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It is good practice for a company to utilize as much of its material as possible on making goods. I believe this beyond wanting my clothes to come with an extra hidden inch of material to accommodate weight fluctuations. It is economic good sense for companies to use as much of their material for products. Giving life to otherwise trashed materials can help further the economy while contributing to less waste product. Finding a way to divert material that is otherwised trashed is also environmentally conscious.*
In a society with members who believe they add value to themselves through material acquisitions, this otherwise positive practice can be detrimental to society. Perhaps given the overconsumption first world countries–namely the U.S.–has, adding superfluous goods to the market adds to overconsumption.
Fashion Law: Green or Greed
I think it is admirable that there are non-profts dedicated to lessening amount of usable materials sent to landfills. I am not so convinced big companies take part in this practice with eco-friendliness intentions. Let’s focus our attention on Hermès.
Hermès’ Petit H Collection
Hermès has a line of products called Petit h. This sister line is made from leftover materials from the production of Hermès’s usual luxury products. Founded in 2010 under creative director Pascale Mussard, Petit h was previously only sold via Hermes.com and internationally at pop-up events at brick and mortar Hermès locations. Petit h now has a permanent location in Paris. The boutique permanently featuring Petit h is located on the Left Bank, the historically artsy bohemian side of the Seine. Fret not, Petit h will continue to show up at different Hermès boutiques.
Petit h Video by Hermès
In an interview with Women’s Wear Daily, Mussard explained that as a child s
he was a hoarder she had trouble throwing things away.** I applaud the effort of using material that would likely be trashed.*** But I think it is clear the Petit h line is not just up-cycling to minimize trash: I’ve seen Petit h pieces priced from approximately $100 to $100,000.
2011 NY Times article “Waste Not, Want it” by Cathy Horyn (available online here)
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*Scrap, a San Francisco based non-profit 501c3 that “SCRAP breathes new life into old objects and reduces waste by diverting over 200 tons of materials heading to landfill every year.” Learn more about Scrap here.
**WWD Monday, June 10, 2013 “Hermès’ Petit h Collection gets Home on Left Bank” by Paulina Szmydyke. “Mussard, who represents the Hermès family’s sixth generation, said she always collected and amassed, explaining, ‘I had a hard time throwing things away as a child.'”
***I use the word “likely” in reference to the material being trashed because Hermès also uses scraps like these to repair products that are brought in for fixes.