H&M’s ‘green initiative’, recycle your clothes for coupons
Collect a bag of those clothes you can’t bear to wear again- old sheets, curtains, old shirts and really any textiles or brands go. Then, take your bags of old clothes and recycle them in a bin by the register at the nearest H&M. In exchange for your threads, H&M will give you a 15% off coupon per bag (they accept 2-3 per day) so you can buy new clothes at a discount. It’s a pretty good deal for the customer and even better for H&M since they get free textiles essentially. It is just a little ironic since it is companies like H&M that have created the problem of fast fashion and low-quality clothing at cheap prices. At least they are acknowledging the issue and considering their impact on the environment and trying to make a change but if they 100% truly wanted to be eco-friendly fashion, they would slow down trend cycles, change their business models and switch their factories over to cleaner energy sources. This initiative is a start and I hope to see greater changes in the near future from them and for other fast-fashion chains to catch on as well.
What clothing brands are making a difference with eco-friendly fashion ?
Patagonia is a well respected outdoor brand that has shown a lot of love for the environment. They put emphasis on fixing old clothing before purchasing new ones, they even have a ‘worn wear program’ where they explain, “One of the most responsible things we can do as a company is to make high-quality stuff that lasts for years and can be repaired, so you don’t have to buy more of it.” No brand has said anything like this well, ever! Typically clothing brands are all about producing more clothes and making more money but Patagonia’s focus is on the Earth and they’re conscious of their impact and influence. Reusing and recycling clothes is the most sustainable thing we can do.
According to Instyle, Pharrell Williams, Project Vortex- a non-profit organization that’s main goal is “working with plastic debris gathered intercepting the waste stream”, and Parley for the Oceans, another organization that is addressing the overwhelming, global threat of plastic pollution all teamed up with G-Star Raw. They are taking plastic out of the ocean and recycling it into a streetwear line of denim that cleans the oceans, with their invention of Bionic yarn. G-Star Raw has put emphasis on creating clothing in a sustainable fashion stating that, “If we still want to be here as a denim brand in 20, 50 or even 100 years from now, it is crucial for us to think innovatively about the impact we have on people and the planet.” They are also very open about their processes and have their supply chain and operations on their website for anyone to see, holding themselves accountable with ‘sustainability progress reports’.
Stella McCartney's line is eco-fashion at its best. She created the brand in the early 2000s with the goal of being vegan and sustainable. According to InStyle, her London stores "are powered by wind energy" and platform brouges (shoes) "are made from certified-sustainable wood and renewable resources". The best part about this brand is that many have no idea that the leather, is faux leather, and McCartney is just as committed to making stylish, bold and fun fashion as she is conscious of the environment- the perfect combination. She stated in an interview with Vogue, “I’m hoping what will happen is in 10 years, people will look back at the fact that we killed billions of animals and cut down millions of acres of rainforest, and [used] water in the most inefficient way—we can’t sustain this way of living. So I’m hoping people will look back and say, ‘Really? That’s what they did to make a pair of shoes, seriously?’ If you’re lucky enough to have a business on this planet, you have to approach it in this [sustainable] way.”
These are just a few mainstream American clothing brands I have mentioned, there are so many more! Many companies nowadays love to claim they are eco-friendly, but they are primarily doing it for PR purposes because it makes them look better. If you take a deeper look, you can easily find out for sure if they are genuinely committed or just trying to improve their image. Eco-friendly fashion is the future- it is conscious, it is giving back to the environment and using the least amount of resources and reusing what has already been created into new trendy items. If we support brands like these, then more companies will catch on and begin to do the same.