H&M deepens sustainability commitment via signature brand and Arket
H&M Group is continuing its heavy sustainability focus with a series of new initiatives, spearheaded by its latest Conscious Exclusive AW20 collection that moves beyond the idea of just recycling.
It features “exquisite pieces [that] have been crafted from sustainably sourced materials made from waste”.
The company said that “what’s normally thrown away is purposefully transformed into treasures to be loved and valued, allowing us to appreciate the potential of waste and be inspired by the creativity that comes from having to reuse things”.
Available form the start of next month, it includes fabrics and processes that transform food crop waste into a natural fibre, as well as fabrics made from sustainably sourced wood pulp or that use a unique garment-to-garment process.
The company has become the first to use Eastman’s Naia Renew cellulosic fibre that’s made from 60% certified wood fibres and 40% recycled waste plastics such as carpet fibres and plastic packaging.
The result is a series of “opulent evening gowns in black and green jacquard taffeta, yellow jacquard, festooned with dusty green flowers, mingling with voluminous tops and tailored suiting”. In other words, a regular fashion collection designed to show that sustainability doesn’t mean materials have to be second-best.
It also includes a selection of accessories with a pair of sunglasses crafted from Made of Air, a material partly that comes from waste biomass. And there are shoes made from Vegea, a vegan leather partly made from wine by-products.
As well as being available to buy, two H&M stores in Stockholm and Berlin will be offering a rental service of six different AW20 pieces.
And the accompanying campaign encourages people to “wear the waste”. It features Zinnia Kumar, an Australian-born, London-based ecologist, activist and model.
Meanwhile, the group has also reached a multi-year agreement with Swedish textile recycling company Renewcell to supply it with thousands of tonnes of its pioneering virgin quality Circulose fibres made from unusable textile waste.
The company said it’s a “landmark agreement” that takes it “an important step closer in achieving its goal of becoming fully circular whilst helping drive the sustainability agenda across the entire industry”.
One of the biggest barriers to replacing virgin fibres and using more sustainable materials is the availability of these materials at scale and H&M said “agreements like this represent a profound shift in making this a reality”.
Over a five-year period, Renewcell will provide the group with enough Circulose to produce millions of garments across its brands.
Finally, H&M’s Arket brand is boosting its eco drive with a new Sustainability Fact Sheet “to increase customer-facing transparency online”.
The fact sheet is a “combined mission statement and account of the efforts made to reduce the overall environmental footprint of Arket products, including production data for the collections released during 2020”.
The brand has also published a full list of its suppliers during 2020.
“There is a growing interest from our customers to learn more about our products and how they’re made,” said Karin Brinck, the label’s Head of Sustainability. “Our philosophy is based on longevity, simplicity and responsible practices, and we’re happy to be able to share all of this with our community. We believe it is important to be open about the challenges we’re facing as well as with the progress we make.”
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