So as I mentioned before, last week I was reunited with the items I shipped here from China. Why so long, you ask? Because my shipping company is legit and would not ship my items until I could prove to them a visa to enter said country. So I had to wait until I got my Italian visa for the items to leave China … which took a while.
So here I am, ready to leave Italy, the seasons are changing, and I am bombarded with all this stuff. The suitcases and box contained things I loved that I dearly missed, but also many things I hadn’t thought about at all, and things I couldn’t even remember I owned. Just a lot of stuff.
Studying luxury has made me think a lot more about the way we (I) consume fashion, especially in light of the fast fashion system that Zara and H & M have perfected and how it brainwashes fashion victims (which I 100% claim to be) into believing we need new items every couple weeks to refresh our wardrobes. But what happens to all those other clothes, the ones we don’t end up cherishing that languish at the back of our closets? Personally I never throw away clothing, but I find myself donating things at least every 6 months no matter where I am in the world. I tried to downsize my wardrobe before I left for school by selling to friends and to a local consignment store, Spend Easy (a great option in Trinidad for those who want to get rid of some gently used items and make a little change at the same time) but the sheer volume of clothing that is still in Trinidad is baffling. It’s officially an issue and one of my New Years resolutions for 2013 was to downsize … seriously.
The ironic thing is the past 2.5 months in Italy has taught me how little I actually need to live on. The few sweaters and one coat I had were enough and I managed well with the addition of a couple items here and there (even though I developed a deep hatred for my coat, an unfashionable lint magnet). It’s created in me and underlying guilt for how I hoard clothing, but still continue to amass them at a rate.
Sometimes I ask myself how I assign value and merit to each piece to make them so hard to let go of? What makes this oatmeal colored sweater so different to that oatmeal sweater? And these three grey sweatshirts? Why ALL three? Do you have an answer for me? Cause I’m still struggling. Just this morning I pulled on a pair of patterned navy blue wide leg pants and guiltily asked myself why am I also holding on to the plain navy blue wide leg pants when I will always reach for the printed ones first? Worse yet, these fast fashion pieces are low quality by definition, and what I have spent on them could easily have gotten me a comfortable wardrobe of high end pieces that will last. But in an instantly gratified, trend obsessed culture, a brain with a constant unhealthy desire for newness (which I have in all aspects of life) doesn’t bring those thoughts to the forefront.
I can admit I’ve been brainwashed and the only way I can stem the effects of it is by not entering my favorite fast fashion emporiums. I’ve weaned myself off H&M but Zara is still an issue. But anyway, I’m glad to see at least one of these stores making efforts to address a problem that essentially they have caused.
H & M is loudly feteing the launch of its new Conscious Collection and promo pics are punctuating the blogosphere of pastel confections that are just in time for spring and prom. The dresses are made from sustainable materials like organic and recycled fabrics. But simultaneously, and ever so quietly, H&M has also launched a global Conscious garment recycling initiative which promises customers a $5 USD/ €5 gift card for every bag of clothes (ANY clothes not jus H&M clothes, old dutty, buss up, they taking anything) donated to them for recycling, with a limit of two bags accepted a day per person. In order to prevent these items from filling up landfills H&M has detailed the process that The garments will go through to be reworn, reused, recycled or converted into energy. In addition for each kilogram of clothes donated the company will donate €0.02 to their charity of choice.
I read about this last night and I’ve already hit the Florence H&M with my first two bags of clothes and will be going back tomorrow with my second two. What do you think of H&M’s sustainability efforts and do you think other brands will follow suit (Zara I’m looking atchu!)