When I was in college there was a fire in a dorm room that was situated on the main green and so everyone could see the smoke coming out of the window. It probably started from one of those hot plates that are not allowed now. Anyway this guy from the dorm across the green put a speaker in his window and blasted Talking Heads Burning Down the House. It was inappropriate and insensitive but also somehow totally awesome.
No one was hurt or anything.
Weirdly, Talking Heads’ lyrics have been popping into my head as I read the fashion news this summer. The lyrics are pretty handy as a go-to response to some of the nonsense out there. My favorite:
YOU’RE TALKING A LOT BUT YOU’RE NOT SAYING ANYTHING
Case in point: The New York Times had this article a few weeks ago entitled “The Golden Age of Thrifting is Over”. The author didn’t define “Golden Age'' or why it’s not golden anymore, only that there is a growing volume of crappy clothes in thrift stores. No mention that it’s easier than ever to find clothes online through devoted search engines (like gem.app) and on sites like Thred Up, Ebay, Poshmark, Mercari, The Real Real, Tradesy, and of course, your favorite, Second Serve.
The actual headline was a quote from a random thrift store shopper and apparent armchair social scientist Meghan Miller of Lake Havasu, AZ, who declared the thrifting golden age officially over. Right. Super helpful, like,
THERE IS WATER AT THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN
I was grateful to see that my friend Emily at The Sequin Lead blew this article to bits. One less thing I need to do on these pages and I encourage you to read her short post on it. Rest assured The Golden Age, dear reader, is just beginning.
Another case in point: The fast fashion company H&M’s CEO is promising to double the company’s production by 2030, while also reducing the company’s carbon emissions by 50%.
Wow, that sounds totally impossible. Show us how you would do this!
HERE COME A RIDDLE, HERE COME A CLUE. IF YOU WERE REALLY SMART YOU‘D KNOW WHAT TO DO
No matter. 2030 is a gazillion fast fashion cycles away. Such a statement without any sort of plausible explanation gives H&M green cred, and the illusion that they are doing good, green, sustainable things.
SAME AS IT EVER WAS
I wonder if anyone will even remember to ask, in 2030, what H&M’s carbon emission situation is, in comparison to 2022. Will anyone ask how H&M does their environmental accounting? How did they make the numbers work?
AND YOU MAY ASK YOURSELF, WELL, HOW DID I GET HERE?
I will remember but, in the words of Bill Murray in Meatballs, it just doesn’t matter to call them on it, because they will have spent the last eight years working double time using their green cred to double their sales without giving a poop about emissions. H&M, and companies like them, need to be called out now for their nonsensical statements.
THIS AIN’T NO PARTY, THIS AIN’T NO DISCO, THIS AIN’T NO FOOLIN AROUND
Chelsea Commodore is calling them out now. She initiated a class action lawsuit against H&M in New York Federal court in July for false and misleading environmental claims. There will be more lawsuits and this will keep H&M and companies like them under the gun. Shining a spotlight coupled with increased regulation is a one-two punch that should have some impact.
Don’t be fooled by H&M and their greenwashing. Don’t be fooled when you see them promoting environmental children’s clothing and “teaching” kids about sustainability IN THEIR ADVERTISING THAT IS PROMOTING THE CONSUMPTION OF THEIR PRODUCTS! (not a Talking Heads line; I’m just shouting)
I AIN’T GOT TIME FOR THAT NOW
We see you H&M.