H&M is redefining used clothing and sustainability for the fashion industry. The retailer announced last week it would launch a denim line in February made from recycled clothing. The announcement is the latest aspect of H&M’s pledge to be more responsible in its use of natural resources.
H&M first began collecting used clothing in February 2013. The company pledged to donate 0.02 euros (about 3 cents) for every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of clothing collected. I:CO, an organization that coordinates the collection of pre-owned clothing, facilitated the process. So far, approximately 7.7 million pounds of clothing have been given to the retailer. The new line of recycled clothing was revealed to Women’s Wear Daily. It will consist of five pieces for men and women. Clothing H&M received through its worldwide donation program provided the material for the collection. The pieces include three pairs of jeans, a jacket, and a vest.
In the announcement, H&M designer Jon Loman discussed the upcoming line. “We are working increasingly with recycled materials, and as a designer, it is very important to create pieces taking into account the latest trends, but also technical developments in this field,” Loman said. “We are proud to offer environmentally friendly products, in which our clients and we believe.”
Karl-Johan Persson, CEO of H&M explained the company’s sustainability-driven business model in 2012. “Our business idea is to offer fashion and quality at the best price. Sustainability is an increasingly important part of this,” Persson stated. “Our goal is for H&M to be at the forefront of sustainability. We work hard to always strengthen our customer offering. I think that adding sustainable value to our products is one of the keys to do so.”
Previous initiatives include two lines: Conscious and Conscious Exclusive. In December, H&M announced both lines would hit stores on April 10, 2014. In creating the lines, the retailer said it materials such as organic cotton and recycled fibers, which are more sustainable.
Ever Manifesto, a fashion and design think tank with a passion for sustainability, is also a part of the Conscious Exclusive line. Elizabeth von Guttmann and Alexia Niedzielski of Ever Manifesto said they were excited to be working with H&M on Conscious Exclusive, which drew on bohemia and flamenco for inspiration. “It’s great to engage with a brand like H&M that’s already aiming to lead the industry in making sustainable fashion mainstream, especially with such an elaborate and innovative collection,” the women stated. “To be able to support their Conscious teams and to implement and inspire positive change is a really exciting experience.”
A Conscious Exclusive line was marketed in April 2013 as well. Last year’s line was inspired by Hollywood glamour, and was a “partywear collection.” In September 2013, consultancy Global Engagement Service named it the top fashion brand for reporting on social sustainability.
The face of the 2014 line will be supermodel Amber Valletta. “I’m very excited to work with the H&M Conscious campaign, because we share the same values about sustainability,” Valletta said. This collection shows that you can be as mindful about people and the environment as fashion conscious. I simply love the designs and the fact that all the pieces are made with organic, recycled, and cellulose fabrics shows that you don’t need to compromise fashion for sustainability anymore.”