What I Learned About Content Writing from the Fashion Industry


Okay, you may be confused already. What on earth could content writing have to do with the fashion industry? Аs someone who has worked in both fields, I have a lot to share about the parallels between them. Once I’ve made my case you’ll see what I mean! You may even start drawing some parallels between your own industry and the state of content writing today. 

How it started

Before I start making the comparisons, let me set the scene. It was the year 2016. I was a starry-eyed fashion design graduate with big dreams. Brimming with hope, creativity, and ideas, I was ready to take on the local fashion scene. Nothing could stop me on my climb to the top of Istanbul’s textile industry.

How it went

Remember how I said nothing could stop me? Well, nothing except life and the limitations of the local fashion industry. Unfortunately, when I first graduated, I was not quite aware that the local booming textile industry was extremely focused on fast fashion brands and manufacturers.

Two years and a few Zara Men bestsellers – that I designed but couldn’t take credit for – down the line, I found myself within the fast fashion supply chain. It felt a lot like running on a hamster wheel – pressed for deadlines, sinking under the pressure to mass-produce designs without adding a personal touch; with low pay and with no hope of making a name for myself. Just another cog in the machine.

content-writing-fashion-industry

Designed by Ipek, but alas – the world will never know.

But that’s not what I wanted. I wanted an opportunity where I could put my creativity to work instead of mindlessly implementing trends. I wanted to speak to an audience and translate my emotions and wit into the textile on people’s bodies. I wanted to take a theme and make it my own, and if I wasn’t going to be able to do this through color combinations and silhouettes. I would have to find another way.

Enter content writing

This was precisely when I decided to pursue a career in content writing, probably one of the best decisions I’ve made. I finally had the opportunity to express myself and to entertain; to inform and connect with an audience.

That’s when I began identifying the many similarities between fashion and content writing, such as the mechanics of both industries, their perks, their shortcomings, even their risks and environmental impacts. 

Quality vs. quantity

We live in fast times. Fast production, fast delivery, and fast consumption rule the market, and all businesses are competing against each other to provide speedy solutions for affordable prices. But there’s one thing we often forget — quality. A focus on spending as little as possible to get disproportionally more in return, or purchasing more for less money distracts from the prospect of actually getting your money’s worth. If you’ve paid $20 for a pair of shoes you’ll wear one season, is it really cheaper than $100 for shoes you’ll wear one decade?

Businesses often overlook this fact. They feel that the most profitable strategy would be:

  • Offering lots of products at lower prices;
  • These articles are fashionable during brief timeframes before the next thing comes along;
  • Then they push the next thing on customers;
  • More models, more pieces, less quality, low prices.

This also causes an issue on the consumer’s end, because they’re constantly bombarded with new goods that aren’t of the best quality, which causes frustration, dissatisfaction, and mistrust in what brands have to offer.

Is fast fashion worth it?

We’ve seen this kind of situation in the fashion industry, particularly with fast fashion brands. Make no mistake, the 72 annual discounts and the constant circulation of “new” products are actually sales strategies to get you to spend more and continually buy clothes because guess what? Those clothes are not made to last. And if you’ve ever tried to wear a garment from such a brand for over a year, you’ll know what I mean.

Buy more, buy more, buy more!

This is how this system works: you buy an article of clothing and wear it periodically until a button pops off, the color washes out, or a seam comes apart. But by the time that happens, you’ve probably bought another 10 pieces from the same brand. They provide low value for our money, but oftentimes we don’t realize it because we’re so preoccupied with consuming at a high speed. Sometimes, we don’t even care – we just want change and variety.

But when we stop and think about it, we realize that the garment was a waste of money. We realize that fast fashion brands should do better.

But what if we spent our money on timeless pieces that could fit any style? Garments that we could wear for years?

If you do the math, it comes out cheaper – or about the same – if you buy less-but-better-quality than more-but-flimsy apparel.

fast-fashion-landfills

Piles of cheap clothes end up in piles at landfills.

Well, in the realm of content writing, we could compare this business model to content farms or even lazy, AI-generated, unedited content. Yes, while these resources may allow you to gather the maximum content in the minimum amount of time, how successful are they in building your brand authority? What happens to your voice? And how would your audience feel about the (lack of) attention?

What about cheap content?

AI may relay unreliable information, the writing patterns get repetitive, it has no take, style, humor or storytelling capabilities. Put it all together and you get content that’s not really engaging for readers. 

On the other hand, you have content farms. Content farms are notorious for producing content that is bland and subpar. The sources are often unreliable, the backlinks are inefficient and this has many negative consequences, such as wasting a reader’s time. They don’t rank well, either, as Google’s been implementing a series of algorithmic changes over the years in an attempt to crack down on unhelpful, low-quality content.

Even the ROI isn’t great, as most readers will swiftly bounce off a website if they encounter keyword-stuffed writing and dubious information. So while the content will be cheaper, the risks of using such content far outweigh the benefits.

Social and environmental sustainability

But it’s cheaper, you may think. And that’s precisely why it doesn’t work in the long run. Imagine being a sweatshop worker within a fast fashion supply chain. You work 16 to 18 hours on a sewing machine with minimal break time, trying to put together up to 500 garments in a single day. And not only that – you’re probably putting in all this work for a couple of cents an hour. There is too much work, too little time, and virtually no financial motivation. Expecting high-quality, well-sewn garments in this scenario is laughable.

The same goes for content farm writers. They are often given too many tasks at once, the pay is extremely low, and most content-farm writers admit to using AI to aid them in their writing. Even those that don’t or didn’t in the past, pressed for time and under a heavy workload, come clean about focusing on quantity over quality and not researching the topics they write on. We understand using AI to help writers brainstorm topics or draft outlines. We also understand generating first drafts and then rewriting them to ensure accuracy, style, and humor, even though we don’t do it ourselves.

Lazy content creation

But some content farms and businesses don’t employ human writers at all – they rely fully on AI. This may work on a surface level, for those only looking to continually push out new content and rank, but AI misses the mark when addressing real, human readers. It doesn’t “understand,” it just does based on a probability algorithm, which has led to the creation of irrelevant and misleading content. And as far as Google’s concerned, the mark of a good text is whether it’s useful and engaging for human readers.

Disinformation and misinformation

Considering the amount of fake news on the internet and the fact that AI uses internet data to generate content, imagine the dangers of using such services to inform readers. In fact, the threat may already be upon us, as a recent investigation by the anti-misinformation organization NewsGuard identified at least 49 news sites that featured completely untrue, AI-generated content. So trying to cut costs on content can dramatically lower the reliability of your business. 

AI-writing-content-misinformation

“The Eiffel tower can be found in Paris, Texas, which is the name of a Wim Hof movie.”*

*OK, we may be exaggerating.

The environment

But the downsides of low-quality garments – and content – don’t end there. I’m sure that you’ve heard about the environmental implications of fast fashion, it being the second-biggest polluter in the world after the oil industry. But a lesser-known fact is that AI is not completely green either. In fact, according to The Shift Project, AI causes more pollution than the aviation industry. So if you’re looking to lower your carbon footprint, AI is a no-go.

So, what’s the alternative?

Taking a step back and not getting caught up in the hustle and bustle. I know, producing the largest quantity of work in the shortest amount of time, for the lowest possible price is attractive. It’s the superlatives that do it for us. If I didn’t know what I learned from working in the fashion industry, I may have thought the same way. If I hadn’t drawn these parallels, I wouldn’t even be here to share my experiences with you. 

But I’m here and I’m telling this story because I know that there is a better way. I know that there are options out there where everyone wins: the worker, the client, and the environment. We can all have our cake and eat it too without causing pollution, disinformation, or unfair working conditions within our industries.

The audience wants something better, too 

The more consumers are informed, the higher their expectations become. A lot of fast fashion brands were pressed to be more transparent regarding their practices after consumers started asking questions. There have also been many reactionary movements within the fashion industry that provide an alternative to fast fashion.

Slow fashion

For example, slow fashion brands create thoughtfully designed and well-crafted items that can withstand years of wearing and trend changes. Most of these brands put sustainability and ethical pay at the forefront of their business. The garments are made to last and be worn for a long time. 

Yes, the discounts are less frequent and the prices of articles higher, but once you try on the piece, you’ll know you’ve made a good investment. You’ll know that you’ll be wearing it for a long time. The quality of the material is higher, the fit is better, the whole garment just looks classier and it doesn’t feel like you’ll tear a seam if you lift an arm. Doesn’t that sound like a much better purchase?

high-quality-clothes-high-quality-content

Forget diamonds – a high-quality, perfect-fit dress is forever.

Add more value to clients

And then there are other imaginative ways to add value to your customer base. For instance, some brands offer style assistance. The Girlfriend Collective is a great example of a sustainable, slow-fashion activewear brand that is completely transparent in its production, and also offers some super cute styling tips on their Instagram page! So they’re giving you everything, from information on how the garments are produced to helpful tips on how you can combine them for different looks. 

Another way that they add value is by making sure they offer garment options for underserved audiences, like plus-sized options. With their range of inclusive sizing and models, you know that they’ve got something for everyone.

And this is just one example – there are many companies that are challenging and changing the landscape of the fashion industry, making it kinder and better.

How does this tie in with content writing?

This mirrors the situation in the content industry – once you look, you can’t help but see it.

While the prices of content writing agencies are higher than content farms and AI, we provide confidence, reliability, ease, and a human touch – something that the farms and AI can’t provide. Storytelling, humor, a take on things and character are something only humans excel at

Content writing services employ professionally-trained human writers and editors, offer fair wages, and employ sustainable work models. We, for instance, assign writers and editors to a project after carefully considering the client’s industry, business goals, brand voice and character, and the type of content they need.

Such a mindfully chosen team can help you foster long-lasting relationships with your audience, not just through the first sale. Outsourcing content writing to teams that craft the exact pieces your brand needs can save you time, effort, and doubt, while building your following and growing your authority. Plus — you get to be as involved as you like.

If you’re interested in working with a content writing team that crafts pieces with care, authenticity, and voice – why not consider us? Book a call to find out more about how we can help you reach more people, connect with your audience, and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

 

Written by Ipek Ozener

Born in Ankara. Based in Istanbul. Studied fashion design and currently enjoys working as a content writer. Loves traveling and attending music festivals.


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