I used to love shopping at ARKET. Out of curiosity, I did some research on sustainable fashion brands and found out, that my beloved brand is one of the biggest fast fashion brands in the market. To be exact: It is a sub-brand of the giant H&M.
The problem: Hennes & Mauritz GesmbH is the second largest fast-fashion brand in the world—along with brands like ZARA, C&A, COS, Uniqlo, or PULL&BEAR. Supporting this machinery seemed quite unethical after discovering some facts:
Dying and underpaid employees who are working 14-16 hours 7 days a week, child labour of around 500.000 underaged. An industry that is the second largest pollutor of clean water and extendedly craves coal power in developing countries.
Lastly, all of these brands encourage exessive overconsumption with items being trashed within 35 days (on average) after they were bought. Sales, coupons, Black Friday—all of these are tools with one specific purpose: making customers buy more.
After finding out about all of these facts I was disappointed and eventually saw the need for a change in my shopping behaviour. For the good of the people crafting the clothes and for the environment and our planet.
During our trip to Paris, my friend Jay and I had a conversation about fast fashion which eventually led to my shift of mindset. He told me about the history of fashion, why there are many more sustainable men's clothing brands and why fashion is or was considered more of a female attribute.
An insightful talk after which I gave myself the promise to not buy anything until I truly need it.
A new experience which needed a lot of discipline in the beginning. For now, I am going to through my whole wardrobe to sort out pieces I am not wearing anymore to sell them, donate them, or gift them to friends who can make use of them for some more time.
I will focus on buying essentials that fit together in almost every combination. This will reduce the number of decisions I have to make, but also lay more weight on the quality and longlivability of my garments.
Current ideal outcome
- 4 black trousers, 2 beige trousers, 1 blue jeans
- 1 non-leather belt
- 6 black sweatshirts, 3 grey sweatshirts, 2 beige sweatshirts
- 5 black t-shirts, 5 beige/white t-shirts
- 1 white shirt, 2 overshirts
- 2 sneakers, 1 winter boots
- 3 black jackets, 2 beanies
- underwear, sportswear and accessories (watch, rings, etc.)
There is still much work required, but sorting out clothes that don’t serve me anymore and replacing them with more sustainable and long-lasting pieces is much more fun than I thought. I am following the 1-in-10-out rule here.
Before I conclude this article, I’d like to mention a few sustainable and human-friendly places to shop at. This is a collection of brands that I trust and confidently support in the way they do business and manufacture their products: View Garment Brands.
If you have any other brands or resources that you’d like to share, feel free to text me on Twitter, where I will also share my progress on reducing my trousseau. I am excited to hear about your wardrobe.