High street retailer H&M is set to unveil its fifth Conscious Exclusive collection tomorrow and FashionUnited was invited to an exclusive behind-the-scenes preview of the collection at the Swedish retailer’s office in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. During the preview, H&M also highlighted its ongoing focus on sustainability through its initiatives such as its global recycling campaign to close the loop in fashion.
“This is a very special collection, a collection which is at the forefront when it comes to sustainability at H&M,” said Ann-Sofie Johansson, Creative Advisor at H&M. “We tried to challenge ourselves with this collection to make things in a more sustainable way.” Inspired by the archives of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, located in the Palais du Louvre in Paris, the collection features stand-out pieces based on paintings, old horse riding jackets as well as the smock blouses worn by artists in the 17th century. “This jacket, it is a jacquard and it is made out of recycled polyester and designed to look like an old textile from the 18th century. It is made from one piece, which is very special in textile.”
H&M unveils 5th Conscious Exclusive collection ahead of its global recycling week
This year’s edition of the collection features clothing and accessories made from more sustainable materials than before, as H&M incorporates new technologies into their designs. “Thanks to technology and new innovations, the list of the fabrics we can use for each collection is getting longer. When we made the first collection, it was almost only made from organic cotton and recycled polyester. Now we have so many more materials,” added Johansson. For example, the collection contains dresses, skirts and tops decorated with rhinestones made from recycled glass, a first for the fast-fashion retailer. “It may not sound like much, but it was impossible to make this before,” noted the Creative Advisor. H&M also incorporated a new material, named Denimite, which is made from recycled-post consumer denim mix with bio-based resin. “The effect is beautiful, it almost looks like marble when its actually old denim.”
The collection also contains a pair of flats, inspired by the kimono bow made from eucalyptus bark and cat-eye sunglasses made from plastic bags. Completely new to the collection this year are three wedding dresses, another first for the fast-fashion retailer. “This is the first time we have made wedding dresses, which were a request from our customers,” said Johansson. Each of the three dresses has its own distinct fit and look in order to appeal to as many brides as possible and appeal to a wider audience.
In the end, however H&M had one main goal in mind when it came to crafting the collection: “We wanted them to be beautiful pieces that you love and save in your wardrobe to have for years to come,” said Johansson. The full H&M Conscious Exclusive collection is set to launch worldwide in 165 select stores and online at hm.com on Thursday, April 7, coinciding with the opening of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs' exhibition, “Fashion Forward-300 Years of Fashion.”