Swedish retail company, H&M, suggests raising prices to benefit factory workers

Considering seven whole months have passed by since the tragic Bangladesh factory collapse in April, I find it pretty disappointing that now that only just recently has a public statement been made by H&M, a major fashion vendor, “expecting” to increase prices of their products in order to increase the livable wages of the employed factory workers – meaning that they’re not even sure if they’re going to do this.  It merely seems that they are toying with the idea of this, and thus the dependent factory workers’ futures.

More disappointing is the fact that many companies are only meddling with the ideas of human rights, fair wages, and other buzz words such as “sustainability” simply because a tragic event put the issue on the table and made everyone aware.  Because, you know, it wasn’t really the norm to pay people livable wages and to not trash the environment in your capitalistic pursuits until hundreds of people die, making some people feel bad about where the cloth on their back comes from.  It seems almost trendy now, to be a fair, “good” company that pays respect to social and environmental responsibility.

While I am slightly impressed that H&M has even considered the option of raising prices to allow their factory workers a more decent wage, I have doubts that the quality of their clothing will improve very much.  I predict that the clothing will become slightly more expensive rags that will continue to look cheap and fall apart within a season, or even last one whole season, causing you to spend more money in the long run… that is, if you decide to shop at H&M.

If you’re interested in reading more about the Bandladesh factory incident or learning more about the H&M thoughts on fair living wages, check out these articles:

What are your thoughts on the matter?

simple with layers

simple with layers
Styling a Zara two-sided plaid scarf and black cardigan I recently ordered with items similar to those in my own closet. (Well, I don’t have the Frye Veronica Combat boots… yet)

The Zara scarf is $35.50. I considered sewing my own, but when hunting for similar fabrics, I could not find a plaid pattern I approved of, although it was easy to find the herringbone print within the first minute of my search.  Upon realizing I would only save a mere ten bucks, I decided to suck it up and order the scarf.

While I try to avoid buying new these days, I felt better after reading Zara’s mission statement:

“AT THE STORE

We save energy. The eco-friendly store.
We are implementing an eco-friendly management model in our shops in order to reduce energy consumption by 20%, introducing sustainability and efficiency criteria. This management model sets out measures to be applied to all processes, including the design of the shop itself, the lighting, heating and cooling systems and the possibility of recycling furniture and decoration.

We produce less waste and recycle. Recycling hangers and alarms, which are picked up from our shops and processed into other plastic elements, is an example of our waste management policy. Millions of hangers and alarms are processed each year and both the cardboard and plastic used for packaging are also recycled.”

I love it when a retailer conscientiously places value on the environment and tries to minimize waste accordingly.

No, donating your heaps of old clothes doesn’t make you a minimalist or a hero.

Reading an Op-Ed at the Business of Fashion website, “The Trouble with Second-Hand Clothes,” and NPR’s “The Global Afterlife of Your Donated Clothes” confirms a few recent thoughts I was having about donations and second-hand clothing.  If you haven’t read those articles yet, I highly recommend that you do so if you’re in any way curious about what happens with second-hand or donated clothing.

Many of us have probably donated at least one large hefty-sized bag of clothing, shoes, and accessories at one point in our lives or another.  It may feel like you’re doing a great thing at the time, and it certainly is a lot better than simply throwing away your perfectly good, usable things into the dumpster, but there’s a reality many of us choose to ignore or are not even aware of.  I feel that people often think that they can purchase whatever they want without thinking too much about it due to the wide availability of cheaply produced goods in stores and on-line.  However, one must remember that you ought to still strongly consider the next items you’re going to buy, especially clothing-wise.

Do you “need” it?  Sometimes, the need for possession is often disguised simply as desire.  You want it, but you don’t need it.  You may think you “need” something because some commercial, article, magazine, blogger, or Youtube “guru” told you that this was a “must-have” for any closet or individual, but obviously, you can live without it.  This is something I personally struggle with, as I’m sure most people do.  It would do you well to at least “sleep on” the idea, or wait a few days, before actually purchasing something; this will give you time to mull it over and to see if that initial lust fades.

Are you buying it as a replacement?  If you are, I sincerely hope that the item you’re replacing was not something that you purchased last season or within an otherwise recent time frame and that instead, you were replacing something you bought that was such high quality that it lasted you quite a while before you even had to think of replacing it.  I urge that if you’re buying something to replace something, such as a basic or “essential” in your wardrobe, please opt for high quality, well-made pieces that are versatile and practical for your lifestyle.  Even if the price of the piece is high, you are justified in that you won’t have to continually purchase replacements over and over again, thus wasting more money, consuming more, and creating more waste.  There’s a wise saying, “Poor people can’t afford to buy cheap things.”  It’s absolutely true.

Do you even have room in your allocated wardrobe space for this?  If you’re big on consuming, you most likely have already accumulated quite the collection of clothing, shoes, or accessories.  This implies that you already have something in your wardrobe that is similar and that you may not “need” what you’re wanting to add.

The last question circles back to the ideas of overconsumption, minimalism, and donations.  I feel that most people feel justified in continuing their habits of overconsumption – purchasing several pieces of fast fashion or other low-quality goods – simply because they know charity shops, thrift stores, or consignment shops will most likely accept their rejected goods.  Even though people who donate clothing are not throwing their items away into the trash, they are still effectively using charity or thrift shops as their personal dumpster – something that they think will absorb the excess of their consuming habits.  As stated in the two aforementioned articles, charity organizations often have trouble dealing with the mountains of donations they receive on a regular basis, and these unwanted pieces are often sent overseas or recycled as rags or other things.  It’s an expensive problem on its own, and it’s a cycle that doesn’t seem to have an end in sight – at least, not until the world realizes they need to buy a lot, lot less.

thrift and consignment shopping finds!

It was definitely a fruitful shopping day for me at the thrift and consignment shops!

I found this amazing bag (and all the goodies in it!)

Bag full of goodies!

Pretty prints and colors!

I love this red floral maxi skirt!  I’ve been looking to add maxi skirts into my wardrobe.  The red floral print is cheery!  I could take in the waist a bit, however!

Floral Skirt

I don’t typically go for rompers myself due to the awkward bathroom situation, but I’m a sucker for ditsy floral prints.  I couldn’t help myself with this one.  The fit is great, but I do need to reinforce the buttons and add a hook-and-eye closure between the bust to stop gaping.

Floral Romper

I also scored a great tweed skirt.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a good picture because my kitty kept attacking it.  She loves attacking anything with an interesting texture.  This skirt needs to be taken in at the waist!  I hope my Singer will be able to handle this.

Uma

And here’s the outfit I wore!  I went for something ultra feminine with the lace and crochet dress, my comfortable 3″ raffia wedges, and my vintage Dooney & Bourke find from a thrift shop in Calistoga (love this bag so much!).

Lace Crochet Dress

Some of my finds I’ll definitely have to patch up, however, like this paisley maxi dress.  It’s a size medium, but a couple stitches to the backside will make the bodice fit much better and fix the sag!

paisley maxi dress

Needless to say, I’m pretty thrilled!  It’s always a good idea to stop into thrift or consignment shops at least once a week.  You’ll never know what knew goodies will turn up!