H&M is known to most of us as a purveyor of cute, cheap clothes. But it is also the world’s largest buyer of organic cotton. Later this month, it will launch another eco-friendly Conscious Collection, and just last week, the second largest fashion retailer in the world launched the first ever global garment recycling program.
Now, shoppers/closet-cleansers can bring old clothes to any of H&M’s 269 U.S. locations or any store in its 48 markets worldwide. Any clothes, not just H&M brand.
In exchange, they’ll receive a voucher for 15% off the purchase of one item. This part of the initiative has been criticized as encouraging further consumption but really, what do you expect from a fashion retailer? As one journalist put it, not every brand is Patagonia. I would hope that people will be replacing a bundle of old clothes with one new item, which is a step in the right direction. The coupon also might be a necessary incentive to get people to participate in the first place. I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to wait and see how it goes.
But I digress. From the stores, the garments will be collected by H&M’s partner organization, I:Co, which will do the actual recycling. Clothing will be either re-sold on the second-hand market, re-purposed into cleaning cloths and such, or Continue reading →
Daniel Silverstein, the brilliant creative director of 100%NY, agreed to lend me one of his gorgeous creations for a wedding I attended over the weekend. Being about to launch Modavanti, I obviously like to take every possible opportunity to show off just how great sustainable fashion can look, and what better way to do so than with this dress from 100%’s upcoming Resort collection?
(I’m the one on the right)
The dress is just about as sustainable as you can get. Made from eco-friendly modal, the pattern is cut to be zero waste, meaning that every scrap of fabric is incorporated into the garment. (For more about 100% NY’s zero waste method, check out our earlier brand profile). The dress is also sewn by Daniel on an electric, energy-saving sewing machine in his studio in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Umair Haque likes Manifestos, and he’s written two brilliant ones in the Harvard Business Review that I was inspired by this afternoon.
The first is the Generation M Manifesto. Addressed to “Old people who run the world,” the manifesto is all about how our generation is choosing creativity and social justice over establishment everything. ”M” stands for “Movement.” I have long rejected the stereotype of my generation as apathetic (although I recently started tutoring high school students and can see where it comes from), and although I hear about young people doing amazing things all the time, it never fails to give me good-chills when my generation is called to action by one of those among us.
Is it enough that fashion designers have the intention of being sustainable? Well, no. But does it make a difference? Is it a step in the right direction? Usually.
There are a lot of factors to consider when making clothing, and a lot of steps along the way for things to go wrong. Designers have to keep track of the environmental and human costs of their products from harvesting the cotton or producing the synthetic to manufacturing, shipping and retail. Inevitably, trade-offs must be made. Organic fabrics can still be sewn together by exploited workers Continue reading →