By now, most of us are aware of the environmental impact the fashion industry is having on the planet. But if you’re not, here are some statistics:
As reported by the United Nations, the fashion industry contributes to 8-10 percent of global carbon emissions and nearly 20 percent of wastewater, with as much as 92 million tons of clothing ending up in landfill.
As the world reckons with the looming climate crisis, consumers more than ever need mouthpieces to encourage them to reconsider their habits and ask the question: how can we make responsible fashion sexy, inclusive, and most importantly, cool?
With vintage fashion having a huge moment thanks to new kids on the block like Annies Ibiza, What Goes Around Comes Around in NYC, and Bella Hadid-approved Depop shops, shoppers are no longer confined to the griege, nondescript silhouettes that a number of sustainable brands previously favored.
Tackling this stereotype, a new wave of tastemakers and trend-setters are rising to the surface to show that a good outfit doesn’t have to compromise on aesthetics. Think color, think Fendi baguettes, think one-of-a-kind pieces: these style arbiters are advocating against the churn of fast fashion, and are using their outfits to make an impact.
Here, in our new KOL tracker column, Jing Daily breaks down five key opinion leaders and influencers redefining what it means to be a climate advocate, proving that we can all play our part in saving the world – and wear nice shoes while we do it.
Mia Regan (aka Mimimoocher)
Social relevance: 605k on Instagram, 311.9k on TikTok
Who are they: You might not know Mia Regan by name, but you’ll know her face from the JW Anderson Spring 2023 and Holzweiler Fall/Winter 2023 runways. The UK-based model, sustainable style icon, and girlfriend of Romeo Beckham has made a name for herself over the past few years in the inner fashion circle, thanks to her bleach blonde pixie mullet and penchant for a great vintage find. Recognizing her influence among Gen-Z’s in particular – Regan’s TikToks can rack up over 300,000 views on her ‘Outfit Of The Day’ videos – the 20-year-old tastemaker has already been tapped by the likes of Victoria Beckham and Icelandic outerwear label 66°North. She’s also regularly spotted front row at shows such as Loewe, Greek designer Dimitra Petsa’s Di Petsa, and Coach.
Their impact: While Regan has the high-fashion allure of any regular influencer, she’s carved a space out for herself by sticking to her sustainability credentials and being a vocal advocate for environmental health. When Regan isn’t on a shoot or the FROW, she’s most likely hiking in the mountains, camping, or championing nature over on her Instagram. It’s this that gives her a distinct voice among the Gen-Z demographic, and leverages her from a consumer to a climate crusader.
Social relevance: 143k on Instagram, 606.6k on TikTok
Who are they: One of New York’s OG vintage fashion entrepreneurs, Emma Rogue founded the experiential retail venue of Rogue in the city’s Lower East Side in 2021. Rogue’s personal style rotates around old Supremes and vintage GAP, as well as the prevailing Y2K style that continues to have the Gen-Z demographic in a chokehold. While the store has become a mainstay in the city, the influencer’s impact on bringing vintage fashion to the spotlight – and the streets – hasn’t gone unnoticed. In January, Rogue featured in the iconic New York Magazine’s cover ‘Reasons To Love New York’. She’s also been mentioned in Vogue Japan and The New York Times.
Their impact: Rogue’s eponymous store has caught the attention of celebrities and TikTok famous highbrows since opening, including Post Malone and model of the moment Alex Consani. This influence is felt everywhere across the metropolis. But it goes beyond the spunky aesthetic the spearheader specializes in. As Rogue kits out the Big Apple in her vintage fashion finds, she’s simultaneously spreading the word that sustainable fashion is the new cool kid uniform, encouraging more style-savvy youngsters to think twice about where they buy their clothes from.
Social relevance: 61.6k on Instagram, 106.9k on TikTok
Who are they: London-based model, influencer, and presenter Emma Winder may be new to the KOL scene, but her image is already making waves across the fashion-sphere. With a love for ‘70s, Winder gives off the allure of an original Gucci muse on her socials. The style-aggravator eschews the Y2K trend for true vintage fashion, as she is often seen sporting ruffled pussybow blouses, crimson tights, and grandma-chic gowns. It’s this flair at blending different eras of style and cultivating a truly personal identity that makes her stand out among the sea of Instagram copycats.
Their impact: Unlike Regan (a friend of Winder’s), whose content centers on her escapades to the countryside, Winder’s strategy is different. While her style may originally draw you in, the influencer often goes viral on social media thanks to her satirical, off kilter content that sees her running through fields of green while reeling off her fit checks. Winder’s niche blueprint resonates well with netizens who champion authenticity, but it’s has also caught the attention of high-profile fashion houses including Ugg, Maison Margiela, Marc Jacobs, and Mulberry.
Jazmine Rogers (aka thatcurlytop)
Social relevance: 101k on Instagram
Who are they: While other vintage fashion influencers are busy bidding on a second hand Chanel flap bag on the Real Real, New York-based Jazmine Rogers is busy rummaging through your local vintage stores bins to find a hidden gem, which she’ll then style in an Instagram reel later. It’s this relatability that makes her so successful in carving out a place in the sustainable fashion realm. Rogers’ content revolves around showcasing how sustainable shopping can be accessible, inclusive, and fun, as well as educating her audience on the nuances of the sustainability conversation.
Their impact: Rogers’ commitment to a more eco-friendly approach in fashion extends beyond her styling videos or commentaries. The spearheader started her own sustainable style blog, sustainablebaddie, as a place to advocate for more conscious spending decisions, spotlight slow fashion labels, and share the realities of sustainable lifestyles; imperfections and all. Tapping Rogers’ cultural influence, brands including Ganni and Stine Goya are now inviting the influencer to their fashion week showcases, as they invest into leveraging their own environmental credentials.
Social relevance: 124k on Instagram, 634k on TikTok
Who are they: With a penchant for vintage Margiela, Comme des Garcons, and Mugler, Jake Fleming has done his fashion history homework, and he’s encouraging his followers to do theirs too. The American tastemaker’s androgynous style wouldn’t look out of place on a Rick Owens runway, but nine out of ten times, his pieces are less straight off a retailers shelves and more sourced via second-hand hotspots like Vinted or Vestiaire Collective. The model-slash-influencer isn’t afraid to take a risk either – whether that be sporting a skirt and boots or flared jeans with heels – to show that wearing whatever you want really is the key to a sustainable fashion future.
Their impact: Fleming’s clean, tailored, high-octane aesthetic is a far cry from the fussy and kitsch trope that is so often associated with vintage pieces. The influencer straddles posting content between both his Instagram and TikTok accounts, meaning he’s built up a solid community of fashion enthusiasts who come to the arbiter for styling inspiration, such as how to transform one base garment into five different outfits, or how to turn a basic shirt into a tiered skirt. It’s this approach to championing restyling and rewearing clothes that secures Fleming as a one to watch on the male vintage fashion scene.