Environmental H&M

For years, I was a vegetarian, borderline vegan.  I abstained from meat, seafood and animal by-products such as eggs, but would eat dairy when I at out at a restaurant. All of this ended when I committed to the 2010 Lake Placid Ironman where I had nine months of grueling training and a tough 140.6 mile course before me.  Truth be told, I struggle with wanting to go back to that lifestyle – morally and healthfully.  And for environmental reasons.  Prior to my current employment, I worked with an Environmental non-profit and loved it.  I’ve always felt strongly towards clean water issues, waste management and recycling and reducing ones carbon footprint.  These interests often conflict with my adoration of fashion.  Supply chain problems, the amount of water used in the production of garments, and  the moral issue of labor welfare doesn’t always fit into the mega business of (and in my case, attraction to) fashion.  Until now…

Do you remember last year, when mega big box Wal-Mart and European based retailer H&M were caught red-handed throwing away bags upon bags of unworn, unsold clothes? They were not donating them to people in need, but throwing them out on 35th Street in New York City.  And to ensure the clothes couldn’t be resold or worn, they would slash the front and cut large holes in the garments, including the fingers off of gloves and holes through the soles of shoes. After several days of “no response” H&M promised to donate their unused items to charity and to never partake in the same activity again.  It seems as if they have found a creative way to keep their word and continue to grown their bottom line…

Late last fall, the retailer launched their mega-successful Lanvin for H&M line, which has been highly profitable and well received. Keeping true to their word, H&M is taking the fabric pieces from the unsold clothes, and re-purposing them into a new line called Waste.  Lanvin’s designer, Alber Elbaz is not associated with the project.  What do you think? Would you purchase these reconditioned pieces?

Photo from H&M

New York Times reports that one-third of its city is poor and with the Nations poverty rate reaching a 15-year high, it’s best to donate the clothes to those who really need them, and not those who want a more reasonably priced reconditioned Lanvin for H&M piece. While it’s a creative way to re-use the fabric and more sustainable than simply trashing the pieces, it’s not the best use of the garment.  Helping others, in the short term and long run, is the best way to help yourself…

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