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Tomorrow, September 27, H&M will launch their first Conscious Exclusive collection for fall, and it’s a good one. Here’s everything you need to know about it told by H&M’s creative advisor Ann-Sofie Johansson and environmental sustainability manager Cecilia Brännsten.

The H&M Conscious Exclusive collection Autumn/Winter 2018 is sold exclusively online at H&M.com. This season, they’re launching two new materials – recycled cashmere and a beautiful recycled polyester velvet, which is featured in our latest Editor’s Pick (check it out here).

We’ve styled a few of our favorite pieces from the collection in a mini Edit.

What were the inspirations or motivations for the Conscious Exclusive Autumn/Winter 2018 collection?

Ann-Sofie Johansson: “For the H&M Conscious Exclusive Autumn/Winter 2018 collection, the main inspiration was a fragment of an ancient tapestry from the 1500s. It made us think about the wondrous journey of historical artefacts or objects of art over the centuries and really motivated us to translate those ideas and emotions into a modern fashion context.”

Cecilia Brännsten: “We’re constantly striving to push the boundaries of sustainable fashion with the latest fabric innovations. Since this is the first ever Conscious Exclusive collection for Autumn/Winter, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to try out sustainable materials that are normally associated with the season like velvet and cashmere. These heavier fabrics were a major inspiration for the overall design of the garments, too, with their soft textures or weighty structure able to complement and support a long, dramatic coat, for example, or other statement pieces within the collection.”

What are the new sustainable fabrics used in this collection?

Cecilia Brännsten: “The new conscious fabrics in this collection are recycled cashmere and velvet made from recycled polyester. The recycled polyester used for the velvet is partly made from used uniforms and we have been developing this velvet for years in order to get a quality we were happy with. Meanwhile, recycled cashmere is made from leftover yarn that has been re-spun into cashmere.”

What are the key pieces in this collection?

Ann-Sofie Johansson: “With its sweeping full-length, oversized collar and striking waist-high side slits, the black coat made from a recycled wool blend is a versatile garment that can both be dressed up or down, while a long printed dress with voluminous sleeves and deep v back is always going to turn heads. Dresses overall are always key for Conscious Exclusive collections. The velvet pieces are important, too – there’s a subtly structured mini skirt in dusty rose pink and sharply tailored trousers with small slits at the back hem.”

Cecilia Brännsten: “I think that the recycled cashmere jumper is always a welcome cosy and chic addition to any wardrobe, but I suspect that for those looking to really make a statement, the all-over sequinned flower jacket with a contrast inside made in the tapestry inspired print – both in recycled polyester – will be the way to go.”

Why do you choose to have a collection focused on sustainability? 

Cecilia Brännsten: “Conscious Exclusive is a recurring collection of exquisite, premium pieces, but most importantly, it showcases the increasing possibilities of sustainable fashion with a focus on development and innovation. In a way, the Conscious Exclusive collection has always been the testing ground for us. It allows us to try out the latest sustainable fabrics on a smaller scale. And I’m thrilled to say that on numerous occasions, we were able to eventually incorporate them into the wider collections. We also have products made from sustainable materials in our range all year around.

Ann-Sofie Johansson: “The aim of the Conscious Exclusive collection is to move H&M’s fashion and sustainability development and innovation forward. By incorporating the latest technologies in sustainable fabrics and challenging what ‘sustainable fashion’ even looks like, we want to create pieces that are special on so many levels – beautiful to look at and touch, cherished by the wearer and made with sustainability at its core.”

What is the importance of technology in sustainable fashion?

Cecilia Brännsten: “Technology is very important when it comes to sustainable fashion for the simple fact that there are not as many sustainable fabrics for us to use to begin with. So often, we have to develop fabrics from scratch ourselves because something doesn’t exist or it’s so new, such as the velvet in this collection. It also means that our designers work very closely with the production of sustainable fabrics, say, replacing fibres in a jacquard with recycled polyester or creating the right weight of recycled wool for a winter coat. Overall, H&M is very proactive with sustainable fabrics and we’re always trying to do more in this area.”

Ann-Sofie Johansson: “Without technology, sustainable fashion would not be growing at the rate it is. While we do develop many fabrics ourselves, we also work with many great companies and factories around the world that are just as innovative and enthusiastic. In the same way we have the big designer collaborations each year, Conscious Exclusive is collaboration with quality and technology.”

What other steps do you take in the creation and production of the collection to make it sustainable?

Cecilia Brännsten: “Every little bit makes a difference. For instance, we use digital printing for all Conscious Exclusive collections because it does not require water, but it also makes more vibrant prints. The zipper tape is always made from recycled polyester. Whenever there are fabric-covered buttons, they are also made with the same sustainable fabric as the garment. And when a garment has a lining, it is also made from a sustainable fabric.”

Ann-Sofie Johansson: “From a design perspective, we’re always thinking in a sustainable way. For example, when developing the collection, there is not as much additional production – what you see, the number of pieces, is what we started with from the beginning, and we see them through to the end.”

What’s your favourite piece from this collection?

Ann-Sofie Johansson: “I’m usually drawn to the statement dresses, but this season, I see myself in the blouse with the tapestry-inspired print. The tapestry-inspired print is just breath-taking and it can easily be worn with tailored velvet trousers or even jeans for a simple look, or if I’m feeling particularly bold, layered underneath a sleeveless or strappy dress.”

Cecilia Brännsten: “My favourite piece from this collection has to be the Fortuny dress. From far away, it just looks like a long, dark blue dress, but upon closer inspection, you see the x-ray spray flower print, cording details at the neck, a slit at front, piping details at the waistband, raw-edge asymmetric frills at the hips and hem, and elasticated wrists.”

Fashion: 1. Organic cotton shirt. Recycled polyester blend trousers. 2. Recycled wool blend coat. 3. Organic silk dress. All H&M Conscious Exclusive AW18. 


Shop the collection here!

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