This year for Fashion Revolution week we will be shining the light on different individuals who are working to bring change to the fashion ecosystem. Whilst remembering the Rana Plaza incident, we wanted to focus on conscious fashion revolutionaries.
Meet Érika Santos, an award-winning blogger (just a winner of the Forbes World Blogger of the Year 2019), influencer, psychiatrist, jiu-jitsu master, and stylist. But she is so much more than a list of accomplishments, she is a humanitarian using her influence for good. Find out how she has been activating influencers in LA to help get support to those in need and giving free masterclasses and training.
How would you describe your current mood?
Everyone has the same pain now. Right now I am creating an army of influencers who are ready to take action to promote donations, feed the homeless or old people that are not able to leave home, support small businesses, restaurants, and fashion businesses without charging - two clear examples are supporting @Olivetta restaurant here in LA - with the donations they received they are cooking and feeding people that really can’t leave home, and supporting @chefjfraser in NYC who made a t-shirt #stayhome and thanks to the sales of it he can pay his employees and support his business. My mood right now is to support the market and provide real and valuable information, promote discussions and invite doctors, psychologists, and coaches to promote emotional support to my followers, family, and friends in this period of crisis. This is the moment to use our voices to support all those who are suffering and in need. This is the real power of the digital era and it is our responsibility to do that. The ones who are not doing this right now really didn’t understand what is happening worldwide.
What effect has COVID 19 had on you and your business?
All press trips, events, and jobs have been canceled or postponed. But in a certain way without all that I would never achieve the awakening and understanding that I am having right now. I am truly connected with my purpose in life which is to do what I love and help others. I am writing a book for influencers because I really would like to share all the knowledge I have gathered in years of experience and help them to achieve their goals with excellence, values, ethics, and empathy. This is my purpose from now on: to teach others to build their lives with courage, truth, and empathy and train the market with newly prepared and ethical professionals to create a community based on collaboration and respect. This will drive our decisions from now on.
What effect had COVID 19 had on your supply chain?
Industries such as retail, restaurants, manufacturing, hotels, spas and gyms workers don’t have the luxury of performing their duties from home. Small and medium-sized businesses in this position instead need to manage expectations and develop new strategies to protect both their employees and customers from COVID-19.
What has been the biggest challenge during this period of lockdown?
Be patient. And of course the social distancing – the human being is social by nature, so it’s hard for us not to pick up our loved ones, hug and kiss them.
What have you done during lockdown to innovate?
I have been innovating like crazy. After a breakthrough, you can’t stop producing! Doing valuable work supporting the others in the pandemic world and realizing that now it’s time to do good using your platforms is so obvious and makes me full of energy, ideas, and action! There is no time for superficiality anymore. Quarantine is a time to support your people and absolutely add value to them. I am doing at least one Instagram LIVE per day with professionals like doctors, psychologists, coaches and journalists to support my people. This is the moment to use our voices to support all those who are suffering and in need. This is the real power of the digital era and it is our responsibility to do that. The ones who are not doing this right now really didn’t understand what is happening worldwide.
What small act of kindness has someone shown you or that you have shown someone during the lockdown?
With the quarantine and all the changes that are happening right now, I understood my responsibility to train my digital influencer market and I decided to organize webinars, masterclasses and mentoring free of charge for my community. There is an urgency - a paradigm shift happening right now - and I encourage them to tell their true story, show who they really are right now. Establish a real connection and really care and respect others. And I have received so many lovely messages that really affirm that nothing is better and nothing produces more inner fulfillment than to help others. Truly.
How do you think this crisis will affect the fashion industry?
Of course, it’s a huge crisis and we yet don’t know the real consequences of it worldwide. Their customers may be on self-quarantine, but that doesn't mean they can't stay connected and continue providing excellent service. This is the biggest challenge right now. From promoting gift cards and discounts to holding online events, there are several ways all businesses can hold on to and engage with their customers during this difficult time - if they manage to communicate proactively with their customers. Direct consumers to your e-commerce store, take orders over social media and be prepared for more people to view your website than in previous months. They need to realize too that most consumers are craving entertainment while being quarantined at home - so it would be a good idea to stream or video chat your services: go digital to continue to provide access to your customers who are sitting at home, wishing they could support your business.
How do you think you will need to do things differently in your business post-lock-down?
Things will never be the same. The coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on businesses throughout the world. But there is business now understanding new and cheap ways to communicate with their clients like for example webinars, which are a great way to host events because they are inexpensive, easy to produce, reach a wide audience and can provide you with long-term marketing and sales materials. Some companies realize that they are producing more with their employees working from home and some are investing more in their digital platforms and closing their physical stores which will be some of the big new trends in the post-Corona world. The way we consume will drastically change and businesses will be better prepared for a huge crisis. That is for sure.
What would you advise our followers to keep their spirits up?
What is happening worldwide brings us together as humans. Now everyone has the same pain and fears - everyone is in lockdown, in quarantine so the reality is inside the home and we as influencers should focus on images/captions inside and with suggestions about how to deal with the crisis, how to work from home (as some many of us have done on a daily basis for so many years), provide healthy recipes, emotional and psychological support, and spread photos of good actions and social work that we are supporting right now and invite your followers to support them too. Right now to post a photo on the beach with caption “good vibes” is just something so alienated - at least send a message of encouragement in the caption!
#fashionrevolution#whomademyclothes#slowfashion #sustainablefashion #fairfashion #strongertogether #fashionspace #fairtrade #responsiblefashion #bethechange #consciousconsumer #shoplocal #recycle #vintageclothing #reuse #fashrev #circular #fashion #clothesswap#lovedclotheslast #globalfashionexchange #swaprebellion
Learn more about Érika's work
Check out Érika's Instagram
Learn about Fashion Revolution here