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H&M Sustainable?

Guilt. What a shitty feeling. More and more I feel guilt about being human in the western world. It was guilt that turned me into a vegetarian and it was guilt (among other things) that turned me into an avid op-shopper. I guess you could say that although a shitty feeling, guilt has its place in making change.

Ok, I don’t want to get all ‘Dear Diary’ on your arse, but there are times that my obsession with living a sustainable life can become overwhelming and stressful. Sometimes I wish I could unlearn truths so I can go back to eating meat and shopping frivolously at H&M like a large chunk of the western world.

Ignorance. Is. Bliss.

But as cliché as it is, it’s all about balance. Not that I can really preach about being balanced, but what I do know is that balance isn’t something that you obtain and just keep, it’s something you must continuously work to maintain.

So if you’re anything like me, just remember that it is impossible to live in this world without a footprint, and killing yourself with guilt over that is simply unproductive.

Speaking of balance, shopping at fast fashion giants isn’t the end of the world if done responsibly! Slowly but surely the awareness surrounding fast fashion is growing and fast fashion giants are actually starting to listen.

H&M’s announcement of world recycle week, April 18th – 24th is definitely a step in the right direction. If you don’t know about world recycle week, basically it’s an ethical fashion initiative launched by H&M where you can bring your unwanted clothes in shop for recycling and in return for each bag, you receive one 15% off your next purchase voucher, with a maximum of 2 vouchers per day.

But. There is always a but.

Of course I want to focus on the positive here, but the only way we can work towards positive change is to always ask questions. It’s so easy for a big companies to position themselves as heros with declarations like world recycle week and unfortunately, most consumers are instantly satisfied and suddenly feel better about their purchasing habits without looking for further information. But hey, that’s human nature and I for one can relate first hand.

H&M announced world recycle week to be from April the 18th– to the 24th coincidentally overlapping with the Fashion Revolution campaign. Fashion Revolution day (now week) is dedicated to raising awareness around the lives of garment workers by encouraging us all to ask ‘Who made my clothes’ This week was also created to commemorate the 1,134 garment workers who were killed and the 2,500 workers who were injured in the Rana Plaza disaster on the 24th of April 2013.

Although the motive behind world recycle week is a positive one, it definitely raises a few questions.

Why would H&M introduce World Recycle Week the same week as Fashion Revolution week, which is the anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy?

Introducing world recycle week during this time diverts the attention from the Rana Plaza tragedy and remembering the Rana Plaza tragedy is integral in driving change in the fashion industry, after all is was the Rana Plaza tragedy which brought to light everything that is wrong with the fashion industry.

Isn’t offering customers a 15% off voucher for their old clothes just encouraging the production of more clothes? I mean they really seem to be missing the point here right? the last thing we need is to create more clothes to purchase.

Image result for h&m sustainability

Of course H&M want to appear like they give a shit about sustainability and this marketing campaign is a great way to do so. But it is misleading to say the least. Due to the current technologies, it would take up to 12 years for H&M to use up 1000 tons of fashion waste, and the real kicker here is that H&M produce 1000 tons in clothing in a matter of days!

Although this is a good indicator that fast fashion giants are finally caving to consumer pressure, I think it’s safe to say that H&M have a very long way to go and we shouldn’t all go rushing to our closest H&M for our next purchase.

7 thoughts on “H&M Sustainable?

  1. Absolutely true! These are just gimmicks and won’t contribute to the real cause. Great to know how aware you are! 🙂

  2. I am with you on the guilt (and yes, I am also vegetarian!) In fact, I felt guilty when I bought a Christmas jumper in Primark last week. But then I reasoned that it was my first fast-fashion purchase in a couple of years, and most of my wardrobe comes from charity shops. Ignorance really is bliss! 🙂

    1. Haha! SpookyMrsGreen, I also buy my clothes from charity shops, and just occasionally I’ve bought a cheap T-shirt in a sale when I want a specific colour and its less than £5, competing with charity shop prices (which are now often higher than fast fashion shops)!

      T-shirts tend to look ‘worn’, grubby under arms, or with catchings if they have polyester in the mix. H&M admit they cannot yet recycle cotton-polyester, which is a great shame, as it is the chemicals in polyester, which eventually leach out into water courses from landfills. I shared a post about this recently:

  3. The struggle is real!

    I think at the end of the day it’s about finding that balance that works for you. It’s not the end of the world if you buy a fast fashion piece from time to time, I guess we just have to remember everything else we do to live sustainably.

    We’re all human living in this super complicated world of over-consumption.

    Thanks for the link to you blog, great entry! 🙂

  4. Like your writing style, your site and your post. I feel like I could have written it myself…the struggle IS real…I get ya!! 😀

  5. Tilly, I’m not so convinced either about H&M’s green-washing intentions. I agree with Lucy Siegle in your Guardian article link. I know they do have a recycling plant, but much of it is sent on to Africa. They were obviously using the date of Rana Plaza collapse to promote their initiative. Well done to them for starting to recycle, but maybe they produce too much badly made cheap stuff in the first place? I only bought one thing once from H&M and the quality and fit was so bad, never again. When you go around their shop, it looks worse than most charity shops, no style awareness either.

  6. Love this article! Although I do believe they are doing the bare minimum they can get away with, at least public opinion is shifting (albeit very slightly) and leading to more people want to shop ethically. Hopefully more high street shops will start to follow suit.

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