Weird thing for a blogger to bring up you might think? True. The longer I’ve been blogging, the deeper my knowledge of affiliate marketing has become and as obvious as it has become that it is extremely important in today’s fashion industry, it’s led me to question to what extent it’s negative.
Affiliate marketing is undoubtedly a key component in driving today’s consumer culture. You see something on Instagram, you want it. You see something on TV, you want it. From influencers to TV stars, there’s no end to who can be involved in affiliate marketing, if they have an audience thats all that matters. Affiliate marketing has been around for ages but in recent years its spiralled and grown significantly in popularity. Take this years season of Love Island – all the islanders were wearing Missguided and every item was cleverly linked on the Love Island app. This is great for the consumer in terms of ease of purchase, there’s no need to hunt around for specific items online when theres a compiled list right in front of you. Equally, this is great for brands as it drives sales. But, at what point does this become dangerous?
We hear about pressure throughout the media to look and behave in a certain way and usually this boils down to physical appearance but people don’t seem to have such an issue with glossy magazines that are filled with more clothing adverts than actual articles, huge clothing campaigns on underground station posters, on the side of buses or marketing through sponsorship’s such as Missguided on Love Island. Feeling like you have to look a certain way has a great deal to do with apparel as well as physical appearance and the increase in public figures promoting certain fashion trends can lead people to ditch their own choices and try relentlessly to fit in with others. Trends of course, change rapidly and this constant need to keep up with them undoubtedly causes people to indulge in new purchases while throwing away perfectly good items of clothing.
As well as affiliate marketing often enforcing an image onto people, it can be argued that it sometimes excludes those who re-wear clothes altogether. In my previous post, I talked about the wonders of 21 Buttons (an app where you can make commission through posting outfits), but use of this app further highlighted for me how problematic affiliate marketing can be when it comes to ‘throw away’ fashion. For example, I personally re-wear clothes for YEARS until I well and truly fall out of love with them or they’ve been worn so much they’ve pretty much bitten the dust. There’s been many times I’ve gone to post an outfit and realised I can’t tag particular items of clothing because I’ve had them for over 2 months (sometimes even 2 weeks – yes, it’s that bad) because brands discontinue products so quickly these days.
Naturally, I can’t think of a solution to this problem since obviously I know shops can’t keep the same products forever, and I’m absolutely not opposed to using 21 Buttons or any other affiliate marketing (as you can tell from blog) because I feel like they’re useful, they’re current and they’re part of the ever-changing fashion industry. However, it has to be said that use of both techniques has really led me to question whether what I’m doing, as a blogger, is detrimental to both the environment and the fashion industry. The faster fashion becomes, the more damage is being done to the environment and the more the sweatshop industry is going to continue to grow. Both of these things are awful and while affiliate marketing can be great, I feel more should be done to combat these issues so that affiliate marketing has less of a detrimental effect. Affiliate marketing definitely has not caused problems such as these, but it can’t be denied it has contributed to the maintenance of them. Is it time we questioned the ethics of fashion blogging?