H&M Conscious: Fashion Sustainability

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H&M Conscious: Fashion Sustainability

During the H&M Conscious Actions Sustainability Report 2014, Anna Gedda, head of sustainability for H&M have shown the world it is possible to become sustainable and still be profitable and above all making attractive clothing.

H&M Conscious: Fashion Sustainability

With Great Britain’s textile and clothing sector releasing: 3.1 million tonnes of CO2, 2 million tonnes of waste, 70 million tonnes of waste water, and 1.5 million tonnes of unwanted clothes. Yet, 95% of unwanted clothes can be re-worn or recycled reducing the risk of damaging our environment.

Foreseeing this problem, H&M has been working on, “closing the loop”. In 2014, their clothing was 21.2% certified organic, recycled and better cotton initiative. Their goal by 2020 is to achieve 100%. Using sustainable cotton means: no pesticides, no fertilizers and no genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and improving the water usage.

Currently H&M is number one user of certified organic cotton, the largest user of organic cotton in the world. H&M is also part of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) which oversees good farm practices. Working along side WWF and BCI provide 220,000 farmers the knowledge and support.

H&M Conscious: Fashion Sustainability

Sustainability doesn’t stop there, the production of yarns, fabrics and garments are also accountable. This includes: bleaching, printing and dyeing of the fabrics. Where chemicals may cause carcinogenic, neurological, allergies and fertility, also creating non-biodegradable wastes, plus water and energy are usage.

According to WWF, 8,500 litres of water is needed to grow cotton for one pair of jeans. For that reason, many farmers use chemicals to grow cotton faster, affecting the soil in the process.


H&M Conscious: Fashion SustainabilityH&M goal is to “change the view of the fashion today making, moving from a linear model to a circular one where all new garments can be turned into new products again and again” said Anna Gedda, head of sustainability for H&M. For that reason, H&M has joined forces with luxury, sport & lifestyle group Kering and textile innovators Worn Again to develop textile-recycling technology, to able to separate polyester and cotton, and recapture polyester and cellulose (cotton) into a new fabric. This would redirect the fashion industry into a “circular resource model”.

The ground breaking, success and accomplishments H&M has made throughout the years on sustainability, reducing and recycling natural resources and fighting for equality and fair wages have been evident.

In 2014 H&M collected 7,684 tonnes of clothing, this equals to 38,000 T-shirts. The same year, recycled cotton T-Shirts, from the collection initiation, was first introduced. Also the first Conscious Denim collection was present with an average of 56% less water and 58% less energy than any other denim.

From sustainability to fashion, Ann-Sofie Johansson, creative advisor for H&M and Catarina Midby, sustainable fashion advisor for H&M demonstrated beautiful, timeless garments with billowing skirts, tailor garments, bomber jacket and dresses. The colours vary from clean whites, grey, black and different tones of red keeping the garments classic.

H&M Conscious: Fashion Sustainability

Last year H&M experimented on leather and organic silk, while this year they experimented with embellishments from pearls to sequins. The embellishments looked stunning, you would never have guessed it came from recycling plastic materials.

The collection’s inspiration is versatile from tribal to Japanese with interesting fabric contrast and embellishments of recycled beads. Some fabrics have been hand drawn of birds. Others, have loose threads which are left intentionally, sleeves cut til the elbow and other interesting touches making this collection unique.

Most importantly, the Conscious Exclusive collection has been made from various sustainable materials from: hemp, organic leather, lyocell to organic linen.

H&M Conscious: Fashion Sustainability


From fashion to celebrities, actress and humanitarian Olivia Wilde represents the new campaign which has been available since 16th April 2015 around 200 H&M stores and online. She agrees the Conscious Exclusive collection is worth buying for its style and its representation, “I love the Conscious Exclusive collection at H&M, both for the look and also for its ethics. This is how all fashion should be: great style that’s naturally more sustainable.”

Many fashion companies believe sustainable fashion is not profitable, but how profitable will it be in the near future when cotton and polyester prices keep rising? Finding other resources? Rise the price tags?

When are we going to follow what is right because it feels right?  Sustainability is today and tomorrows future. – “don’t let fashion go to waste.”

H&M Conscious: Fashion Sustainability

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Written by Blaise Allys Masey

Graduated from University of Central Lancashire with a Bachelors Degree in Fashion Promotion with Styling. From Fashion Stylist, Fashion Designer to Fashion Journalist. Discovering fashion through different lenses and living its vast and diverse adventure.

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