8 Fashion activists to follow on Instagram

8 Fashion activists to follow on Instagram


Text: Stephanie Boey

Image: Getty Images

Need a head start on fashion activism? Let these activists lead the way.

Fashion ethics and sustainability is no new topic in the 21st century. The global climate crisis has shed light on overflowing landfills as a result of overconsumption as well as the harmful effects of some. It's a hard pill to swallow knowing that the effects our clothes have on the environment can be detrimental. It takes approximately 2,700 litres of water to make a single cotton t-shirt, and 7,600 litres to make a pair of jeans.

Collectively, the fashion industry has made significant impact on the environment. Yes, the earth as a biological system is able to heal itself. Unfortunately, at the pace that we are going and the lifestyle of overconsumption, the detrimental effects are far too great to be reversed on their own. 

Over on to the social aspect, the welfare of garment industry workers continues to be a pressing matter. Reports of less than stellar working conditions, incredibly low wages and long working hours continue to plague the industry. In 2013, the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh collapsed during with workers inside, leading up to staggering death toll of 1,134. 

However, not all hope is lost. With a collected effort, change can be a reality. The first step in to fixing these issues is to be as informed as possible. Below are eight prominent figures in the fashion industry who are passionate about implementing positive change to reshape the way the system is built. No feat is too great when we work together.

Sasibai Kimis

Sasibai balances her time in between being the coordinator of Fashion Revolution Malaysia and founder of Earth Heir, a local fair-trade heritage brand. She believes in total transparency in manufacturing supply chains and traceability, and puts these principles into practice at Earth Heir where she works with local artisans to produce weaved products.

*We spoke to Sasibai for a session on fashion ethics and sustainability during BURO Hangouts Live. Watch the interview here

Laura Francois

The Canadian native focuses on co-design and community building, and has worked with globally empowering start-ups, non-profits and governments to maximise sustainability. Using creative methods in business for good, Francois is gifted with storytelling and raises awareness on the unfair treatment of factory workers.

Cameron Russell

The fashion model uses her prominent place in the industry to inflict positive change where she can. She is very vocal about her opinions about the industry in which she works in. In 2012, she opened up about her experiences as a model during a TedTalk which has raked 33 million views to date. Her feed is an amalgamation of her life in the glitzy world of fashion, grounded by her maternal duties and passions about fair trade, climate crisis and model welfare.

Céline Semaan

Founder of The Slow Factory, a foundation that strives to bring light to the environmental and social impact of fashion, Semaan has been invited to speak at The United Nations about sustainability. She educates her Instagram followers by sharing the latest headlines in the industry and for each headline she reports on, she includes a detailed monologue on her ideas and solutions.

Clare Press

The fashion editor and author has penned two books on fashion activism: Wardrobe Crisis in 2016 and Rise and Resist in 2018. As an avid fashion fan, Press illustrates how one can still be head over heels for fashion, while being socially and environmentally responsible. Hit follow for wit, wisdom and quirky OOTDs.

Livia Firth

If her last name rings a bell it may be because her other half is none other than British actor, Colin Firth. Founder and creative director of Eco Age, the fashion activist is a self-proclaimed "professional agitator" when it comes to her resistance and persistence in changing the fashion system.

Karla Welch

A name that may already be familiar to true fashion enthusiasts. Welch is a celebrity stylist to the stars with the likes of Tracee Ellie Ross, Olivia Wilde, and Amandla Stenberg to name a few. Having a say in which brands are represented and worn to the red carpet, she hones her influential position with seriousness, by using her platform to spread awareness on climate change and other political issues.

Orsola de Castro

The harrowing event of the Rana Plaza disaster inspired the birth of the Fashion Revolution, founded by De Castro in 2013. Since then, the revolution has ignited a global spark resulting in a collective that involves 91 countries. Her fighting spirit is a formidable one, as she continues to create important conversations about the imbalances in power on her Instagram.