In this op-ed, writer Shama Nasinde explores the hidden cost of celebrities promoting fast fashion, as explored via Bella Hadid’s now-viral $16.99 dress.
Model Bella Hadid sure knows how to serve a throwback look. On Monday, November 30, she posted a series of fierce Instagram pics with her signature ’00s flare. “Me myself and my @michaelkors Soho bag,” she captioned the sponsored post wearing a black quilted Michael Kors bag. But what fans really wanted to know is where they could cop her halter neck dress.
Bella’s slinky moss green dress featured a plunged crossover neckline that left her followers curious for the link. ”This dress tho. I need,” one Instagram user commented. Ask and you shall receive – or, almost. ”I bought it online for $16.99 I’m gonna find the link for u,” Bella soon replied. Twitter user @kissmekyake screenshot Bella’s response and posted it to Twitter on Tuesday, December 1. The tweet quickly went viral and social media praised Bella for being the generous friend we all wish we had.
Bella’s followers felt one quick purchase away from looking as glamorous as Miss Hadid. She hasn’t publicly shared the link (yet) but her openness to discuss the nature of the dress inevitably led to some online criticism. Some Twitter users commented that since celebrities can afford to shop ethically, it’s irresponsible for them to promote fast fashion on their huge social media platforms. “Not to be negative……but rich people buying fast fashion when they have the money to invest in sustainable clothes doesn’t sit right w me,” one user wrote. “Ok but can we please address the literal millionaire contributing to fast fashion?” another one added. For the average consumer, fast fashion is an affordable and accessible option – and sometimes the only option. However, when price tags aren’t much of a concern, Twitter makes several points.
It’s easy to forget the human cost of a cheap dress. Beneath the seams, there’s an exploitative industry fueled by trend-driven purchases. Just after the oil industry, fashion is the world’s second-largest polluter and its detrimental effects disproportionately impact young women. According to Remake, a non-profit organization working to bring awareness to the human right and climate change issues within the fashion industry, 80% of the workers behind your cheap finds are women aged 18-24, and many of them barely make $3 a day.