A look into #haul videos and their impact

By Brenda Odria

Remember last night when you unknowingly spent an hour scrolling on your favorite retail website? Loading up your cart with 22 items either to close the tab or actually purchase it? For people around the world shopping has commonly become a pleasurable pastime. With the internet and uprising of social media, it’s endlessly accessible where looking for one item turns into hours of scrolling and browsing online. With various articles on the neurological pleasures of shopping this is not surprising and Gen Z i usually attributed with having online shopping “addictions”, but we know this is ignorant and offensive to communities struggling with addiction

Photo by Denis Darzacq

A percentage of those browsers will revel in the popup saying we’ll receive 10% off after spending 75$ because that makes it “worth it” so we don’t feel bad for succumbing to the pleasure of buying ourselves new clothing. These sale tactics by large corporations function for the benefit of the brand, and others will say for the benefit of capitalism. Either way when we fill up our cart and see the 200$ total it’s exhilarating to enter in your credit card information and confirm your shipping address. The feeling of tracking your package and watching the countdown of 6 days until you get a text from FedEx saying it will be arriving that day or in the case of overnight delivery, that night.. Why is buying large amounts of new clothing essential to our culture? We love to show off our new jeans or dress to our friends only to get a new one a month later.

For the community of devoted online shoppers, the first step is admitting you have a problem.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’ve got the income, but if you also consider yourself an ethical person then it is important to educate yourself on how your habits affect the rest of the world. With social media and platforms like youtube, there is a trend in doing “hauls” where you might buy a lot of things only to return half of them. These 28 million videos featured on youtube usually present the unsettling image of someone pointing to copious amounts amounts of clothing and asking “should I?” This is where the issue begins, all of these piled up clothes from popular retailers is returned and usually never used again. These teens- young adults, then discuss in excruciating detail every item they bought and whether they intend to keep it or not, encouraging this consumption culture that has a large impact on sustainable fashion.

For big trendy brands that are fast tracking fashion trends to their stores, in order to do this they are contributing to pollution through synthetic fabrics and creating poor working conditions in developing countries. This is fast fashion, an idea that sustainable fashion is trying to fight but because it takes longer to make ethical products, consumers often opt for these big retailers. Brands are using fast fashion to deliver us clothing trends manufactured quickly and inexpensively to yield them as much money as possible as fast as possible.

As a fellow online shopper, it is understandable why these videos are popular, similar to the rise of ASMR videos. However these videos are consumer driven, possibly unethical and materialistic so should we maybe take a closer look at what they are contributing?

Because these videos and habits drive consumerism, these big retailers overproduce because of corporate greed and once again there is unused clothing that fills up landfills. Fortunately, there is another community of youtubers that uses their platform to support sustainable fashion through vintage and thrifting clothing videos which offers an alternative to fast fashion and probably will amp up your style.