mardi 1 avril 2014

Organic & fashion // What major companies do

These last days, three things made me think about writing this post.

First, H&M is going to launch on April 10th its new H&M Conscious exclusive collection and promotes it a lot, with a campaign starring the beautiful Andreea Diaconu (great model). Last year it was Vanessa Paradis.

Besides, for a school market survey I had to study Veja, the sneakers brand producing totally fair-trade footwear in Brazil, with all the more environmental-friendly processes as they can and using only organic materials.

Moreover, I've been at H&M to do some spotting for spring shopping, and I tried a lot of basic and fluid tees. And I realized that many of the items I liked were labelled "Conscious".
What is Conscious H&M(click)? It has been now a long time(since 2004)that H&M proposes many items made in organic cotton and try to promote a more environment-friendly production and image.
Conscious is also the whole concept and organization in which H&M committed in many fields : water, education and women strengthening "Make a difference", you can read more here.
I don't know if you heard about it but lately H&M collected your old clothes to recycle them and in exchange they gave you vouchers for shopping.

Being one of the biggest importer of cotton in the clothing industry, that seems to be relevant and responsible.

Of course many other brands (focused on organic materials) propose ecologic clothes, but it is still a niche, that, sometimes, represent higher prices. What I appreciate is that H&M is a high-street fashion brand that reaches everybody with very low prices and a distribution channel so huge. Everybody can buy "Conscious" clothes.

If you go on their e-shop (yeah and if you're french you must be excited since they finally launched it!) you can see how many clothes are "conscious". And they have the objective to have all their item made with organic cotton by 2020.  To have tried some, I can tell you they look nice and are so comfy.

The exclusive collection is a way to promote this concept by launching more "design" clothes. This is according to me a good idea, in order to show that organic does not compromise fashion, design and trend. They do it each year (or twice a year), besides their basics in organic cotton. This time, they collaborate with the two girls from EVER Manifesto Alexia Niedzielski and Elizabeth von Guttman. EVER Manifesto is a think-tank publication (also founded with Charlotte Casighari, the beautiful niece of the Sovereign of Monaco) to promote sustainability in the fashion industry. They brought they know-how. According to them people should be able to know where their clothes come from, how they have been made, by who, in which situation, etc. They built a campaign named EVER conscious with the aim to spread this message for the occasion, based on the self-reflection and on the famous "selfie".

On the other side... we have the other giant of the industry, Zara. Zara had many troubles with their "ecofriendly" image.
I don't know if you remember, but in 2012 Greenpeace tested Zara products and revealed they contain toxic chemicals (more than 60% of the items tested). Zara had to admit and make something, under the public pressure...
"Just nine days after Greenpeace launched its report 'Toxic Threads: The Big Fashion Stitch-Up', high street giant Zara has gone into detox" Source
Oh, but if you read the full report, Zara was not the only one presenting very high percentage of items containing toxic chemicals. GAP or Mango too, to quote just two. Even if the danish brand ONLY can really scare us with 100% positive clothes at the chemical testing. You would be very surprised by the brands accused by GreenPeace and invite you to read this . H&M had one of the lowest results with Benetton.

And then, all I find on their website that they name "organic"... 4 items. 
Not a lot when you know all the products available every week at Zara.

I won't do a longer post : I am not a specialist. I did not study all the environmental issues linked to fashion. Of course, these giants of the fashion industry (I am not that naive) still have production facilities in less developed countries, and we cannot really know how it is out there. But H&M shows a particular commitment in many projects, as you can see on their website. And as one of the leader in the whole global industry, this could be still a good example.
Of course big companies don't do it with a sudden awareness and love for the planet (I still hope some employees really believe in what they do) but because they spotted the trend and the raising awareness about consumers' lifestyle for organic stuff etc.

I don't know many 100% organic brands that still propose trendy silhouettes at affordable price ( we have to fight this idea that to respect the nature we have to be rich... it is getting better, but still... we know how it is), but if you know/buy some, I would be happy to hear about it.

How do you feel about that? Which  brands do you know that commit to such concepts? Do you buy organic, or have a preference for it, or really don't care about it? What do you think about all this stuff?

2 commentaires:

  1. Bonjour. Premier article que je lis de votre blog, pourquoi en anglais ? Pourquoi pas le faire aussi en français ?
    Tu dois sûrement avoir comme argument que ce sont en majorité des anglophones qui te lisent, ouais, mais les français dans tout ça ?
    C'est dommage.

  2. En effet ayant commencé mon blog pendant mon ERASMUS, il s'est peu à peu tourné vers la langue anglaise, car ce sont mes amis d'erasmus qui m'ont le plus encouragé dans cette création de blog et ceux qui me disent le plus qu'ils adorent me lire.
    Je pense que même mes lecteurs français comprennent pour la plupart mon anglais (plutôt basique) ou traduisent en entier avec google trad. De plus j'aimerai avoir mon blog sur une plateforme française et une anglophone, mais je ne sais pas comment faire, et vu la longueur de mes posts pour certains, coller ma traduction française derrière l'anglais rend des articles peu esthétiques et agréables.