Problematic on TikTok is a weekly column that unpacks the troubling trends popping up on the popular platform and appearing in Daily Dot’s web_crawlr newsletter on Tuesdays. If you want to get this column a day before we’ll publish it, subscribe to web_crawlr to get the daily bullet of internet culture delivered straight to your inbox.
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“What do you think about the environmental impact of these clothes?” says one woman, reading a comment she received in a TikTok Live from Clothing brand Nowrain (@nr_girly_uk). “I have to stay neutral because that’s my job.”
The clip is from a compilation video by @thefairedit, a tick tock Account that posts about sustainability and Fashion. And the Nowrain brand rep isn’t the only one dodging questions about the ethics of apparel brands’ employment practices, labor practicesand Sustainability: @thefairedit’s video shows representatives from LaLa Fit UK, Pupagal, Go.GGFashion and Glamify avoiding reviewing requests made via comments on the brands’ live TikTok ads.
The brands mentioned above are “fast fashion”, which means that they produce cheap garments to meet the market and trend demands at a rapid pace. And this process comes at a huge cost: fast fashion brands have been blamed Overwork and underpay their employeesPossibly unsafe environments.
Nevertheless, many fast fashion brands use TikTok to do so advertise their products either through their own accounts or through partnerships with Content Creators– much to the dismay of TikTokers who have sustainability in mind.
Drew Afualo, who has nearly 8 million TikTok followers, faced the anger eco-conscious TikToker in April 2022 when she partnered with fast fashion brand Shein. Although thesetback didn’t seem likely to further influence public opinion about fast fashion, especially when Afualo seemed to take revenge on people who spoke out against her work with Shein.
But videos like @thefairedits’s, coupled with TikTok’s recent “de-influencing” trend, could only result in fast fashion brands losing their foothold on TikTok.
Disaffecting is exactly what it sounds like. More like a content creator influencing Getting viewers to buy a product, content creators influence viewers by telling them what not to buy – and much of it is fast fashion.
“You all want to be unaffected, huh?” @hazel_is_online says in her video Influencing viewers to buy fast fashion. “All fast fashion is plastic,” which the TikToker explains as “petroleum by-product,” concluding that anyone who wears polyester/plastic has “oil” on their body.
Why it matters
In addition to human rights violation Fast fashion brands have been accused of contributing to overconsumption, or the global consumer’s habit of over-buying, which is draining the planet’s natural resources. So a simple shift away from them on TikTok could make some difference.
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*Initial publication: February 15, 2023 at 6:00 am CST
Tricia Crimmins is the IRL Editor at the Daily Dot. She is also a New York-based comedian and an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She has previously written for Mashable, Complex Networks and Moment magazine. She can be found on Twitter at @TriciaCrimmins.
https://www.dailydot.com/irl/tiktok-fast-fashion-deinfluence-environmental-impact/ Could de-influencing mean that TikTok is no longer so dominated by fast fashion?