H&M’s latest Conscious Exclusive collection made from waste
By Danielle Wightman-Stone
H&M is asking can waste be beautiful? Well, for its Conscious Exclusive autumn/winter 2020 it has crafted elegant eveningwear pieces from sustainably sourced materials made from waste.
The Swedish retail giant is calling the collection an exploration of the beauty of waste, as what’s normally thrown away has been “purposefully transformed into treasures to be loved and value”.
The collection has literally been created from waste, with fabrics made from post-consumer carpet fibre, post-industrial plastic packaging and PET bottles. H&M has also utilised innovative fabrics and processes that transform food crop waste into natural fibres, fabrics made from sustainably sourced wood pulp and unique garment-to-garment process.
H&M states that “where some see waste, we see the poetry of possibility”.
Some of the pieces have been crafted using the Agraloop process that converts oilseed hemp crop waste into a new natural called Hemp Biofibre. The process, which makes its H&M debut, aims to broaden circularity in garment production and has been developed by a 2018 H&M Foundation Global Change Award first-prize winner.
The collection also uses what it is calling “silk of the future,” an innovative cellulosic yarn manufactured by Eastman, Naia Renew. The yarn, marketed by the company as a fibre to create fashionable womenswear is produced from 60 percent sustainably sourced wood pulp and 40 percent certified recycled waste plastics.
H&M works with sustainable fabric manufacturers for autumn/winter 2020 Conscious Exclusive collection
H&M has also used a new sustainable dyeing process in collaboration with WeaReSpingDye. The SpinDye technology, being used for the first time by the high street retailer, is a sustainable dyeing process that focuses on the colouration of the recycled material before it is extruded to fibre and spun into yarn.
This closed-loop system manufacturers explain consumes 75 percent less water during the entire colouring process and reduces chemical usage by 90 percent. As a result, the process uses 30 percent less energy and has a 30 percent reduction in CO2.
While other garments use textile-to-textile recycling processes, turning textiles that would have been thrown away into high-quality closed-loop recycled polyester. Then there are pieces made from Tencel lyocell and nylon blends, while the shoes have been fabrication from Vegea, an innovative vegan leather alternative partly made from wine by-products.
Key womenswear pieces, made from recycled polyester, include a yellow off-the-shoulder floral print dress with a voluminous ruffle along the chest, a black taffeta-like mini-dress with statement puff sleeves and a forest green body-con cocktail dress with a ruched bodice and asymmetrical puff shoulder.
For autumn/winter 2020, menswear makes a return to Conscious Exclusive with luxe tailoring from a classic tuxedo to suiting options. One of the key menswear pieces is a black double-breasted recycled polyester, Tencel and wool blend tuxedo with detachable flower embellishment. Two other highlights of the collection are a yellow floral jacquard workwear jacket made from recycled polyester and a pair of trousers made from oilseed hemp crop waste.
H&M Conscious Exclusive collection highlights innovative sustainably sourced fabrics
There are also accessories, including sunglasses made of carbon dioxide-negative plastic crafted from Made of Air, a new material partly made from waste biomass. While other accessories such as choker necklaces, earrings and shoe clips have been made from recycled metals.
Commenting on the collection, Ann-Sofie Johansson, creative advisor at H&M, said in a statement: “For autumn/winter 2020, we really wanted to be trailblazers – pushing the limits of creativity and sustainable fashion – by focusing on waste. As a result, the pieces in this collection are crafted from truly amazing materials produced from waste.
“Working with this kind of transformation and being able to speak to our customers through beauty, we hope that waste can be part of the future of sustainable fashion.”
To launch the collection, dropping on December 1 online at the retailer’s website, the Conscious Exclusive autumn/winter 2020 campaign featuring Zinnia Kumar, an Australian-born, London-based ecologist, activist and model, encourages consumers to “wear the waste” in an endeavour to change fashion.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of this Conscious Exclusive campaign, especially as H&M is paving the way for sustainable collections to become the industry norm,” explained Kumar. “As consumers, we will no longer need to differentiate between fashionability and sustainability, as they will become one and the same. As an ecologist working in fashion, this fills me with hope.”
As well as the collection being available to buy, two H&M stores in Stockholm and Berlin will be offering a rental service of six different autumn/winter 2020 pieces. This will include some pieces that will be unique to the rental service, while others will be offered in exclusive colourways.
The H&M Conscious Exclusive autumn/winter collection launches on December 1. Prices range from 19.99 to 229.99 pounds for women, while for men, prices are 17.99 to 119.99 pounds.