H&M Teams Up with Humane Society International

Okay everybody, so summer is over now and between packing away any/all flip-flops (forever — like, let’s never bring them out again, team) and criminalizing the wearing of white after this past weekend, it’s a busy time to be someone who’s been cursing the worst season of the calendar year while acquiring more coats.

However, H&M just helped put our minds at ease a little more: according to Vogue, the brand has joined forces with Humane Society International to promote the ethical treatment of animals across the beauty and fashion industries. This means that in addition to protecting the farm animals who supply wool, down, or hair, there’s going to be a marked move to abolish animal testing.

“Animal welfare is important to us at H&M and we want to contribute to improved animal welfare practices in our industry, which is why are we committing ourselves not only to further improve our own requirements, but also to work collaboratively with HSI to elevate standards throughout the industry and globally,” H&M sustainability business expert Madeline Ericsson said in a statement. “HSI is a globally recognized organization with long experience within this area, so we believe they will be a very good partner in pushing for change and we hope that other companies will be inspired to do likewise.”

[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”260″ size=”20″ bg_color=”#636363″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]Here’s the thing: we’ve all gotten very used to getting the things we want without having to deal with the way those things have come to exist. [/mks_pullquote]

Okay cool. But what does this ACTUALLY mean? Here: the collaboration will hopefully bring an end to mulesing, live-plucking, and force-feeding, and H&M will be an active supporter of #BeCrueltyFree, which campaigns against animal testing. (This on top of supporting training programs and raising awareness among shareholder, customers, and anybody in-between.)

Which is great. But, if you’re like me, sends you further down the scope of “Am I a monster?” I mean, is it completely ignorant of me to have purchased and worn things without taking a look at how they’ve been made? (Yup!) Am I part of the problem? (Absolutely!) And do I have to stop wearing leather? [SILENCE]

See? Here’s the thing: we’ve all gotten very used to getting the things we want without having to deal with the way those things have come to exist. And because that’s a very big pattern and/or habit, it will take time to break it. So, if everything you just read seems daunting and terrible, maybe start small. Start with faux vs. real fur — or, if you’re super hung-up on real, shell out for a vintage fur coat, which was made a long, long, long time ago, and is actually more sustainable to buy than one that was recently made because you’re also recycling.

Yes, that seems like the smallest step, but it’s still an important one. Especially since from there you can do your homework: read up on sustainable companies, or about partnerships like the one between H&M and HSI. Read about the way clothes are made and who makes them that way and why. And while I’m not going to sit here and tell you not to wear leather again, do your homework if you’re hoping to invest in an actual leather item to make sure it was made responsibly. Like the way you would with meat.

Sure, it takes time. But we’ve got it, you guys: especially when you think about how long some of us spend scrolling through Tumblr, catching feelings or what have you.

Tags: Anne T. Donahue, H&M, summer 2011 hairstyles

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