TikTok is a video-sharing app that hosts an international community of over one billion active users monthly (Social Pilot). It grew in popularity during the pandemic, and while it was known for its viral dance routines early on, it is now full of a highly diverse range of content. Oftentimes, authenticity is what many users describe as their connection to the platform and its creators, especially compared to other social media competitors like Instagram, “the app to flex” or show off, as mentioned in an article by Vogue.

@masegomorgan Outfits of the week (pt.6) 🌸 #ootw #ootd #outfitideas #outiftsinspo #slowfashion #thriftedfashion #sustainablefashion #ethicalfashion ♬ Please Don’t Go – Mike Posner

Creator sharing thrifted outfit inspo

In an article on 2024 TikTok statistics, the Social Pilot noted, “TikTok creators utilize social media capabilities to talk about difficult topics, advocate for change, and educate their viewers on various niches.”  As referenced in Cotton Brazil’s denim and sustainability trends blog, trend forecaster Shannon Reddy, mentions, “[around] 60% of users who go on Instagram or TikTok want to learn something”.

Among the diverse content categories, sustainable fashion is among many topics users can learn about.  

TikTok and Sustainability 

TikTok’s unique format and algorithms have enabled sustainability-related content to reach a vast audience of users. Around 60% of users are Gen Z, but the app continues to grow for all ages (Social Pilot). Short-form videos on thrifting, upcycling projects, sustainable fashion brands, and eco-friendly lifestyle tips have gained widespread engagement and increased user awareness about environmental issues.

Secondhand Shopping and Thrift Hauls

Many creators have grown in popularity for sharing their “hauls” –a popular term on the platform where they share their most recent purchases.  While hauls have historically glorified overconsumption and fast fashion, many “sustainable girlies” have now entered the chat, opting to share their “thrift hauls” instead. (Girlie is similar to the TikTok jargon of bestie and doesn’t necessarily encompass gender but instead insinuates a creator’s peer quality and familiarity with their audience/community.) 

@sheeensworld lmk if i should have gotten that trench🤧 #comethriftwithme #thrifthaul #thrifthomedecor #thrifting #thriftedfashion ♬ original sound – 🦆

Creator sharing thrift experience

The hashtag #thrifthaul has amassed a staggering 5.1 billion views, emphasizing the trend’s popularity. Thrift stores offer previously owned items, ranging from apparel to household items, and are donation-based. 

@maheafrecent recycled gems ⭒♬ i like the way you kiss me – Artemas

Creator sharing thrift haul

Additional categories of secondhand shopping include consignment stores and online resellers like Depop, Poshmark, and eBay, among many others. According to Vogue Business, “Online secondhand platform Thredup says the resale market will be worth $350 billion by 2027 [and] Gen Z will be leading the way.”


In the past, shopping secondhand was typically reserved for people with lower incomes or the gatekept secret among friends: iykyk (if you know, you know). Nowadays, socioeconomic status is not reflected. Instead, “for a growing number of Gen-Zers, thrifting is becoming a lot more than an affordable and sustainable way to shop,” as mentioned by Vogue. “The videos are less about flexing (that’s for Instagram) and more about indulging in the art of the find” (Vogue.com). 

Thrifting videos typically show the garment or item, share why they bought it, the price, and how they plan to style it or rework it.

@miammarquezMaking like 40 more RN !!! 👀♬ i like the way you kiss me – Artemas

Creator sharing a thrifted item and reworking it


Celebrating ‘the art of finding’ unique and less mass-produced items or finding items they can “upcycle” is another source of sustainable fashion content offering. Upcycling is altering an existing garment to improve the fit and modernize the silhouette. 

@indiarainreworked Behind the brand. I’m so excited for what’s to come! #fyp #fypシ #fypage #tiktok #behindthebrand #aboutus #clothingbrand #smallbusiness #womanownedbusiness #sustainablefashion #fashiontiktok #upcycledfashion ♬ Chill Vibes – Tollan Kim

Creator introducing her upcycling brand

Designers including  Sami Miro Vintage have built their careers on the concept of upcycling, further promoting sustainability within the fashion industry with collaborations with retailers, including Levis. 

@samimiro SAMI MIRO VINTAGE X LEVIS #samimirovintage #smv #collaboration #levis #leviscollabrations #fyp ♬ Me and Your Mama – ✩°。 ⋆⸜ 🎧

Sami Miro Vintage X Levi’s collab

Influencers Sharing Eco-Friendly Lifestyles

Some sustainability creators or influencers have leveraged their platforms to collaborate with eco-friendly brands, showcase sustainable living practices, and encourage their followers to make environmentally responsible choices.

Other sustainably focused creators have dedicated series highlighting various eco-friendly brands, promoting conscious consumerism and environmental awareness. 

@delilah_isabel For those asking for brand recs! 💖As always, the most sustainable thing you can do is buy less, make your clothes last, swap, buy second-hand etc., but if you’re looking to make some intentional purchases, there are some AMAZING sustainable brands worthy of your support! #sustainablebrand #sustainablefashion #slowfashiontiktok #ecofriendly #fastfashion #sustainableclothing ♬ ♡ ᶫᵒᵛᵉᵧₒᵤ ♡ – SoBerBoi

Creator sharing clothing brands based on fashion aesthetic

According to Business Insider, “companies are looking at TikTok for cues on what consumers are interested in buying” as the platform shapes purchasing decisions and influences consumer behavior. In their article reviewing thrift and vintage hauls, Vogue mentions, “As much as they are a voyeuristic glimpse into other people’s closets, they also give me a head’s up about what I should be putting in mine.”  

Environmental Education and Action

TikTok has significantly contributed to the rise of a sustainability-minded community among young people, transcending geographical boundaries and fostering global conversations about environmental stewardship.

@delilah_isabel Replying to @……….. guys i promise #4 makes sense haha #sustainableliving #sustainableswaps #ecofriendlyliving #sustainablehacks #lowwaste ♬ TEXAS HOLD ‘EM – Beyoncé

Creator sharing eco-friendly lifestyle hacks 

Amidst the diverse content on TikTok, a vibrant community of sustainability-minded individuals has emerged, amplifying global discussions around eco-friendly living. As environmental awareness and action become more and more important, TikTok sustainability creators are a powerful ally in the fight against climate change.
Creator sharing awareness about environmental issues while offering a solution with their fabric recycling program

Brands Building Trust and Empowering Choices

It is imperative for brands to consider their environmental impact and communicate their sustainability efforts to the world. In alignment with TikTok users’ drive for authenticity, according to trend forecasters, “honesty and transparency resonates… The best thing a brand or supplier can do is to just be honest…no one is 100% sustainable” (Denim Dudes, Shannon Reddy). Effort and action however can make a huge impact on the environment. 

Cotton Brazil is aware of the expectation of transparency and looks to the next generation of innovators. Their attendance at industry tradeshows and events, including the world-renowned denim supply chain trade show Kingpins, speaks to this commitment. Since 2019, this invite-only event has considered corporate social responsibility (CSR) standards while extending the invite. Cotton Brazil was honored to attend and host its brand activation for the first time this April in Amsterdam. The booth featured video footage of the latest fashion show from São Paulo Fashion Week, Sou de Algodão, featuring Brazilian cotton, as well as Cotton Brazil’s innovative QR code traceability initiative and alignment with ABR ethics and sustainability-certified standards. 

@kingpinsshow 📚 Knowledge is power at Kingpins Amsterdam! From sustainability to the latest trends, our seminars were a deep dive into the denim world’s hottest topics. Feeling inspired and informed after a day of learning and networking! 💡 #kingpins #kingpinsamsterdam #kingpinsshow #indigo #denim #jeans #demiminspiration #denimjeans #denimtechnology #indigoinspiration ♬ original sound – 😘🙈☺️

Kingpins Show official TikTok 

In a world where environmental awareness and conscious consumerism are becoming increasingly vital, the collaboration between sustainability creators on TikTok and forward-thinking brands like Cotton Brazil exemplifies the collective effort needed to create a more sustainable future.

60+ Incredible TikTok Statistics You Must Know in 2024 – Social Pilot

The Mesmerizing Power of #VintageHauls – Vogue.com
Unveiling the Latest Denim Trends – Podcast with Denim Prive and Denim Dudes
TikTok has become a ‘billion-person focus group’ that can make or break your business with one viral video – Business Insider
Gen Z will drive explosive growth in secondhand sales, says Thredup – Vogue Business