Tag Archives: handbags

Heavy Metal: H&M Strikes Again

It’s the third strike this month against H&M: first there was the disposable clothing incident, then the not-so-organic cotton, and now a settlement over unlawful levels of lead in their handbags. 

From the Center for Environmental Health

A federal law that went into effect last year requires that materials in products for children contain no more than 300 parts per million (ppm) of lead. But there is no federal standard for lead in purses. Under the CEH agreements, purses sold in California from all of the companies will ultimately be made with materials that contain no more 300 ppm of lead, with an even stricter standard for some materials.

Last year, CEH found purses and one wallet from the four companies that, according to independent lab tests, contained between 13 times and more than 115 times the 300 ppm standard reached in the settlement. Testing on a small sample of other purses also showed that weathering can dramatically increase the amount of lead that wipes off of them, suggesting that lead in purses can become an even greater hazard as the purses age.

Lead is listed by the EPA and other federal and state agencies as a cancer-causing chemical, and lead exposure has been linked to higher rates of infertility in women, an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure, among other health problems. Scientists are increasingly concerned that there is no safe level of lead exposure, especially for pregnant women and young children.

Those bags might not come so cheap after all.

A few of the other brands with high lead levels included on CEH’s list include: American Eagle, Charlotte Russe, Billabong, Bloomingdale’s, Diesel USA, Volcom, Coldwater Creek, Forever 21, Kate Spade, Saks & Company, and Tory Burch.

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Brand DNA

With this post, I’m introducing a new category to Closettour called “you know what’s weird?” Named in honor of my friend Laura’s favorite game to play on high school road trips, the category will join closet case study, denim diaries, in the field, news, and to market, Closettour’s current categories.

So today, you know what’s weird?

Branding an item with DNA.

Not figuratively, like when designers at J Mendel told me that a certain level of workmanship was “part of their brand’s DNA.” No, I mean, literally using DNA to brand an item. 

Massimo Gammacurta lollies from fashionphile.com

According to a press release, Applied DNA Sciences, “the only company in the world that is making use of the complex codes embedded in botanical DNA as the ultimate solution to counterfeiting,” has struck up a deal with a Europe-based luxury brand to supply DNA markers that will be used to verify authenticity. They’re not saying which brand signed the deal, but it’s got to be someone with a good deal of clout. (LVMH? Gucci? Chanel? Hermés?) 

Louis Vuitton x Takashi Murakami: Designer QR Codes

image from highsnobiety.com

My money’s on LVMH. I’m imagining this will be used for luxury accessories, but how will one go about showing off their cutting-edge DNA marked handbag? And how will the layman know it’s not just another knockoff?

Maybe they’ll contract an artist to play with some DNA strand logos for their DNA branded bags. I can see it now…but who’s to say they won’t get cloned on Canal Street? 

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