Friday, January 8, 2010

CI #51 -- H&M

This week's news that H&M destroys and throws away all their unsold merchandise hasn't been pretty. That's such a Zara move. And really irresponsible.

I was honestly surprised. I've been a longtime fan of H&M. Their clothes are really cheap, tend to fit me pretty well, and generally look okay.

(H&M model showcasing their new Mr. Miyagi-inspired line)

They always do a much better of a job keeping up with (read: quickly copying) trends than any American retailer. It takes Gap at least a season and a half before they crank out the latest fad (Coming Fall '10, Skinny Jeans!). And if you know me, you know one thing: finger. on the. pulse.

The problem comes when H&M tries to start their own trends. It seems like every other season, they're all of a sudden deciding: "Hey everybody, we're wearing berets now!" No one buys the berets, and they try something else next season.

Years ago I bought my first clothing item from H&M -- basically normal jeans that fit me perfectly. Ever since then I've been hooked, hoping to duplicate that purchase. But do you have any idea how hard it is to find a normal pair of jeans there?

I keep trying and failing. 76% of their merchandise has either paint splatter and/or at least one superfluous adornment (zipper, pocket, button). I find these items unacceptable and sometimes vertigo-inducing.

One time I even thought I'd found the perfect pair of Greg Jeans. Eureka! Only to get home, and put them on. The top of the back pocket? Inexplicably and completely frayed (What theoretical vintage occupation leads to the wholesale fraying of one and only one pocket?) . Well, those had to go in the closet and then eventually to Goodwill.

So this week's unfortunate news aside, what are the pros and cons of shopping at H&M?


- The clothes are so cheap that you're basically just renting them. Your body is really just the middle man between the store and the trash. $10 for a t-shirt I'll wear 4 times? Yeah, I'll bite. $2.50 per wear ain't that bad. It's the Costco or Sam's of fashion. The only way you can lose is by never wearing the stuff.

- The clothes are, for the most part, made by underpaid white people. And Eastern European adults, to boot! That goes quite a long way in alleviating highly annoying White Guilt. You can't put a price tag on that.


- The clothes are so cheap that you're basically renting them...

- The clothes are, for the most part, made by underpaid people...

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