The first time I walked into H&M, I blacked out for an hour and lost myself in their full, cheap, and cute racks of clothing. You mean I can buy this dress, shoes, and a scarf for only that much? Thank you H&M, now I can go buy that strawberry crepe I was willing to sacrifice for a pair of shoes. It seems I had gone to heaven in the form of a clearance rack.
H&M became my go-to for all things trendy. And when I say “go-to” I mean “go-t0-on-a-weekly-basis.” That is, until I heard some interesting and rather disturbing news that has me second guessing my love affair.
Recently, it has been discovered H&M has been slashing unsold clothing items and throwing them in the trash. And not just a few imperfect items; bags upon bags of this stuff were found in a dumpster behind their flagship Manhattan store. Items in the H&M trash bin included gloves with the fingers cut off, shoes with the instep cut-out, and warm jackets with fiber fill pouring out its slashed sides.
All of these items were in perfect condition (prior to someone taking scissors to them, of course).
The fact that H&M is not donating these valuable items to charity is wasteful and just plain disgusting. Especially for a company that boasts to be “committed to taking responsibility for how our operations affect people and the environment. We donate garments that do not meet our quality requirements to organizations such as UNHCR, Caritas, the Red Cross and Helping Hands. When possible, we also donate faulty garments that have been returned to our stores.” Sounds respectable, H&M, but the last time I checked dumpsters weren’t Red Cross donation bins. And I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter how many sustainable materials you’re incorporating into your designs when you’re just tossing it all into garbage dumps.
H&M may claim these actions will “preserve brand integrity” and prevent people from selling their clothing on eBay, but,really, is slashing clothing the humane thing to do right now? Not only are we in a very serious recession which has left many people with nothing, but it also happens to be freezing outside. I’m sure there are plenty of needy people would could have benefited from that coat you hacked. And, let’s be real for a second, it’s not like any of us are waltzing into H&M looking for a one-of-a-kind ensemble. The store mass produces their clothing at a cheap price; who really cares about brand integrity?
Excuses are running thin for H&M, considering all of the options they have to rid of the clothing (rotating stock, improving marketing for special events to clear the shelves, and , duh, actually donating their clothes!).
Don’t get me wrong – I love marching into H&M and snagging uber cute clothes on the cheap. But knowing this makes me think twice about prancing out of the store with a bag full of purchases. I’m just not sure I can support a company that doesn’t support those who need help the most.
What about you? Is a good sale too much to pass up? Or are you going to think twice about shopping at H&M?