Every year, the fashion industry produces 150 billion garments, 30% of which is never sold. Over the past 15 years, textile production has doubled, due to the development of emerging countries and an increase in sales in mature economies. Meanwhile, since 2000 we can observe a decline in clothing utilisation.
Nowadays, less than 1% of clothing is recycled. The remaining 99% pollute the environment through the use of toxic chemicals, dangerous dyes and synthetic fibers that seep into the water supply and the world’s oceans. The weight of plastic microfibers in the ocean could increase to 22 million tons in 2050 under existing production systems. However, textile represents a necessity to all of us. Is it possible for the fashion industry to take a different path and break this vicious circle?
Thanks to Hermès and its Petit H project, fashion folk can expect to get their hands on anything from bracelets made from pieces of colored silks to a giant, geometric calfskin bookcase. Inviting designers and artists into the Petit h workshops and turning leftovers or ‘off-cuts’, as they’re called, and rejects into highly covetable artifacts, the Hermès designer and great-great-great-granddaughter of Thierry Hermès has literally helped breathe new life into not just unwanted bits but also the luxury label.
The leftover of any product of Hermès has in itself a quality that you must look at and try to find a use for. The brand philosophy is deeply entrenched in the platforms of “quality” and “refinement”. It is for these very principles that the brand has always shunned mass production, manufacturing lines and outsourcing. According to Hermès, each and every product coming out under the brand’s name should reflect the hard work put into it by the artisan.
Products created via the Petit H initiative travel around the world and are put up for temporary sale in different stores. For example, in 2014, the Petit H collection was available for sale in one store in California and one in Taiwan.
This project is something that every fashion industry should apply to their strategy. For more information purchase the MFCH magazine New Issue New Year and find more regarding to this article on page 58