Navigating Sustainable Fashion in the World of TikTok and Overcoming Overconsumption

Bianca Foley 

Platforms like TikTok have become more than just avenues for entertainment; they wield the power to shape societal trends and consumer behaviours. While these platforms offer a stage for influencers to champion sustainable living, they concurrently expose audiences to an onslaught of trends, challenges, and product promotions, perpetuating a culture of instant gratification and impulsive buying. 

TikTok’s meteoric rise to popularity has been nothing short of phenomenal, with users spending an average of over 95 minutes per day on the app. However, this surge in engagement also comes at a cost, as trends and challenges sweep through the platform like wildfire, compelling users to participate in a cycle of constant novelty and consumption. The virality of content on TikTok is staggering, with popular challenges garnering millions of views within hours. This incessant churn of content not only normalises but glamorises a lifestyle characterised by the rapid acquisition of goods and the pursuit of fleeting trends.

The statistics paint a stark picture of TikTok’s influence on consumer behaviour, with research indicating that over 72% of users have made impulse purchases influenced by the platform.  Hudi Charin, stands out for her advocacy on @thethriftythinker, where she addresses the critical issue of overconsumption, especially within the realm of fashion. Content shared across social platforms is becoming more fast-paced and an estimated 95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram alone per day.  As a result, social media itself has emerged as a double-edged sword, simultaneously serving as a catalyst for conscious living and a breeding ground for overconsumption. 

Educating Through Celebrity Influence:

Charin’s success on TikTok can be attributed to her innovative approach in advocating for sustainable fashion. “Regarding my sustainable fashion advocacy on @thethriftythinker, my most successful TikTok videos have hinged on a celebrity, such as showing Kim Kardashian and Skims, and then suggesting a more sustainable and ethical alternative,” Charin explains. By juxtaposing mainstream brands with eco-friendly options, she delivers informative and helpful content while maintaining visual appeal through flashy imagery.

In her videos, Charin doesn’t shy away from offering alternatives to fast fashion brands, a strategy that has resonated well with her audience. The combination of celebrity influence, sustainable alternatives, and eye-catching visuals creates a compelling narrative that encourages viewers to make more conscious fashion choices.

Charin also uses a secondary TikTok account, @BigSisterSwap, where she adopts a different style. “I post less education-style videos there, and more videos celebrating the beauty of swapping with ‘unboxing’ or ‘pack an order with me’ style videos, which can also be a really engaging way of showing people secondhand options,” she shares.

By focusing on the joy of swapping, Charin connects with her audience on a personal level, making sustainable choices more relatable and accessible. Her ‘unboxing’ and ‘order with me’ videos not only showcase the excitement of discovering secondhand treasures but also emphasise the positive impact of choosing preloved items.  Her ‘Round-Up’ style videos are a testament to her commitment to spreading awareness about sustainable and ethical fashion. “I love doing ‘Round-Up’ style videos where I list sustainable fashion and ethical brands which viewers can save and then scroll through when they’re next looking to make a purchase,” she explains. While collaborating with sustainable brands may pose challenges due to budget constraints, Charin suggests creating organic content first to get noticed and then leveraging metrics to attract collaborations.

Keeping an eye on existing trends is crucial for staying relevant on TikTok. Charin points to Venetia La Manna’s success in creating sounds that accompany users showcasing their preloved outfits. “I think it’s about jumping on existing trends and giving them a spin,” she advises. Charin’s own ‘de-influencing’ video, which aligned with a trend from the makeup community, garnered significant media coverage, demonstrating the potential for integrating sustainability into popular trends.

Innovative Secondhand Opportunities:

In addition to her digital presence, Charin and her team at Big Sister Swap are making waves in IRL as well. “In terms of our events, we are currently offering personal styling sessions and pop-up sessions in our studios, using our preloved stock and our expertise in secondhand styling,” Charin shares enthusiastically. The recently launched bridesmaid pop-up sessions, featuring preloved dresses, have proven popular among those seeking an ‘eclectic’ bridal party aesthetic while being mindful of their budget and the environment.

Hudi Charin’s multifaceted approach on TikTok, combining education, celebration, and innovation, serves as an inspiration for those aiming to make a positive impact on the fashion industry. Through her insightful strategies, Charin is not only challenging the norms of overconsumption but also providing a roadmap for a more sustainable and ethical future.

Share This Story


Related Posts

Sustainable Graduation Gifts They’ll Love

When it comes to finding the perfect gift for these eco-minded grads, you don’t look too far; here’s a guide to gifts that will not only celebrate their hard-earned achievements but also resonate with their passion for sustainability.

Read More