"Keep or return"? These videos that encourage over-consumption #487


While we are well aware of the disastrous effects of overconsumption and ultra fast fashion on our carbon footprint, a new trend is encouraging teenage girls to buy more and more.

After the rage of hauls (these videos where we unpack mountains of parcels in front of the camera) or the “Zara vs Shein” trend, which tries to justify the advantages of the brand. trend, which tries to justify the advantages of ultra fast fashion (Shein…) against simple fast fashion (Zara…), teenagers have a new passion: ordering and returning.

What is the “keep or return” trend?

The “keep or return” videos are pouring in on the networks. Their principle? Influencers order mountains of very cheap clothes (Shein, Boohoo, Pretty Little Things, Forever21 or even Walmart in the United States…) to try them on with music or comments in front of their community. The latter gives its opinion. If it is mostly positive, the clothes are kept. If it is mostly negative, the clothes are sent back to the sender (return). On TikTok, the #Keeporreturn has already accumulated almost 142 million views. Under the hashtag, many teenagers and young women show their booty. The program: the most relaxed overconsumption. “I know I have too many Zara jeans, but I never have enough,” exclaims with delight reneedrodriguez, tiktokeuse with more than 50,000 followers.

Why is this a problem?

Always more, always faster… “After spending 30 years in fashion, I’ve seen firsthand the industry’s impact get out of hand as shoppers move online, happily taking advantage of perks like free returns without really understanding what’s happening to the items they’re sending back,” said Whitney Carthcart, sustainability expert at Fashion United.

Overall, nearly 30% of online purchases are returned. One reason for this high rate is the addition of pre-filled envelopes to the package to be dropped off at a drop-off location with the clothes you don’t want to keep, an ultra-fluid process that encourages a light click when consumers shop online.

Let’s say we take out the carbon footprint of such round trips… It is important to realize that a large majority of these returned clothes do not return to the store shelves or warehouses: according to Fast Company, these clothes – already often produced in deplorable conditions harmful to the environment – end up in open-air dumps in Asia or Africa. In 2020 alone, 2.9 million tons of clothing produced in the United States met the same fate. A disaster that can probably be avoided… By charging for returns, for example?