Their newest conscious collection is inspired by The Louvre’s archives. It is the best one they announced so far, but I was more interested in the real sustainability of the pieces instead of the veil of exclusivity. H&M is a pioneer in creating ethical clothing and, for such efforts, they have been given international ethics award and were named as one of the best companies to work for. However, if you employ 850.000 Bangladeshi textile workers to produce clothes who are not being paid a fair and living wage, how ethical your company really is? To translate this figure in a more understandable way, about a quarter of H&M’s clothing is manufactured in non-developed countries.
Bangladeshi production, for example, is doubtlessly in place to keep the cost of their clothing so low, which is necessary to stay competitive in a market where there is a “race to the bottom” in terms of pricing. H&M’s CEO Karl Johan Persson even admitted that his company needs to keep growing in order to keep their shareholders happy, but also say that they do have a responsibility to “respect the planetary boundaries”.
You don’t need to be a genius to realize that in order to continue producing 600 million garments per year they must badly damage the planet in the process (even if the clothing really is made from organic cotton).
Clothing, not even pieces made of organic cotton, are not meant to last for ages- both in style and in quality. So, the entire conscious collection is not that sustainable at all in the end. It is, however, beautiful. Surely, it is also quite affordable and I can’t help but wonder are we- the customers- equally to be blamed for the damage made to our planet. We toss out jeans, T-shirts and dresses even if they still look good. So, ask yourself… Is that H&M’s fault or our own?