Monday, 11 November 2019

H&M Has Demanded That We Don't Ditch Fast Fashion - But At What Cost?

At first I wasn't quite sure what to make of the headline that popped up on my phone on the 28th of October. I had to read it twice:

'H&M boss warns of ‘terrible social consequences’ if people ditch fast fashion'

Initially, the first thing that came to mind was that fashion has reached a turning point. Here is the proof that consumers hold the power over the fashion industry. A boss of a fashion business is asking customers not to stop shopping with them, primarily because customers are shopping less as we are realising the environmental impact of our clothes. The fast side of fashion doesn't work together with protecting our environment at all.
I find it incredibly ironic that the boss of a major fast fashion retailer is warning of 'terrible social consequences' as if there haven't been terrible social consequences for the people making clothes for under a living wage. Credit to H&M for planning to go climate positive by 2040, but if 'the climate issue is incredibly important. It’s a huge threat and we all need to take it seriously' as Persson so rightly says, shouldn't it be understandable that we need to consume less in order to protect the planet from climate breakdown? Or do their interests lie elsewhere..? 

I understand that there is some reason behind what they say. Fashion is, of course, an industry which creates jobs for garment workers and dividends for business owners, but it is the garment workers in poorer counties, such as Bangladesh, who will be hit the hardest by the effects of climate change. And, yes, we need to support workers in the fashion industry, but by supporting brands that pay a fair living wage and do their part to reduce the threat of climate change to the places where they live.
Fast Fashion has dried up lakes which were once used for fishing, polluted rivers which were formerly sources of drinking water with toxic chemicals, churned out vast quantities of greenhouse gases and left workers with little-to-nothing to live on. These are terrible social consequences.

The way you shop does have an impact on how businesses like H&M work. They care about your money and what makes you spend it. If ethics and sustainability are high on all of our priority lists, so will it be on theirs. If you are a customer at H&M, challenge them and ask who made your clothes, and how they were made - you have more power than you think.
I look forward to seeing H&M moving towards becoming a more climate positive brand.

                                                                                             Beccy x


Sunday, 3 November 2019

Interview With Andrew Ferguson, Founder Of Charitable Second Hand Store Re-Fashion

In the last several years there has been a massive shift in our attitudes as consumers, towards second hand, as well as sustainable fashion, although I think some people still have certain negative associations with charity shops and second hand. 

Re-Fashion is a great place for you to be introduced to second hand shopping if you are someone to whom the idea of shifting through a huge assortment of 'someone else's' clothes still puts you off entering charity shops. 
Maybe you just prefer to do your shopping online or have specific brands in mind that you want to buy from.

Whilst I enjoy rummaging through the rails for bargains in charity shops, sites such as Re-Fashion and Depop are a great way to make second hand shopping attractive and accessible to more people using all of the benefits of an online store.
You can shop clothes from high street and designer brands at a fraction of the shop price whilst a percentage of the money from your purchase goes to support charities such as Breast Cancer Care and Make A Wish, giving charities an alternative platform for fundraising if they are unable to open a shop on the high street.
                                       1. What led you to start Re-Fashion?

We were already running high-street charity shops for Breast Cancer Care before starting Re-Fashion. Our goal was to make them fantastic places to shop, aligning the experience with great retailers rather than charity shops. We soon realised we could replicate this online and create an even better experience by using e-commerce functionality, like search sort and filters. Some people love rummaging rails but a lot of people like just seeing all the skirts in their size. Online you can do that easily. Once we had the technology and logistics in place we knew we could offer our service to multiple charities and bring them online. We’re particularly keen to offer our platform to organisations that can’t afford to be on the high-street, which by the way is 99% of UK charities! Donating clothes is such a great way to give and it means that they too can now benefit from this action.

       2. How do you think a site like Re-fashion can change perceptions of second-hand clothes?

There’s a generation of customers who view used clothes in a positive light. Sustainable fashion is important part of their purchase decision and they see second-hand almost as a status symbol. But a lot of people don’t and we want to change this mind-set by flipping the negative baggage ‘second-hand fashion’ comes with. We do this by making Re-Fashion feel like their other online destinations they’re used to. These could be anything from ASOS to Net-A-Porter. So we spend a lot of time on photography, design and user experience to make our brand feel premium and trustworthy. We know that once these consumers, who might be sitting on the fence, experience high quality second-hand they never look back.

                                             3. How do you source clothing?

Although we do stock some high-street surplus items nearly all of the clothes are donated. People hear about us through word of mouth or come to the website looking to buy, see that they can donate and so order a bag. We like this as it promotes circular fashion and encourages our customers to recycle as well as consume.

                                  4. Have you always shopped in charity shops?

I used to shop vintage jeans through charity shops when I was a student but I’m pretty tall so it was a challenge. I see such amazing women’s clothes getting sent to Re-Fashion I can’t wait for us to do a mens’ version so I can become a loyal customer :-)

                  5. What is your favourite piece of clothing that you have been sent?                                                                                     Have you had any surprises?

We receive lots of generous donations but one stands out from a woman decluttering her house who gave us 20 full bin liners of the most fabulous on-trend clothes. It ranged from boutique labels to big designer brands and was such a thrill going through each bag wondering what amazing item you would pick out next. Everyone was a humdinger and they’ve nearly all sold out on our site.

                                                     6. Describe your typical working day.

Being a start-up with so many things going on no one day is ever the same. It can flip from defining our Facebook advertising strategy to sorting though a donation bag of clothes ready for listing. We’re a small but growing team and everyone is hands-on which makes the job varied but very rewarding.

Thank you Andrew for answering my questions about Re-Fashion! I am also excited to see the result of your collaboration with Sustainable Streetwear brand Quillattire!

Why not continue to shop your favourite High-Street and designer brands, but more sustainably on Re-Fashion?

                           Beccy x

Blogger Template Created by pipdig