about young people who aren’t as equipped to think critically or to critically evaluate what they are looking at. You’re also right about the online noise. I’ve committed to http://ecowarriorprincess.net/2017/02/digital-minimalism-its-time-to-declutter-your-digital-life/ for a few reasons. For one, I’m super busy and I realised that I needed to prioritise and free up time for projects outside of the online world (getting the farm organised for example). Plus I think I told you I prefer phone convos haha! Also great point about the cat and mouse game! I have never taken part in it because, well I don’t have time, but I have heard soooo many stories my goodness! Also what you mentioned about influencers with large followings is something I’ve been thinking a lot about. I love that ethical brands are getting exposure from using influencers with large followings – my only concern is that it becomes just another ad, like all other ads with no differentiating point and then that’s where we find ourselves in trouble. To make ethical and sustainable fashion as cool as ‘normal’ fashion is brilliant, we want more people in mainstream society to join us so it’s no longer niche and is the ‘norm’ but I want more that that – I want it to transcend fashion’s insane obsession with looks/trends/superficiality/ego and I want influencers with large followings to use their influence for the greater good. But then again, it’s easy to lose touch when your ego is stroked each time you get a double tap on an image haha! Anyway thank you for being so supportive of my work. I realllly appreciate it! I cannot wait for Tommie Mag to launch. Big things ahead for you hun, I can already feel it! xx

  • Hi Jennifer

    I’m quite new to your blog but I absolutely love it.

    I found this post quite interesting. I know exactly the type of blogs you mean – after I’d found you and one or two other good blogs I have added quite a few other blogs onto my rss and most of the time they are just post after post of pictures of themselves in clothing that is clearly sponsored and about ten words. Not particularly interesting to read or compelling to buy. I read one recently that tried to argue that buying second hand was just as bad as buying fast fashion if you weren’t buying ethical secondhand goods (later revealed to be available through an online store).

    The ethical issues you raised are interesting and a bit disappointing. It would be nice to believe that working for a planet leads to cooperation and honesty rather than such deviousness.

    Thanks for sharing. And thanks for the content you provide- I’ve not found anything near the quality, integrity or honesty that you provide.

    • So wonderful to know that you found it and that you’re enjoying the posts! To know that people find some value in the words I – and our beautiful team of writers – string together always warms my heart because we do actually care about the positive impact we’re trying to make. The ethical issues I describe are a real shame because in my opinion the point of the community is to work together to find solutions to the problems of fast fashion, not to improve it in some areas like working conditions and fair trade and then mimic it in other areas like the rise of ethical narcissists. Luckily these activities are carried out by a minority of people, but I must say, some of those people have amassed large followings which is hardly encouraging when you know some got there using underhanded tactics and questionable motives. Still, I’m confident that the ‘market’ will expose fraudsters and reward those who are bringing value in some way, shape or form. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts 🙂

  • Thanks for your thoroughness. I am sort of halfway in a pod, but I mostly just like to be updated about certain bloggers’ feeds because they don’t always show up in my feed with the new algorithm. I only comment if I have something to say, which is sort of against the rules. I’m neither here nor there on that type of format, but I can see how the really large pods full of people who don’t actually know each other are ethically problematic.

    I feel some of the same frustration as you about the sudden ethical blogger boom. I started my blog in early 2013 and did/do a ton of research, reading, and thinking before posting anything, even sponsored posts, but I feel like there are people who take nice photos and just believe whatever the brand tells them who are way more successful than me, and that’s a shame.

    I’m trying to put some of this in positive terms: 1. the influx of ethical bloggers means people are starting to pay attention to the ethical market. There are opportunists, but they won’t be around for the long haul, 2. there are enough legit bloggers out there that I truly am proud to know and get lots of wisdom from that it’s still worth it to me.

    I recommend lifestylejustice.com and leotielovely.com. They’ve become great friends and their content is always on point.

    • Thanks so much Leah for your voice of reason. I can always count on you 🙂 I agree that on the whole it has been brilliant to see new people in the circles, the more the merrier I say. (See my comments in response to Natalie and Tcoll). Plus I’ve got more reading material (yes I’ve heard great things about Leotie Lovely and have seen Lifestyle Justice around too) because I now have a selection of great blogs to choose from (just don’t have as much time as I once did to read them). Brands have more ethical bloggers to choose from too which is wonderful. It’s just a shame there are issues arising that weren’t there before. You also pointed out a pet peeve of mine, when bloggers don’t hold brands to account, but I suppose that’s the one criticism of the blogosphere that has been around as long as blogging – bloggers aren’t journalists, and particularly not investigative reporters 🙂

  • WOW! I’m new to the blogging world, and I had no idea these sort of things went on. Comment pods (leaves a bad taste in my mouth), buying followers (REALLY? that doesn’t sound ethical at all), automated comments (how disingenuous). . . because you are so transparent, that makes me an even bigger fan. Keep up the good work!

    • Firstly welcome to blogging! The one piece of advice I can give is to remember to stay true to yourself and if you do that, you’ll always love it. I know I have 🙂 Secondly, I’m so happy that you’ve learned a thing or two from this piece. I wish these issues didn’t exist but felt the need to bring them up as all these closed door conversations weren’t getting us anywhere. However on the whole there are definitely way more positives than negatives and I’m still happy to be a part of the community as there’s still so much important work to do to reach the masses 🙂

  • It seems a lot of people are feeling this way recently. I started blogging in 2013 for the same reasons you outlined, and only knew a handful of people doing the same thing. These days I often feel overwhelmed and anxious and not good enough when comparing myself and my blog to ethical bloggers 2.0, of which there appear to be more every day! On one hand, small actions X lots of people = change but on the other hand, are we ‘influencing’ people in a way that truly leads to good change? Plus blogging doesn’t feel as fun to me anymore in this competitive atmosphere. I’m thankful for the likeminded people I’ve connected with and trying to reconnect with my personal goals and stay authentic.

    • Love that term “ethical bloggers 2.0” 🙂 I think comparison does that – makes you feel like you’re not good enough, not keeping up. It’s why I worry about the effect on Instagram and ads on people, and particularly young people. You know my trick for not feeling overwhelmed and anxious? Prioritising the people and activities that matter most and embracing digital minimalism and spending time earthing 🙂 I decided to write this post because these issues had been stewing in my mind the last couple of months and after so many closed door conversations with brands and other bloggers I decided that I just had to get it all out. It needed to be addressed. As for you feeling like blogging isn’t fun anymore, I have been there and I understand that feeling. The passion feels like it’s gone because there’s so much pressure to “perform” and “keep up”. In those times, I try to remember why I started. This helps to remember why I’m a writer – I write to communicate, and I write to express. I write about the matters I care about. Years ago I refused to do the “Top 10 List of…” and when I polled the community, they actually said they wanted those types of posts. But I faced a dilemma: I don’t enjoy the banality of writing “listicles”. So I delegated to another writer who is happy to do them. That way I’m free to write about the things that move me. That I’m not writing to compete or to please others. Writing from my heart is one of the ways I continue to enjoy the blog medium. If you ever want to take this convo off here and on to email, you know how to reach me 🙂

  • Love this breakdown, Jen! I agree with a lot of your points, especially about how engagement should be real and not automated. I am in a POD and I more see it as supporting my fellow bloggers’ work, but yours is definitely a perspective I’m considering now. I am a huge fan of your transparency reports, too. It’s such a treat to have women of your caliber in this industry!

    • So happy to know this piece resonated with you and that you’re getting something out of the reports! I appreciate your being honest about being in a pod – a few people have mentioned this same thing. This is what I enjoy most about being open about what’s going on – that we can share our experiences and opinions, decision-making processes and that all of us are better off from doing so. It will be so interesting to see how the community evolves. Judging from the reactions of this piece, I can see many of us are feeling similar things 🙂

  • I completely agree with everything you said. I have less than two years involved in ethical fashion, but your blog is my favorite out of all the others I’ve read. I love your honesty and ethics. One of my jobs is as a community manager and I’ve read a lot about all these new practices (buying followers, autobots, etc) and I’ve never agreed with them, especially when it comes to ethical fashion. It reeks of dishonesty and hypocresy, because how do you want to hold accountable fashion companies when you’re not being honest yourself?

    Something that bothers me a lot is when almost all the content in a blog is sponsored. There is a very famous blog I follow that even though it has great information, it also has a lot of sponsored posts. I mean, if you’re an ethical blogger you should strive to reduce mindless consumerism, shouldn’t you? So I find it a little ironic that this person promotes so many clothes, one after the other. That’s my opinion, of course, but I wish this blogger (and similar bloggers) would talk more about the problems in the fashion industry, etc etc.

    But thank you for writing this post, I’m actually about to start my own fashion blog (in Mexico, ethical fashion is barely starting to be known) and these type of posts really help me shape what I want in my blog and how I’m going to handle all the Instagram and ethical stuff. You’re amazing, I’m your fan!

    • So happy to know that you find value in and enjoy reading our work 🙂 Isn’t it horrifying with these new marketing practices? But it’s worse when ‘ethical’ bloggers start engaging in these tactics. People are always looking for shortcuts. Bloggers don’t want to do the hard work of building a great body of work that adds value to the community. Businesses don’t want to do the hard work of researching and collecting data on a blogger so default to what’s easiest – total number of followers. That’s why I often bring it back down to unconscious commerce and capitalism. This is what’s caused fast fashion to occur – the unscrupulous behaviour all for the dollar. And it’s now entering into the ‘ethical’ fashion world. Ugh. And you’re right about ethical bloggers, and particularly ones that identify as a ‘sustainable’ blogger with social media and blogs filled entirely with sponsored posts. It’s mixed messages. On the one hand they are telling people to consume less through their words, but their actions aren’t reflective of these ‘eco values’. So many people are starting to see this kind of behaviour as ‘green washing’ and I don’t blame them really. Good luck with your fashion blog too! A new unique mindful voice that is fully aware is always welcome. Make sure to keep in touch 🙂

  • Really Love this article! I am the owner of a small ethical and sustainable women’s clothing pop up shop that is soon to become a mobile boutique based in New Hampshire. I’m in the information gathering process of starting a blog to follow me on my tour I’m planning for this winter that will take me around the country visiting craft fairs and ethical and sustainable brands. I’ve followed you for awhile and really love your content! I started Flora Lou a little over a year ago because I was passionate about making a difference in the fashion world and opening up people’s eyes to the evils of fast fashion, but I quickly felt like selling ethical and sustainable clothing wasn’t enough! I wanted to be doing more and saying more and spreading more information. I live in a very small town and I have made an impact on quite a few people (at least making them think before they buy). But I just feel as though there is so much more to be done and said and I am hoping that a blog will help with that! Do you ever do any consulting for new bloggers? I would love to ask you some questions and bounce some ideas off of you!

    • Hi Lea! Thanks so much for your comment. My experience was similar. Once you ‘wake up’ to the destructive forces of fast fashion, it tends to consume you and you want to raise awareness and spread the message as far and wide as possible. I do consult mostly to ethical businesses as bloggers rarely offer to pay to “pick my brains”. If you shoot me an email we can arrange something 🙂 Happy to share my experiences with you.

  • I came across this post, in who knows what way, and wanted to share with you.

    About 4 years ago I had started a blog about conscious living. Some ethical fashion fell into my blog as well, because what would conscious living be without an awareness of your closet. I started with pure intentions- to have a place to share my heart, encourage others, and inspire women to be more aware of the life they were living- yet with time one thing led to another and before I knew it I had been trapped in the blog/ Instagram game. I felt that I had to keep up with the Jones’, do what everyone else was doing, and force myself to write posts for the sake of making money. Most of this was, because it’s what I saw everyone else doing, but the heart issue was that I had always struggled with “being popular” and this was just another place where the comparison game and crave for popularity took me under and tormented me with its appeal, then left me on the curb feeling insecure and ashamed… as always.

    After recognizing that my authenticity had diminished and feeling the insecurity that had come from my “confidence building” blog, I decided to set it aside and allow myself to come back to reality, push back on all of the things I had worked so hard to change in my life in the first place (the need to be accepted and liked) and allow myself freedom to just be me. I have stopped posting on social media and my blog basically doesn’t exist anymore, and I have finally come to a place where I am ready to join back in, sharing the truth of my heart, and encouraging women to not fall into this cycle.

    Coming across this post came at the most appropriate time, as I needed a reminder of my true intentions, how to proceed in that way, and recognition that there ARE still others doing things with integrity.

    Thank you for sharing your heart on this matter.

    Sending much love and respect,
    Kylie Ugarte
    (formerly bemyintention.com)

Leave a Comment

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

/* ]]> */
Don't forget to follow Eco Warrior Princess on social media!