Fast-fashion and its approach to over-production, over-marketing, and advertising to consumers, then the rapid disposal practices by companies and consumers is a fashion dead end that needs to change. Writer Jim Dwyer in his January 5, 2010 article A Clothing Clearance Where More Than Just the Prices Have Been Slashed exposed H&M‘s practice of tossing “unsellable” merchandise instead of jobbing them or donating them to a charity or a thrift store. Destroying the clothing and accessories further with box cutters and razors so scavengers couldn’t reclaim them and resell them, also creates unnecessary waste and pollution.
From 2010 when Dwyer first reported this story, to 2019 when Elizabeth Segran wrote Your H&M addiction is wreaking havoc on the environment. Here’s how to break it for fast company.com, a few small start-up companies like Cuyana, Ammara, and Senzo Tempo have instituted a new approach to retail that’s dedicated to educating the consumer about conspicuous consumption and how to purchase “less often and more wisely”. Now that so many fast-fashion retailers are experiencing a decline, and these new companies are on the upswing, there are lessons they can pass on that make more sense.
One important lesson is to slow down production and produce less to stem the flow of over-production. Another important lesson is to consider it from the design point-of-view and find creative ways to analyze and interpret prevailing trends, and if there is a case of “unsellable” goods, a solution would be to “re-purpose” or “up-cycle” them into “sellable” ones.
Finally, if Stella McCartney could use “old stock fabrics to create rare, limited pieces for her Spring 2021 collection” so can H&M and other retailers and designers.