It seems to be very hard to find clothes labeled sustainable from mainstream brands if you are not a pregnant woman. I know it sounds like a weird thing to say. But so is H&M:s conscious collection. It’s weird because it is so limited. Have a look if you wish.
H&M have had a huge boast about its conscious collection, celebrities wearing the clothes and all… And what do we get? Well, first of all, men don’t get anything in this section. There is no conscious collection for men at all. I do hope H&M is wrong and that men do care about the sourcing of their clothes. Women do buy far more clothes than men (two to five times more) but it’s still interesting and sad how market segmentation identifies only a very small part of women as “conscious”.
Secondly, half of the women’s clothes are just for pregnant women. And considering a pregnancy lasts for just 9 months, my cynical mind can’t help but wonder if this is a trick by H&M, trying to hide that it’s “conscious” collection is actually really bad quality, lasting for less than a year? But that’s too cynical. The real reason is probably just that pregnant women want to avoid harmful chemicals in clothes. However, everyone should avoid those chemicals, if not for your own health then for the health of the people in the garment industry.
I actually found a nice top in the “conscious” section. Right now I’m thinking whether I make a bigger influence if I buy the top or if I boycott the company? They say “the consumer is the king” so if anything will influence this company it should be everyone buying clothes. So if I do ever buy something from H&M, it will definitely be from the conscious collection. For both men and women, there are many small brands producing eco-clothes (my favourites are People Tree and Pure Waste). However, big brands such as H&M are able to make a huge difference because everyone already knows the brand and they can afford massive advertising.
66 pieces of clothes, in a selection of about (roughly estimated) 3000 pieces of clothing, are called labeled “conscious”. That means that they themselves regard the rest of the 2944 pieces of clothing as not conscious. That makes 98% of H&M is unconscious and therefore, unsustainable, by their own definition.
Do I really want to give even the smallest sum to a company that’s 98% unsustainable? Or do I want to give my money to the sustainable section, hoping that this would make them produce more sustainable clothes than 66 pieces (most of which are for pregnant women) in the future? Hard choices, I think I’ll have to contemplate a bit more about whether I even need the top. Or need is the wrong word, obviously, I don’t need it. I will contemplate whether it would make me happier and if so, how much happier?
After all, I prefer to buy second hand. I see it more as borrowing or renting clothes. I buy a piece of clothing, if I become tired of it I’ll just bring it back to the store and we are back where we started: no additional natural resources were required. I just love all the charity shops in London, I have to have someone take pictures to show you what I have found! But that will be in next post, hope to see you back here reading soon again!