In the Blog

the green movement takes a turn for the hyper consumerist

August 2nd, 2007     by Thea Lim     Comments

I can never quite decide whether or not it’s good that green is the new black, as far as environmentalism goes. Isn’t any kind of attention to a very worthy cause (i.e. whether or not we survive as a race) good?

Today, unfortunately, I’m voting no. Some of the most popular green initiatives are possibly making things worse - like carbon offsets, at least according to the New Internationalist.

And when it comes to fashion, it seems like haute couture has hijacked environmentalism instead of learning from it. Case in point: high-end designer Anya Hindmarch came up with the “I’m Not a Plastic Bag” bag.


Cute, eh? The bag originally retailed at 5 UK pounds, which was apparently less than it cost to make. The designer, who usually charges around 200 pounds for a clutch, said it was her way of trying to do her part to encourage people to reduce, reuse and recycle (even though the bag was made in China, meaning that it had to be shipped across the world in a very un-green way, nit pick nit pick…)

The result? Full-on mayhem. In New York City 3000 bags sold out in 29 minutes. 100s of people lined up for hours just to get one of these bags. The launches in Shanghai, Beijing and Jakarta have had to be cancelled, out of concerns for customer safety.

But don’t worry, if you want one, you can still get one, for a mere 200 pounds on eBay.

Come on now, are people really lining up for hours and forking out around $300 for a cotton bag because of their desperate desire to save the environment? A recovering fashionista myself, I understand the thrill of the clothing hunt. But it’s important to be honest about your motivations - and it’s gotten hard for me to believe that Hindmarch and her fans are really serious about environmentalism.

That’s not to say that I think environmentalism is rubbish! I’m all for genuine attempts to change the way we live. But I tend to think that the real key to saving the planet is, unfortunately, sacrifice. I think we need to buy less, not more. Eat local, flush our toilets less, sell our cars, maybe even give up our cell phones (gasp!), and so on and so forth. As for me, my $0.50 shopping bag from Food Basics works just fine.

Tags: eco speak

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