Last week, we attended a conference on Sustainable Fashion through technology at the ESCP Europe Business School (report to come!). Amongst the speakers was Rémi Crinière, responsible for CSR at H&M. Even if we were a bit offended by a good part of his speech (Greenwashing hello!), I still have to admit that H&M is trying to repair its damages.
Because yes, judging the Fast Fashion big brands is easy, but is it the best way to make things change? I’m not sure. The problem is really complex and we all have our own responsibility in the environmental problems (we are the ones who throw away our clothes, and buy new ones just because we can), and social issues (because clothes are cheap, we’re fine with the way they are produced – or at least we don’t care, we don’t do nothing about it). So today, I can’t do anything but promote H&M’s latest campaign to raise awareness about the way we waste our clothes.
Raising awareness on the subject is key if we want the fashion industry to change and be more respectful of both our planet and the people producing our clothes. If there was no one to buy these clothes, they would not produce it. Remember back in the 90s, people boycotted brands like Nike, because they used children to produce their sneakers. Now? Nike is being really serious about this particular point when dealing with its suppliers. So we can do something, maybe first by stopping to give ourselves excuses.
The “Close the Loop” initiative invites people to recycle, by selling their unused clothes to the Swedish brand, no matter the brand nor the condition, in order to resell them or recycle its material to create new clothes. Beyond the environmental side, H&M showcases models that are not so used to be shown by big brands: from various origins, various shapes and sizes, and most of all showing Mariah Idrissi, the first ever female to be wearing a hijab in a fashion campaign.
I really hope that more and more fashion brands will follow H&M, as the food-retailers did when they first started to sell organic food, for things to start to change in a positive way.