More than half of UK shoppers believe that social media influencers are behind the rise in fast fashion, according to new research released by Fashion Retail Academy.

The survey of 2,000 people carried out by OnePoll on behalf of the Fashion Retail Academy, found that 54 percent of people believe influencers have at least partly caused a rise in this type of clothing.

That figure rises amongst younger generations to almost three quarters, 73 percent for those aged between 18 and 24 and to 68 percent for 25-34-year-olds, who state that influencers have at least partly caused a rise in disposable fast-fashion, which the research describes as inexpensive, mass-produced clothing designed to meet the latest trends.

Meanwhile, only 10 percent disagreed that influencers had any impact on the increase.

The Fashion Retail Academy added that influencers hold “enormous sway” over what people wear by posting pictures of themselves in a variety of outfits on social media, which they add are often not seen wearing the same thing twice. They also add that social media, especially Instagram has made it even easier for consumers to make an instant purchase by using swipe up or affiliate links, which they often earn commission on when someone makes a purchase.

The research shows that photo-sharing site Instagram has grown into one of the top sources of fashion inspiration, with nearly a fifth (17 percent) of people using it to find the latest trends compared to just 8 percent five years ago.

Adverts on social media have also grown more influential as 13 percent of people say they have an impact on their fashion-buying decisions, compared to 7 percent five years ago.

However, the research notes that friends and family have remained the main sources of inspiration, and are most likely to have an impact on fashion choices for a quarter (26 percent) of people. While shop windows are also still an important source of inspiration, with more than a fifth (21 percent) of people admitting that they still turn to shop windows for inspiration to help style their outfits.

Lee Lucas, principal and chief executive of the Fashion Retail Academy, said in a statement: “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.

“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.”

 

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