Recycled Jeans

You may have read some of my past rantings on consumption habits, shopping and recycling, including Brisbane’s street junk and my many visits to Myrornas (“The Ants” from Salvation Army) and Stadsmissions across Stockholm. You are possibly familiar with my anxieties about fast fashion and obsession with recycling.

Hence you might be able to predict my mixed feelings at the sight of a sign in the window of Indiska, a Swedish women’s clothing company that has all[?] its products made in India:

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Snapped on my walk to work this morning on Odengatan.

The Swedish on the sign says something like “The jeans you are holding are found especially for us at Myrorna. By reusing garments and giving them new life can we all contribute to a better environment.” You can see the Levi’s hanging to the right, and those have real resale potential, online or in secondhand shops across Europe.

Wow. How bizarre —

Here’s Indiska, a company I think of as engaging in fast, cheap fashion made in the Global South, reselling jeans found for them by the Salvation Army. I wonder about the arrangement here: How does Myrorna benefit? Does Indiska give them a percentage of sales? How does Indiska benefit? Is it pure marketing, or do they get real hard currency profits?

My uneasiness was heightened by the other store window’s other signage:

 

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You can read that, right?

“We fight for change.”

I read that and had to stop to take the photo — fighting for change where? For the women who make these clothes somewhere in India? What about in Bangladesh and Morocco, where labor is cheaper but even luxury brands have their pieces made? What are the conditions there? Are they fighting for less water used to make new pieces of clothing that flood Global North markets and less consumption?

Think H&M and its other brands (COS, Weekend, Mondays) and Zara (from which I just purchased several so-very-cheap items, yes! which may or may not last for more than one season!). Stores like these promote “fast fashion,” where it’s possible to buy something new to “freshen up” one’s wardrobe every week, and they talk the nice talk of eco-friendly, low-water-use, and so forth — wash your clothing less! Buy their eco-label! (Why aren’t all the items “eco”??) Bring your clothes back! More and more, these brands have recycling bins in their stores here in Stockholm (I promise to post a photo of one as soon as I remember to do so).

Even Myrorna promotes its wares as a kind of fast fashion — I was in the Myrorna just the other day, and just around the corner from this Indiska store, where I watched the latest ad campaign (they generally have good ads!) on a screen mounted above the cash register. It features 20-somethings trying on all sorts of different clothing to get to their own style, sharing pieces and coming together to disco. It’s clever and fantastic, and I hope it gets people of all ages into their stores.

And I have to say, Myrorna is where I get most of my pieces from Indiska.

Go to Facebook to see that video:

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