Blog: Hannah AbdullaHow social media is forcing apparel brands to think green

Hannah Abdulla | 12 September 2018

Prada has become the latest brand in a social media campaign targeting its use of fur.

Prada has become the latest brand in a social media campaign targeting its use of fur.

Social media, since its evolution, has undoubtedly changed the world as we know it.

Brands are increasingly being called out on their flaws, the way they operate and if their marketing techniques ever offend onlookers, they are quickly and publicly shamed via Facebook, Twitter and the like.

Luxury fashion houses have recently felt the full force of social media users over their eco-friendly practices – or, rather, lack of.

But it is refreshing to see how the public is using social media to drive change – for a better world – in the apparel industry.

Just last week Burberry took a monumental step in declaring it would axe the use of real fur in its collections and would stop destroying unsold goods following feedback from consumers via social media.

According to its annual report in 2018 it destroyed GBP26.9m worth of goods.

CEO of Burberry Marco Gobbetti responded: "Modern luxury means being socially and environmentally responsible. This belief is core to us at Burberry and key to our long-term success. We are committed to applying the same creativity to all parts of Burberry as we do to our products."

Unsurprisingly, the move was applauded by its social media followers.

Industry peer Prada, has since become the target of a social media crusade spearheaded by Fur-Free Alliance, urging the luxury brand to abolish its use of fur in products.

The company received an influx of emails and personal e-mail accounts of employees were also targeted.

The company was forced to respond to the pressure, reportedly issuing a statement in which it said it was making a "gradual and concrete reduction" in the marketing of fur, fuelled by the fact it had not been presenting the products in some time to discourage consumer demand.

Prada then moved to say it had been focusing efforts on growing the use of "technical fabrics" including nylon made from recycled yarn.

Obviously, that's not as exciting as opening an announcement from Prada headlined "We go fur-free!"

But the reality of it is, a 105-year-old powerhouse isn't going to change the way it works overnight; particularly when it is still posting profit increases in the millions.

However, the fact that it has responded in any way at all to the pressure it has come under from campaigners and fans alike, proves the social media revolution is a very real thing. It is forcing the apparel industry to think more consciously about the way it functions and be held to account for its decisions and actions that impact the planet.

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