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This years edition of H&M Conscious Exclusive is nothing but basic. Make it last travels to Paris to trace H&M’s greenest and most glamorous collection to date. We end up in the western wing of Palais du Louvre.

Pictured: H&M creative advisor Ann-Sofie Johansson and H&M Conscious Exclusive ambassador Julia Restoin Roitfeld

This years edition of H&M Conscious Exclusive is nothing but basic. Make it last travels to Paris to trace H&M’s greenest and most glamorous collection to date. We end up in the western wing of Palais du Louvre.

Julia Restoin Roitfeld is shy, it seems, as she welcomes journalists from some 60 countries to a cocktail ending a busy day. H&M has gathered international press in Paris to introduce its latest H&M Conscious Exclusive collection, which is inspired by and will launch in stores the same day as Fashion Forward – Three Centuries of fashion opens at Musée des Arts Décoratifs at the Louvre, an exhibition presented by H&M.
For the press occasion only, H&M has staged a temporary exhibition at the museum, where the process of making the Conscious Exclusive collection is on display. Representatives from the design team and the sustainability department are present to tell us about the different stages of making the collection, from the designers’ digging through the archives of Musée des Arts for inspiration to how sustainable value have been added to the products by the use of embellishments made from recycled glass or textiles made from recycled polyester.

H&M uses the Conscious collections, which have been made yearly since 2011, as opportunities to explore and test new materials. If the innovations work well and are scaleable, they might end up in the wider collections, as is the case with recycled polyester. As of right now, 20 percent of the materials used at H&M are sustainable. There’s no reported ambition of how this percentage will change in the coming years, but according to Head of Sustainability at H&M Anna Gedda there’s an ambition to raise the proportion of sustainable materials continuously. Gedda stresses the importance of collaboration in making this happen–both on an industry level and in-house, where the designers have to work closely to the sustainability department to look at new ways of doing things and new materials to use. Gedda also stresses the the importance of “closing the loop” when envisioning H&M’s role and responsibility as a leading fashion brand acting in a world with limited resources, both in terms of materials and social development.

Ann-Sofie Johansson, creative advisor at H&M, thinks this collection has had H&M bringing the idea of sustainability to new levels. “Things happen fast. We would never have been able to do this collection when we started doing the Conscious collections in 2011”, says Johansson.
Some of the more innovative features this time around are beads and rhinestones made of recycled glass and the use of Denimite, a material made out of recycled worn-out denim. “It takes longer to do the Conscious collections, as we strive to develop new techniques and new materials. Say we find a conventional lace that we want to use. We then ask the office Shanghai or elsewhere if it’s possible to make it in a sustainable way. They start working with developing the product…”, explains Johansson.

A special for this year’s edition of H&M Conscious Exclusive are three wedding dresses. Johansson doesn’t have a specific dream wearer, but there’s no doubt Parisian art director Julia Restoin Roitfeld, who is the face of the campaign, looks radiant in hers. “You shouldn’t have to compromise on style or sustainability”, she says. “It’s the future of fashion.”

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