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World According to M.I.S.S.: H&M Accused of Destroying and Throwing Away Unsold Clothing

Shame on you H&M

Shame on you H&M

The year just started and we’ve already had attempted acts of terrorism, factory workers opening fire on their coworkers, and have found out that super retailer H&M is being accused of destroying and throwing out unsold clothing. Yes, you read that correct: H&M intentionally damages and discards the merchandise that doesn’t sell. This isn’t a monthly, bimonthly or yearly occurrence either, it’s been said that well known retailers such H&M, Walmart, and its even been rumored that Victoria’s Secret throws out unused clothing that doesn’t sell on their floors. The New York Times journalist Jim Dwyer recently followed a homeless couple that regularly sifts through the H&M merchandise that is thrown out.

At the back entrance on 35th Street, awaiting trash haulers, were bags of garments that appear to have never been worn. And to make sure that they never would be worn or sold, someone had slashed most of them with box cutters or razors, a familiar sight outside H & M’s back door. The man and woman were there to salvage what had not been destroyed.

Not responding to inquiries about their practices in disposing of unworn items, H&M is not only accused of discarding just clothing, but also cutting the soles out of shoes, ripping apart bags and accessories, and also discarding of unused hangers which is completely absurd seeing as hangers absolutely never go out of style.

“Gloves with the fingers cut off,” Ms. Magnus said, reciting the inventory of ruined items. “Warm socks. Cute patent leather Mary Jane school shoes, maybe for fourth graders, with the instep cut up with a scissor. Men’s jackets, slashed across the body and the arms. The puffy fiber fill was coming out in big white cotton balls.” The jackets were tagged $59, $79 and $129.

A third of New York City is poor. And I’m not talking “can’t pay my rent-no food in my house-the lights are about to get cut off” poor either. These are people living on the streets, with no roof over their heads, eating out of trash cans. They obviously can’t afford to feed themselves let alone purchase the “inexpensive” clothing created by companies like H&M, and are left to rummage through trash bags of destroyed clothing to keep warm. What burns me up the most about this situation is the fact that not only does H&M have an executive over a division called Corporate Responsibility, but the 34th street H&M in NYC, store in question, is also around the corner from a big collection point for New York Cares which holds annual clothing drives.

Two words for you H&M: HOT MESS.

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10 Responses to “World According to M.I.S.S.: H&M Accused of Destroying and Throwing Away Unsold Clothing”

  1. Jenessa Jenessa says:

    I worked for H&M and they used to cut up the clothing that came off of the forms in displays purposely and claimed that they did it so that people sifting thru the trash wouldnt be able to return it for store credit.

    Store policy was to damage anything that was to be thrown away. Even the damages had to be torn apart worse so that people couldn’t claim that the clothing had harmed them in anyway. I’m sure there are better ways to discard unused clothing. H&M being a leader in the fast fashion industry should be setting the example though.

  2. Maggie says:

    I commented on this on another blog…
    I never worked in clothing stores, but I worked in other retail stores, and even if something was thrown in the dumpster, they’d catch someone for stealing. So, even if H&M chose not to destroy these clothes, they’d probably guard their dumpsters pretty religiously.

  3. Gabriella GDK says:

    They can guard against returns by simply cutting the label out without damaging the garments. Regarding guarding dumpters, why don’t they just donate the clothing? Many non-profits will come to you with a truck – they wouldn’t have to do anything.

  4. Patricia says:

    There was a follow-up story in the New York Times with a response from H&M.

  5. Katherine says:

    I used to work retail for Torrid and we used to cut up the damages and throw them out, but the ones that were salvagable were sent to a womans shelter… they could atleast do that

  6. REN says:

    While I agree that there has to be better usage of the unworn/unsold garments, I also think it kind of waters down the brand. A lot of people seem to see regular H&M shopping trips as a privilege or a status sort of thing. I don’t think a lot would be to excited to see a homeless person wearing something they shelled out $100 for just a few months earlier. It would kind of lose its touch. It makes most sense if the garments were disassembled and the materials were used to make other products.

    Also, I read the response from H&M. Sooooo not buying it.

  7. Penelope says:

    I used to work entry level management for Calvin Klein in San Marcos TX & in Austin TX. They were very good about their damages: everything would be boxed up & sent to Salvation Army once a month. And every time I got to box it up, I felt good about doing it!

  8. Sarahzxo says:

    Im from northern ireland and when the local girls High school changed the style of the the uniform we had to throw away a rail of Pinafores about 20 skirts and some other items no other school matched the uniform !

  9. Regina says:

    Please add Charlotte Russe to your list of wonderful wasters! They too, cut up their so called “damages” that could easily be fixed by someone who could buy them @ a lower price. It’s disgusting!


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