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


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