Fashion for a bargain!

Recently there has been a huge investment by H & M (Hennes & Mauritz AB) the Swedish multinational retail-clothing company in Scotland and in particular, Edinburgh. You know it for its fast-fashion clothing for men, women, teenagers and children. H&M exists in 57 countries with over 3,500 stores and as of 2015 employs around 132,000 people. It is ranked the second largest global clothing retailer, just behind Spain-based Inditex (parent company of Zara).

The design team in the company’s Sweden office controls the steps of production, from merchandise planning to establishing specifications; production is outsourced to approximately 800 factories in Europe and Asia.

In Edinburgh the stores on Princes Street have had major over-hauls, replacing stairs, elevators and shop fronts. The H&M “Online Customer Service Agent” base is at Waverley Gate with a hundred employees answering phones and solving queries for people all over the world. At Ocean Terminal in Leith they are extending the shopping Centre to accommodate the biggest presence of H&M in Scotland.

Recently we saw the launch of the Fashion Revolution (#whomademyclothes) raising awareness on our High Streets, promoting the idea that we need to be more sustainable, resourceful; challenging our appreciation of fashion by knowing where it comes from and who made it.

Scotland’s (apparel) fashion industry is dominated by wool and cashmere, small, exclusive, beautifully designed and made to last — although our High Streets are dominated by “fast fashion” Scotland does design some but doesn’t produce any.

The online magazine Quartz (sponsored by GE) recently published (4th April 2015) an article about H&M and it’s sustainability report — they go to great lengths to describe how they are turning the tide and reducing emissions, improve working conditions…; it is quite clear from their growth and output for “fast fashion” that it is not sustainable.

What can we do as a nation and an industry to continue to benefit from the investment of companies like H&M whilst ensuring our planet and people do not suffer as a consequence? Would you like to join us in a discussion?

We (Social Tailor) will be screening the documentary “The True Cost” a film due for release 29th May 2015. Would you like to join us? Get in touch to find out more details as they are released: cg@