M&S are giving a big advertising push for tomorrow (8th Sept) which they claim to be The One Day – Wardrobe Clear-out. What you do is take in any unwanted/used clothes to a store and they give them to Oxfam. To show their thanks they will give you a £5 M&S voucher. What’s not to like?
Ok lets have a think. As M&S say ‘a surprising 92% of us have clothes we don’t wear’. I actually don’t think it’s a surprise. The point of M&S and all the other clothing retailers is to get us to buy stuff not wear it. If we wore everything we had then we would stop buying so much. We don’t wear it all either because you get fatter and cant like me or because fashion has moved on. Which it always does. In clearing them out all we are doing is making more space for more new things. Especially when we have a £5 voucher to kick us off. But do you know what? 92% of us wont wear them either. As I recount in the book, hard core shoppers like my sister already have a one in one out policy when it comes to the wardrobe.
The third world don’t need hand me downs but a world in which the West stops consuming at such a mad rate. To be fair M&S Plan A is better than many corporate facelifts and their job is to make their shareholders as much money as possible. But I’m less convinced that Oxfam should be part of the never ending consumer race that drives inequality and climate change – let alone giving a brand halo to M&S by endorsing their marketing campaign. After all, it’s a lot more than our clothes we need to clear out.