By Scarlett Buckley

From reality TV star to fashion brand connoisseur, Molly Mae Hauge has been turning heads and taking the fashion world by storm. Following the announcement of Molly Mae becoming the new Creative Director for Pretty Little Thing, the internet did its thing, and the masses took to their social medias to express their opinions.

Image courtesy of The Evening Standard

It’s clear that the announcement has sparked controversy and conversation over social media, with many posing the question, is Molly Mae a worthy creative director? Some would say she deserved the role, whereas others would question her reliability due to a lack of experience within the industry. In this instance, many believed it was unfair to take the position from hardworking loyal employees, especially those that were in hope of moving up to this position. Whilst these opinions are understandable, it’s clear that society still classes Molly’s role of an influencer as an unattainable occupation. If the star was to work a 9-5 office job, it’s likely that the online response would be of a more positive nature, but why? Does society find it hard to accept that ‘influencers’ work just as hard as those in more conventional work or is it an ode to the outdated nature of a degree being the only route to take?

It is without argument that Molly has worked hard to be where she is within the fashion industry.  Making her name from the controversial but successful reality show Love Island in 2019, Molly has since distanced herself, having not appeared in any reality TV since. With the help of her manager Fran from the Social PR, she has built an impressive business empire, collaborating with the liked of Starbucks and Instagram, even starting her own fake tanning brand and promoting numerable fashion deals.

Considering this, it’s clear that the backlash surrounding this deal isn’t caused by Molly herself, but instead driven by the brand she is collaborating with. The notorious fashion brand Pretty Little Thing (owned by Boohoo) is fast fashion royalty that causes huge controversy, particularly online. The planet is dying Kim! There is no doubt that fast fashion is one of the biggest problems in global sustainability, with Gen Z leading the fight for upcycling, Depop and thrift wear. For someone like Molly, who attains such privilege and influence, to take the role without the intention to at least address these concerns – is questionable to say the least. The brand has been continuously slammed for its unethical produce and appalling workers’ pay. The notorious dresses worth £12 set off major alarm bells on the topic of sustainability, and in conjunction to Molly’s seven figure deal it is clear to see the outrage transpire.

Image courtesy of Twitter

Fashion conglomerates such as PLT are changing the way they interpret roles. Having a creative director that is somewhat ‘outside’ of the brand is a clever marketing strategy. Molly doesn’t exist within the Bella Hadid, Kendell Jenner sphere, she is somewhat human in her approach to social media and often mixes her designer looks with affordable pieces. So having Molly on board, who is famous yet relatable and has a helpful 6 million Instagram following – is a great business move from PLT’s founder Umar Kamani.

However, it is perhaps important to note that whilst Molly’s title is completely legit, the role is less of an operational one and more of a PR stunt – think of it like an honorary title. A similar situation occurred last year when Tayana Taylor was made the US creative director. It is ultimately a way for the brand to secure the loyalty of the influencer. They have reached the top at PLT and have earned a (reportedly) seven figure sum to go with it, so it seems both parties have a generous turn out.