About 20 years ago, I returned to my Victoria’s Secret head of design and product development office with my first Tokyo-purchased piece of clothing made from pineapple leaves. It was a beauty — sophisticated and not a rough-surface fabric like hemp was back then. Fashion has only changed selectively since then, chugging along slower than’ The Little Train That Could’, with a wink and a nod to sustainability.
One major brand NOT chugging at a snail’s pace in the drive to sustainability is H&M’s Conscious Exclusive collections. Oumie Jammeh, Alanna Arrington and Imaan Hammam encourage us to embrace a sustainable future, buying into the H&M Conscious Exclusive 2019 Campaign, lensed by Josh Olins..
The new 2019 collection is good enough to eat, making its debut Wednesday night in Los Angeles. Celebrities, Influencers and friends of the brand such as Irina Shayk, Dakota Fanning, Rowan Blanchard, Halima Aden, Camila Morrone, Abigail Spencer, Amber Valletta, Alek Wek, Emmanuelle Chriqui, and many more celebrated a collection celebrating humans relationship with nature, along with a sustainable future.
H&M’s latest Conscious Exclusive collection—its ninth so far —introduces three materials the brand is using for the first time: Piñatex, a leather alternative made from the cellulose fiber of pineapple leaves (which become waste after the fruit is harvested); Orange Fiber, a silklike fabric made from the peels of oranges at the end of the juice production cycle; and BLOOM Foam, a high-performance foam made from algae biomass, which “cleans the environment and reduces the risk of algal blooms while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels,” according to the company’s website.
The new Conscious Exclusive Collection arrives in stores on April 11, and it’s a beauty, says Ann-Sofie Johansson, H&M’s creative advisor. “It’s so incredible to have the opportunity to work with all of these truly beautiful materials that show that fashion and sustainability must go hand in hand.”
“It’s very important to be able to get the quality of the fashion right—the way the clothes look and feel,” Johansson continues. “If [the aesthetic] is not 100 percent, our customers probably will not like it.”
According to the Conscious Exclusive collection press release, the new collection strikes a balance between glamour and innovation, with designs and colors that honor nature’s importance to our wellbeing. The H&M design team minerals, trees, and plants into jacquards and flowing printed fabrics. The color palette consists of lavender, sand, aqua blue, petrol blue, and coral pink along with black, gold and silver.
In the new collection, the knotted slide sandals have BLOOM foam soles, for instance;
The abstract floral dresses and sleek suits utilize Orange Fiber.
If your dress is made from repurposed orange peels and your patchwork cowboy boots from cast-off pineapple leaves, isn’t that the first thing you’d tell someone? Yes! We can all become brand ambassadors for H&M Conscious clothes that care about the environment. We need an entire lifestyle governed by these principles and not only a dress or two in our closets.
Younger customers are demanding dialogue around this topic of too many clothes that are polluting our planet. H&M is using these innovative materials and manufacturing practices with a long-term commitment to fully-sustainable practices.
“Looking forward, we definitely wish to be able to include and incorporate many of these fabrics into our broader fashion offering [beyond the Conscious Exclusive collection],” Johansson says. “We have set a goal that by 2030, all of H&M’s materials will come from sustainable sources, and we believe that this is possible.”