The anti-fast fashion influencer
Venetia La Manna turns down 95% of brand deals.
Embedded is your essential guide to what’s good on the internet, by Kate Lindsay and Nick Catucci.
My #OOOTD (Old Outfit Of the Day): Shoes from four years ago, top from three years ago, a ’70s skirt thrifted a few weeks ago. —Kate
Back in May, I wrote that TikTok had given me the “ick” for shopping. Specifically:
Video after video of Amazon hauls, IKEA bags full of thrifted clothes, even Emily Mariko’s frequent use of parchment paper that she throws away after using in the microwave for one minute—it all added up on my screen in a way it hadn’t in real life, and I suddenly stopped: stopped buying clothes, stopped throwing things away, and started playing a game with my trash and recycling cans in which I see how slowly I can fill them.
This also meant turning a more critical lens towards the creators I followed. It’s hard for influencers to not contribute to overconsumption when a chunk of their income comes from partnering with brands selling new clothes and other goods, especially when staying relevant means following internet trends and encouraging their followers to buy items that will soon be out of fashion. If I wanted to live more sustainably, did I have to withdraw my support for influencers, too?
Instead, I decided to be more mindful not only about the items I buy, but about the kinds of creators I support. Creators like Venetia La Manna have made that easy. The England-based podcaster and content creator provides all the fashion inspiration and lifestyle content that I normally turn to influencers for, but centered around sustainability, and not as an afterthought.
Venetia describes herself as a recovering fast-fashion addict.
“I was always going to fast fashion shops as a way to kind of escape the day or get a hit of dopamine,” she tells me over Zoom.
She now uses her platform to promote things like Second-Hand September, a yearly campaign from Oxfam to encourage participants to purchase only second-hand items for all of September—or, better yet, find new inspiration with the things you already own. She’s also the cofounder of Remember Who Made Them, a campaign in support of garment workers.
In addition to Instagram and TikTok, Venetia hosts a podcast called All The Small Things, featuring weekly interviews with guests. You can also find her over on YouTube documenting the days in her life, with a focus on mental health and slow living.
In this conversation for paid subscribers, Venetia and I speak about the complications of making money as an influencer who turns down most brand deals, and how she revamped her own brand from fast fashion-lover to fast fashion protestor. At one point in the interview, we had to pause because her neighbor came to warn her that a cow may have wandered into her garden.
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