WTF DOES ALL THE JARGON MEAN?




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“Sustainability in fashion is to make clothing in a way which could be sustained for lifetimes without damaging the environment or people”

Sustainability in fashion is to make clothing in a way which could be sustained for lifetimes without damaging the environment or people. This is a fact. It is not a quick fix or a short-term trend (which I’m sure a lot of companies hoped it would be), it is as a way of working which needs to continue forever. Sustainability is not just green or eco, in some ways they are similar, but they are not the same. The word green, suggests nature or artificial to preserve nature. Even though there are large elements of nature in sustainable developments, in order for us to meet the needs of our population and our ever growing and changing demands we need to rely heavily on technology and expansion development. Sustainability is much bigger than simply just being ‘green’ sustainability considers every dimension of the business environment including social, economic, cultural as well as nature

“Sustainability is much bigger than simply just being ‘green’ sustainability considers every dimension of the business environment including social, economic, cultural as well as nature”

Even though I am always saying that using better fabrics such as recycled cotton or sustainability sourced cotton doesn’t not make it sustainable, it certainly isn’t, however it is a great start.

H&M have just announced that they will be using 100% materials by 2030. I have seen a lot of negative comments on social media accusing them of greenwashing. A friend of mine asked me my why it takes so long to change their fabrics. A simple answer is that it takes a long time to change your supply chain. If they are using a new mill, new factory, new way of working then you normally need about 18 months at least to test the production run, if it’s okay then you can introduce more production into this structure. H&M have thousands of mills, and thousands of workers all over the world. Imagine what chaos would happen if they changed their supply chain overnight and it went terribly wrong. It would more than likely cause more damage, haemorrhage money and then go bust. 

Also, there are thousands of people working at H&M, it’s not one huge monster with one way of thinking. I know many people who work at H&M who have been fighting the sustainable corner for years, and I personally think that when H&M launched their conscious range, instead of all the negativity and backlash they got for ‘only changing some of their range’ If they had been welcomed with more positivity and sales, I think the whole of H&M would have been sustainable by now.

Greenwashing is a problem, retailers selling products and claiming its sustainable just to push profits, needs to stop. Sending organic t-shirts in polyester packaging, adding slogans onto t-shirts saying ‘NO PLANET B’ on a t-shirt made from virgin polyester. This is all greenwashing. 

“I would love to hear that these huge retailers are dramatically improving factories, mills and general working and living conditions, instead of spending billions on decorating a new head office.”

Even though fabric is a great start, I would like to hear more about transparent supply chains and paying people living wages. I would love to hear that these huge retailers are dramatically improving factories, mills and general working and living conditions, instead of spending billions on decorating a new head office.

I would like to hear that fast fashion retailers have cancelled their unethical E-Auctions*, cancelled production incentive lines* and buyers are encouraged to increase their sustainability practices instead of just pushing for larger margins.

After all is said, can we remember that people make our clothes, and as well as the environment, sustainability is about people and making sure these people are thieving across the whole supply chain, not just the people at the top table. 

I say, let’s not accuse H&M of greenwashing, lets support them with positivity and useful feedback to help them in their mission to make production sustainable. 

 

I will be writing more about these issues soon, here’s an overview in the meantime.

*An E-Auction is when an online auction happens from the retailers with many of their suppliers. The buyer does this to get the cheapest price for the best product and play many suppliers off against each other in a time pressured, English speaking situation. They use an open costing sheet and in my experience the labour cost is the first to be cut.

* An incentive line is when a special line is separated in the factory which is a speed production line. If the retailer needs to get product out quicker it goes on this line and a large digital sign is above the line so the workers can all see how many minutes they have to make the garments. Toilet breaks are a ‘tap out’ situation when someone comes and replaces them so no time is lost. I saw one in Cambodia (I will not say the retailers name). On this line, a jacket was finished every 9 seconds. 

 

All the love gorgeous people,

Frankie

xx

 


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