H&M: The Eco-Friendly / Fast Fashion Lovechild

H&M may just be the key to world peace. 

Okay, okay, maybe that's a little extreme. But if we're talking about fashion world peace, then maybe, just maybe, H&M would be the key to that.

While their heavily-cluttered stores filled to the brim with random one-off pieces you wouldn't think twice about wearing are definitely major catalysts for heart attacks, they're undoubtedly doing something right. The fast fashion giant just made a pledge that by 2030, all of their clothes will be made with sustainable, organic cottons. If you're wondering what constitutes sustainable cotton, it's basically cotton that isn't picked by child slaves (ex: if the cotton in your sweater was sourced from Uzbekistan, it's most likely unsustainable).  They've started making this small change now, with the recent rollout of their H&M Conscious collection, which features items made of organic cottons and/or up-cycled materials. In addition, they've announced that they no longer source from suppliers who utilize slave labor, nor do they produce their garments in sweatshops, or factories where workers are otherwise deprived of living wages and working conditions. 

It's a huge step for the fashion giant, in my humble opinion, especially one as prominent in the fast-fashion world as H&M is. I grew up shopping at H&M for its affordable prices and on-trend items, and remember leaving there with bags full of stuff as a pre-teen. Their quality was always better than places like Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe, in my opinion, and I loved that I could find all-weather clothing there all-year long. If I needed a sweater for summer, I could find one, and for cheap, too. Like the sweater I'm wearing in these photos! I found this randomly hanging on a rack back in the spring, and it was marked down on clearance for only $5. 

In my opinion, H&M may be just what the fashion world needs. As people are becoming more and more woke about the environment (thanks in part to our climate change denying Nazi president), there seems to be a divide between those who side with the fast-fashion world, and those who side with the ethical/eco-friendly fashion world. And while ethical pioneers Everlane are doing wonders to help bridge the gap in this market, they can still run a little too pricy for most people. This is where I think H&M truly shines. Although it's hard to give a hard and fast definitive answer, since they haven't fully integrated their organic fabrics into all of their items yet, if H&M are able to provide sustainable clothing while also keeping their prices (relatively) as-is, I think they have the potential to win over people on both sides of the fashion spectrum. 

As for me, well, I completely love them, and tend to buy most of my sweaters from them! Sure, they may not be perfectly sustainable yet, but the fact of the matter is that, 1. there's no brand out there that is, and 2. they're trying. And for me, I think it's really important to support brands that are trying to make a conscious effort towards sustainability. As I've said before in previous posts, we vote with our dollar every time we make a purchase, and personally, I'd rather vote for a brand that's making strides towards sustainability, than one that isn't at all. The more people can get behind this budding of an idea, the more willing H&M- and even other brands- will be to see this through. 

It's like an election. If a candidate isn't wracking up the votes, they aren't going to feel inclined to continue in the race. Clothing companies work in a similar way. If they aren't seeing a significantly positive response to their sustainability efforts (such as the conscious collection), they aren't going to feel inclined to waste their time and money on it, which is obviously not what we want to happen.  

Personally, I cannot wait to see what H&M does with this newfound sustainability ethos. I think it has the potential to be one of the best things to happen in the fashion world. But, I guess we'll have to wait a few years to know for sure! 

On another (completely unrelated) note, how pretty are the leaves in these first few photos?! I'm obsessed. I love love love how fall and winter in the Bay Area  brings out these swathes of dark, vampy leaves. I think it's one of my favorite things about this time of year, aside from Christmastime. 

I wish I was more excited for Christmas this year, but right now, I'm completely swamped. I just finished up giving a TED talk (which you can read more about here!) and now I've dove straight into finals prep. I'm so thankful that the semester is almost done, but the amount of work I've got going on right now is insane! I can't wait until school is done in a few short weeks so I can jump straight into the Christmastime joy. I'm itching for some hot chocolate dates, present making, and ice skating in Union Square. But for the meantime, it's back to the books I go...

Photography by: Emma Li (edited by me)

Location: Oakland, CA

SHOP THE LOOK HERE: Sweater (similar) // Skirt (similar) // Tights // Boots (similar)