‘Insta-envy’ Sparks vInspired Initiative

New figures released by vInspired, the leading site that connects young people with volunteering opportunities, reveals that 47 per cent of young people between 16 and 25 spend £100 a month to keep up with celebrities like David Beckham and Kim Kardashian.

The figures also show that 46 per cent have experienced so-called “Insta-envy”, explained as jealously towards friends’ or celebrities’ clothes on social media like Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram.

But at the same time 60 per cent said that they felt guilty about the human and environmental cost of fast fashion. These figures made vInspired and Do Something UK to take action together.

“Young people across the UK [are] encouraged to swap, upcycle and donate old clothes instead of throwing them away, and share their actions online with the #gettrashed hashtag” says Rachel Stroud who is the Campaign Manager at vInspired.

The campaign is now running online via vInspired and the initiative will also have upcoming competitions for schools.

“In the UK, 10,000 items of clothing are thrown away every five minutes,” says Ms Stroud.

“Young people were telling us they wanted to take action on the environmental impact of a throwaway culture in which we buy cheap clothes, wear them for a short time, bin them and buy more.”

She says young people ‘often get blamed’ for the increase of the fast fashion culture but that this blame is wrongly placed.

“They are among the most passionate supporters of environmental causes,” she continues.

“Get Trashed was set up to tackle the problem of clothing waste and show that young people can be some of the planet’s biggest protectors! We believe that young people’s creativity, energy and optimism can change the world.”

To launch Get Trashed, vInspired kicked off the initiative with a so-called Car Boot Disco at Ministry of Sound. They invited Kiss FM DJs to provide the entertainment and set up a big swap party with clothes which had been rescued from the bin.

Broadcaster and blogger Gema Ensenat found out about the event via vInspired’s Twitter feed and thought that it was right up her alley.

“Youth work has long since been a passion of mine,” she says.

“I try to do whatever I can to keep a hand in since leaving my teaching career so this event ticked all my boxes. It’s all about customizing clothing, which is one of the things I blog about, so what better way to bring all my passions together?”

Being slightly older than the typical vInspired youth, Gema still thinks of herself as a teenager.

“For me, writing about things like this comes naturally,” she says.

”In other words, I feel like I’m sharing tips with my mates, as opposed to ‘informing the youth of today’ what they should be doing with their free time. And as I always like to learn about the planet and ways to be greener, it seemed fitting to be attending an inspiring event and writing about that for my friends.”

So did she find any hidden treasures amongst everyone’s trash?

“I left a couple of dresses on the rack but spent so much time talking to people I didn’t get chance to take anything in return,” she says. “It was great chatting with self-made entrepreneurs, people who’ve literally crafted their own career paths.

“Years ago I remember being told by a careers adviser at school that I’d make a wonderful air hostess,” she continues.

“I remember thinking even then how limited my options seemed to be. It’s events like this that really help to open up a new world, not just in terms of being informative on the larger issues affecting the world but also in a much more personal way.”

Rachel Stroud agrees with Gema and thinks the Car Boot Disco was a great success.

“[It] had a great response and the biggest advocates of the campaign have been young people themselves,” she says.

“For example our fantastic Team V volunteers have helped spread the word far and wide to get young people customising, swapping, donating and raising awareness in their communities. Now the tools and knowledge are out there for people to take action in their own ways and help reach that 10,000-item target!”

Kajsa Wall