Sunday, February 6, 2011

H&M Uses Sustainability As Latest Trend

The massive fast-fashion worldwide retailer, H&M addresses environmental issues by launching their Conscious Clothing collection for Spring 2011. 

H&M online has an entire section dedicated to describing what “Sustainability- the way forward” means to the company. Trend coordinator Catarina Midby explains that H&M becoming more sustainable is “an education process for us and for our customers. We all have to learn about new materials”. Catarina says, “Some of our collections here at H&M consist of fashion essentials that will last a long time. Clothes don’t have to be made from sustainable materials in order to have a sustainability value”, which proves the true “sustainability” of H&M’s product.

Unfortunately, H&M neglected to even use or experiment with the most sustainable fabric hemp and manufactured this collection with organic cotton and linen instead. For one of the world’s largest fashion chain-retailers to claim their company is going through an educational process to becoming more sustainable, yet not do enough research to understand that hemp is the most versatile, sustainable, and historically important fabric and textile, just baffles me.

As intrigued as H&M is to learn about sustainable fabrics, fashion history basics explain that the very first use of hemp was for fabric and textiles. One of mankind’s oldest cultivated crops started the fashion industry with weaving hemp into fabric and threads, dating back to 10,000 years ago.
Hemp fashion blends in with fashion

Up until prohibition in 1937, hemp was the most versatile and commonly used fabric that was praised for it’s unique qualities in comparison to all other fabrics, especially cotton which H&M decided to use.

Hemp as a fabric is:
  • ·      Much warmer, bleached whiter, feels softer, more durable and stronger, takes better colour, can be spun on cotton machinery with less waste, and is four times more absorbent than cotton.
  •   Able to produce two or three times more fiber than cotton or flax, 1000 pounds of hemp fiber per acre of land
  •   Environmentally safe, it uses less irrigation, fertilizer, and phetrochemical pesticides than cotton. ·    
  •          Hemp fiber bundles are up to 15 feet long, while cotton fibers are only ¾ of an inch, making hemp 8 times the tensile strength and four times the durability of cotton.
  •   Biodegradable, unlike Dupont’s synthetic fiber, Nylon. Hemp cellulose will appear like Nylon but will not stretch in heat, does not crack in cold, has better traction, and does not require petrochemical processes.  

Dupont Ad For Nylon

  In 1937 when prohibition first started, anyone involved in fashion industry must have been furious. Criminalized for using the most valuable fabric on earth, how can hemp honestly be illegal? As a team, Harry Ansligner, William Randolph Hearst, and Dupont set out to make more money for themselves. In their own industries, the only possible way to make more profit was to eliminate the greatest competition: hemp. This involved horrible fake propaganda to scare and confuse people and creating a synthetic fiber to destroy hemp in fashion industry.

Anti-pot propaganda

The fashion industry is affected negatively by prohibition because it has truly stunted the growth on any possible sustainability by eliminating innovations, replaced a far superior miracle fiber with man-made material and other lacking fibers that are designed never to last forcing consumers to purchase more. Even the process of creating just the crops for fiber is dramatically harmful. In Emperor Wears No Clothes, it explains that “Approximately 50% of all chemicals used in American agriculture today are used in cotton growing, and hemp needs no chemicals and has few weed or insect enemies- except for the U.S government and the DEA.” 
In addition to saving the fashion industry,
hemp is a resource for everything
 When this fabric becomes untouchable because of a gimmicky 1930’s money-making scam, I wonder if H&M’s excuse for not using hemp will be about money too. Synthetic fabrics were created by Dupont to have people buy more, and H&M’s fast fashion and quick trends serve a smiliar purpose. 

It's bullshit to see companies with such power and influence not using their potential. Being as successful as they are, H&M is one of the only companies with enough resources to integrate hemp into fashion industry successfully, yet they don't take advantage of the massive market. 

H&M’s Trend coordinator, Catarina Midby explains that caring for our planet is not a trend - it is the way forward. “We definitely take a long-term perspective, and aim to offer our customers products with sustainable materials and look at how we can run our entire business in a more sustainable way.” This is as believable as Ansligner’s propaganda, especially coming from the person who coordinates H&M’s trends. 

Look to the bright side of the sun, 



  1. 'trend coordinator' - my sides ache from snickering.

  2. from Amy, I love this article! The jibberish quoted from Catarnia Midby/Trend Coordinator is laughable. Yogurt definately! We all need to try and open our eyes and read between the lines.