When deciding on the topic of this article, I made started by following the news (Quinn and Lamble 2007). Given that climate change is so topical and a huge threat to humanity, I wanted to report on an element of climate change that most people could relate to – shopping.
The fashion industry is exceptionally damaging to the environment due to the rapid and continuing growth of fast fashion. The impact this industry has is something that is generally ignored by most people (de la Motte and Ostlund), and so the article is aimed at women interested in fashion, aged between 18 and 24, as this is the age range that consumes fast fashion (Statista 2023).
Many people that shop with fast fashion brands do not acknowledge nor understand that they are contributing to the issue which is arguably due to most of the reporting highlighting the positive steps to battle the impact the industry has and, issues surrounding the language used when reporting (Denisova 2021), which does not help with the existing denial (Xifra Heras and Almiron 2019). And so, whilst there is still reference to the positive steps being made by designers and high street brands in the article, ultimately, I did want to highlight how this is still not enough and enhance understanding by reporting on the matter from a different angle. This was in line with the recommendations of Herbert (2015), suggesting that you take a feature story from a different angle
To be able to do this, I wanted to speak to professionals from the field of sustainability and fashion. However, it was difficult to hear back from industry professionals. Due to this, I wanted to localise my article to Dorset, so I sought out some members of the community who are passionate about climate change, fashion and sustainability. This was also inspired by Herbert (2015), who recommended that you speak to as many people as possible to ensure you are well-versed in the topic under discussion.
In terms of finalising my interviewees, credibility was vital to ensure this article could be legitimate and informative (Tylor 2015). Therefore, I wanted to find someone who was well-versed in climate change and sustainability. I researched some local environmentalist groups and came across Sustainable Dorset where I emailed asking if anyone would be willing to speak to me and my first interviewee, Susan Chapman. Next, I felt it would be useful for my audience to have the perspective of a representative of a sustainable clothing brand. Once I found Kite Clothing, based in Dorset I thought this would be beneficial as this provides insight into local sustainable fashion. Given the aim of this article to inform an age range to myself, I wanted to get the perspective of a fashion lover and fellow shopper as I hoped the intended audience could relate to this interviewee (Landau 2018). Similarly, this was also the intention when gaining the perspective of someone who regularly interacts with pre-loved and vintage fashion.
In both the interviewing process and the writing process, there were several legal and ethical considerations. Copyright and Plagiarism (Hennessy 2006) were two that were particularly interesting for this feature due to the inclusion of Artificial Intelligence in the writing and images. To ensure these laws were adhered to, I made sure that the use of AI was acknowledged and credited to avoid copyright. Furthermore, the use of AI in this article made me realise the importance of fact-checking to prevent misleading readers, potential defamation, or false information.
The shortform video I chose to act as a teaser to the article, giving the audience a brief background on the issues with the fashion industry and sustainable fashion, contextualising the article and enticing them to read more. I chose to film in Winton as this would be relatable to students who regularly purchase with fast fashion brands (Joung 2014). And I chose to use bright colours, specifically pink, as this will target the young female consumers of fast fashion (Saars 2016; Statista 2023).
The key learnings I have taken away from this process is how difficult the decision-making process can be – especially as I was both writer and editor of this feature. It highlighted the importance of choosing the correct angle to tell the story and making sure that the interviewees and interviewing process effectively communicated the aims of this article. Furthermore, the process of editing and ensuring that it is only the most important and appropriate information is included for the readers, which also coincides with the focus of the feature was something I did struggle with. However, overall, this process was exceptionally beneficial and an excellent foundation to build on in future work.
Enisova, A., 2021. Fashion media and sustainability: encouraging ethical consumption via journalism and influencers [online]. London: University of Westminster Press. Available from: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/j.ctv1kmj7g8 [Accessed 2 Jun 2023].
Hennessy, B., 2006. 21 Law and ethics [online]. 4th ed. London: Routledge.
Herbert, J., 2015. Journalism in the Digital Age [online]. Available from: https://learning.oreilly.com/library/view/journalism-in-the/9781136029936/015_9781136029936_chapter8.html [Accessed 2 Jun 2023].
Joung, H.-M., 2014. Fast-fashion consumers’ post-purchase behaviours. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 42 (8), 688–697.
Landau, N., 2018. TV writing on demand: creating great content in the digital era [online]. New York, NY: Routledge.
de la Motte, H. and Ostlund, A., Sustainable Fashion and Textile Recycling. Basel: MDPI – Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute.
Quinn, S. and Lamble, S., 2007. Online Newsgathering: Research and Reporting for Journalism: Research and Reporting for Journalism [online]. Oxford, UNITED KINGDOM: Taylor & Francis Group.
Saars, S., 2016. Using Color Psychology in Social Media Marketing. Digital Marketing Agency San Diego | Parallel Interactive [online]. Available from: https://www.parallelinteractive.com/using-color-psychology-in-social-media-marketing/ [Accessed 3 Jun 2023].
Statista, 2023. UK online-only clothing retailer users by age 2021 [online]. Statista. Available from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1178684/consumers-purchasing-from-online-only-clothing-retailer-uk/ [Accessed 2 Jun 2023].
Tylor, J., 2015. An examination of how student journalists seek information and evaluate online sources during the newsgathering process. New Media & Society, 17 (8), 1277–1298.
Xifra Heras, J. and Almiron, N., 2019. Climate change denial and public relations: strategic communication and interest groups in climate inaction [online]. Abingdon, Oxon ; Routledge.