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Yesterday, the New York Times exposed H&M Herald Square's practice of slashing unwanted clothing (coats included) before throwing it in the trash. Now, the Swedish mega-retailer tells the paper that it will waste no more:
“It will not happen again,” said Nicole Christie, a spokeswoman for H & M in New York. “We are committed 100 percent to make sure this practice is not happening anywhere else, as it is not our standard practice.”Christie also said that H&M has a policy of donating unused clothing to charity. This is roughly the same message that the company released on Facebook yesterday after people started plastering their wall with blog posts (ours included) condemning the Herald Square store. It's also worth noting that H&M has been a trending topic on Twitter for almost 24 hours now. Good job, internet!
That said, as a reader points out, the social problems caused by H&M and its fast fashion brethren go far beyond this one incident. From the comments section:
It's time to address the bigger consequences of fast fashion. While it may be comforting to think that clothing donation is the answer to our ravenous consumption patterns, even clothing donation can be harmful.
In Africa, tons of used clothing from the West gets delivered to poor countries. This effort has good intentions, but also negative ramifications. The cheap and free clothing has hurt local weavers/clothes makers, putting them out of business because people can get free, used clothing instead. This creates more poverty and a downward spiral, with increased dependence on the West.
So next time you buy that trendy H&M or Forever 21 garment that will go out of style in a month, think about the environment and global consequences of adding to that growing garbage heap that must end up somewhere—be it a slashed-up pile in a NYC dumpster or a market in Africa, damaging local economies.So what's the solution? Shop only in vintage stores? Buy only well-made designer clothing? Stop shopping entirely? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
· A Clothing Clearance Where More Than Just the Prices Have Been Slashed [NYT]
· Clothing Retailer Says It Will No Longer Destroy Unworn Garments [NYT]
· H&M Responds to Herald Square Trashgate [Racked]