Social media has all but replaced big-budget billboard ads, glossy magazine spreads and TV spots as the platform best influencing content-hungry, style-conscious consumers. Across 2019, data culled from sites like Instagram and YouTube bore out several of the biggest trends and movements dominating fashion.
Mirroring resale’s meteoric ascension throughout the year, thrifting is taking over on social platforms as well. Secondhand power players like ThredUp, which seemingly pioneered selling pre-owned clothing online, and even veteran charity shop chain Goodwill are looking to influencers to spread the gospel of eschewing new for used, according to Traackr, which gives brands a marketing platform to make sense of influencer programs and performance.
As consumers discover the thrill of “popping tags,” as rapper Macklemore so memorably put it, some influencers have built full-fledged channels dedicated to showing off the possibilities of secondhand fashion—all the more important these days as nostalgic ’90s fashion has come roaring back with a vengeance.
Take, for example, Haley Israelov, a married 21-year-old college student and ThredUp partner whose more than 73,000 Instagram followers are dwarfed by her 440,000-strong YouTube devotees, whose ranks have swelled by 50 percent in the past six months alone, Traackr says. Posts on her channel share tips on how to thrift lookalikes of products viewers love on Pinterest, for example, or show off hauls of pre-owned back-to-school fashion. An October video documenting thrifted ‘90s fashion—including mom jeans, plaid skirts and denim overalls—garnered nearly 370,000 views, Israelov’s most-watched content in weeks.
Thrifting and secondhand are just one small part of the sustainability conversation on social platforms, however.
“There are a lot of power players these days in the sustainable fashion game these days,” Holly Jackson, Traackr’s lead consultant, influencer strategy, said, “and while this genre is sometimes about finding the obscure off-the-beaten-path brands, both Everlane and Reformation maintain their status as the table stakes” among ethical and eco-friendly labels.
Both brands have won over a new generation of shoppers prioritizing the sourcing, sustainability and style of what they wear, and though Everlane’s roughly 1,000 monthly social mentions led the eco category overall, it was Reformation’s content, Jackson noted, that drove stronger engagement.
Similar to Heuritech’s findings around the hashtags trending in the social sustainability sphere, Traacker found that just three tags accompany most of the commentary on platforms like Instagram. “While there are a lot of very individualized hashtags in this space aligned with different missions,” Jackson said, “hashtags like #sustainablefashion, #ethicalfashion, #slowfashion seem to be the ones that bind the conversation together.”
Diversity and inclusion have been big talking points in fashion of late, and Traackr’s data shows that one particular influencer deserves credit for “leading the way with making sure the fashion world is more size inclusive,” Jackson noted. Founder of The 12ish Style blog and Megababe—which sells products designed to solve “thigh chafe, boob sweat and funky pits,” former fashion PR maven turned body-positive blogger Katie Sturino “has inspired several brands such as Loft and Veronica Beard to expand their sizing through her hashtag (#MakeMySize),” Jackson said, “and has even managed to grow her mission into a collaboration line with Stitch Fix.”
Sturino, who created a capsule with digitally native plus-size fashion startup Eloquii years ago, “is clearly a success story as she has managed to quadruple her audience size in the past two years and now has almost 500,000 followers,” Jackson added.
Beyond secondhand, sustainability and size inclusion, sneakers garner a plethora of posts on Instagram and YouTube, with a cadre of male influencers helping to steer the conversation and keep popular brands in front of consumers.
Sneakerhead and YouTube macroinfluencer Seth Fowler entertains more than half a million followers with in-depth product reviews and videos delving into the nitty-gritty of sneaker design. @sneakershouts founder Ivan Antunes’ posts are more promotional in nature—photo captions often mention some sort of discount through a bio link—but both personalities “are among the top performing macro (500K-1M followers) influencers for brands like Nike and Adidas,” according to Jackson.
But if there is anyone who could be called a “hard person to ignore in the sneaker world,” it’s Sean Wotherspoon, whose highly successful 2018 collab on Nike’s Air Max 97/1 sneakers, she added, could portend strong sales for a just-announced Asics partnership that “will undoubtedly make a huge splash with his one million followers.”
“Similar to the trends we are seeing in the general fashion world, the concept of true collaborations and partnerships are coming to the forefront for the sneaker world as well,” Jackson added. “Sneakerheads will definitely appreciate the fact that even though this newest collaboration will be with a different brand, Wotherspoon is still being true to himself and designing the shoe in his signature material, corduroy.”