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Organic vs paid

Model twins Brett and Scott Staniland reveal who’s worth following for authentic sustainable fashion content
'There's nothing pretty about wage theft'

Main image credit: Holly Falconer

This article first appeared in our Organic September issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published on 14 September 2022. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

Historically, the same handful of questions around sustainable fashion has always tended to pop up – but in the last year or so a new question has been on people’s minds: who can we trust?

When it comes to what we are served online and in the media – the blurred lines of advertising and editorial content – it’s often hard to distinguish who actually cares and who is being paid to look like they care.

Space for greenwash

The term ‘organic’ relates to content and media that is free – content that is shared openly for people to find. This tends to be the most authentic content, produced by people who are passionate about the topic and who choose to produce it.

Paid-for content is advertising. Brands pay for space in magazines, on influencers’ social media pages and even for people to attend events and product launches.

By paying their way into people’s feeds, brands are able to share shallow sustainability efforts, greenwashing garbage and wishy-washy world-saving wilt wherever they please.

We’ve questioned advertising for decades, but usually with respect to an advert’s contents.

Until now we haven’t needed to pay much attention to the people who are providing the space for the content.

The time will (soon) come where legislation will help vet these campaigns, however we should be holding big media – including magazines, newspapers, out-of-home space and even broadcasters – accountable for providing space for greenwash, too.

Who to follow

At the heart of the issue is transparency, but education is also important if we are to recognise what is genuine and organic and what is not.

In the meantime, we thought it would be useful to know some people who you can trust with ads and organic content.

These people care whether they are creating an ad or not; they’re informed, reliable and are most definitely worth a follow!

Aja Barber (@Ajabarber)

An author (Consumed: The Need for Collective Change; Colonialism, Climate Change and Consumerism), stylist and ethical fashion consultant with a plethora of knowledge and first-hand insight into the industry.

Aja holds regular conversations about the connection of climate change with feminism, racism and colonialism and working towards a better fashion industry with these at the centre. Also great GRWM videos!

Kate Caric (@SustainableOutfits)

Follow Kate if you are just starting out in the sustainable fashion space. Concise, informative videos educate around greenwashing, waste and consumerism.

Kate’s drive is to make sustainable clothing the norm – no matter who you are, what style you have or what clothes you like, your clothes can be made by people who are treated well and in ways that don’t hurt the planet.

You can find Kate on TikTok with the same name. 

Lucy Siegle (@TheSeagull)

No list is complete without Lucy – the presenter and writer has been campaigning in this space for years.

A regular on The One Show, Lucy speaks unapologetically about environmental issues, and is unafraid to say it how it is. As organic as it gets.

Marina Testino (@MarinaTestino)

Yes, a famous fashion industry name and educated at Parsons School of Design – though this model who burst on the scene in 2017 has carved a name for herself as a responsible fashion insider.

Four years ago Marina made a mark with the One Dress to Impress campaign, wearing the same dress to every event for two months (that’s a lot of events in this world) to raise awareness around the social and environmental impacts of fast fashion.

She has since used her platform as a creative director and activist to continue this work.

Venetia La Manna (@venetialamanna)

A slow and fair fashion campaigner, creating content across multiple platforms and outputs.

Host of the All The Small Things podcast and co-founder of Remember Who Made Them, which supports garment workers. You may have seen her fast fashion Recipe For Disaster videos!

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