// 54% of shoppers believe the rise in fast fashion retail has been caused by social media influencers
// Only 10% disagreed that influencers had any impact
// 1/3 of Brits turn to social media adverts for fashion inspiration
More than half of shoppers believe social media influencers are behind the rise in fast fashion retail, according to new research.
A survey conducted by Fashion Retail Academy has revealed that 54 per cent of people believe influencers have at least partly caused a rise in fast fashion.
This figure is even higher among younger generations, with 73 per cent of those aged between 18 and 24 and 68 per cent of 25-34-year-olds disclosing that they believe influencers can be held somewhat accountable for the rise.
Fast fashion can be described inexpensive, mass-produced clothing by a retail chain designed to meet the latest trends, making them prone to being easily disposable.
The academy said only 10 per cent of survey participants disagreed that social media influencers had any impact on the increase.
The academy added that influencers hold “enormous sway” over what people wear by posting pictures of themselves in a variety of outfits on social media — and often not wearing the same thing twice.
They also make it easy for consumers to make an instant purchase by using swipe up or affiliate links, from which they often earn commission when someone makes a purchase.
The research shows that Instagram has grown into one of the top sources of fashion inspiration, with 17 per cent of people using it to find the latest trends compared to just eight per cent five years ago.
Adverts on social media have also grown more influential as 13 per cent of survey participants say they have an impact on their fashion-buying decisions, compared to seven per cent five years ago.
However, the Fashion Retail Academy found that friends and family remained the main sources of inspiration, and are most likely to have an impact on fashion choices for 26 per cent of shoppers.
The academy’s research also found that shop windows were still an important source of inspiration, with 21 per cent admitting they still turn to shop windows for inspiration to help style their outfits.
“Fashion inspiration was once the domain of glossy magazines and photoshoots, but now more and more people are making money by styling themselves and sharing pictures on social media,” Fashion Retail Academy principal Lee Lucas said.
“These influencers, in turn, inspire others to head to the shops to create similar looks. However, not everyone can afford top-end labels, and so retailers selling less expensive clothes are their destination of choice.
“Many people enjoy sporting the latest looks, but we would encourage people to give charity shops any clothes which are still in good condition.
“This helps to lessen the clothing’s impact on the environment and also provides much-needed space in the wardrobe.”