“H&M’s Conscious Exclusive collection shows how the best style can be mindful of the planet, to help protect it for the future. It’s such a desirable collection, with pieces made using sustainable materials that you want to wear for seasons to come,” says Natalia Vodianova, the face of the campaign and founder of Elbi – a philanthropy digital platform connecting users with a global network of charities. A huge believer in sustainability, Natalia always does what she can to help conserve the environment and promote sustainability. In doing so, this makes her the ideal face for this special campaign. We got the chance to speak to the beautiful Natalia to learn more about her thoughts on sustainable fashion, her role as a philanthropist, and more.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability is so important, and it’s something we all have to address today. It’s the responsibility of every modern, forward-thinking person who is aware of their surroundings and who is able to influence the world. And I mean everyone – from those who rule countries to consumers who have the power over of what they buy. Anybody who goes shopping should be thinking about sustainability.
What about sustainable style?
It’s about what you buy and the way that you buy along with how you wear it. Always look at the label to see if a garment is made from sustainable materials, and don’t be scared to ask questions. I’ve started buying less, only getting something new when I really need it, and wearing pieces for longer. I also recycle and reuse garments, particularly with my kids. My baby is now wearing items my first son wore. It’s adorable and cute, and it’s also sustainable.
What does it mean for you to be the face of the new H&M Conscious Exclusive campaign?
I am so happy that they asked me, because the idea of consciousness is one that is very close to my heart. I started my Naked Heart Foundation 12 years ago, and I spend a large portion of my life giving back. I’ve always wanted to work with H&M, because they are such trailblazers in the industry, especially with their pioneer work in sustainability.
What were you excited to discover about the fabrics and materials used in the Conscious Exclusive collection?
What I love about the project is H&M’s commitment to sustainability. They have spent so much time working with their factories and suppliers to develop more sustainable fabrics. It’s amazing that they created fabrics like BIONIC made from recovered plastic from shorelines, waterways and coastal communities to turn them into something beautiful. It is also fantastic that H&M don’t keep this to themselves. They want their suppliers to share this knowledge with everyone in the fashion industry, and to inspire other brands to follow in their path to sustainability.
Which is your favorite piece from the Conscious Exclusive collection?
I am in love with the beautiful pleated evening gown made entirely from recycled shoreline waste. The fabric is so soft and fluid, and it feels so special to wear. It’s a gorgeous dress, and it’s incredible to think that it is made from plastic bottles and other waste from the shore. It’s a dress I very much look forward to wearing over the Spring and Summer seasons.
What do you think about H&M’s conscious efforts and commitments to sustainability?
H&M’s sustainable actions are really inspiring. They have made bold and impressive commitments to sustainable goals, and they are determined to meet them – one of which is to only be using sustainable cotton by 2020, and their vision to only use recycled or sustainably sourced materials. The Conscious Exclusive collection is about very special pieces, but all year round H&M is moving towards increasing sustainability for everyone, plus you can always find sustainable products in H&M’s stores.
How do you think people should make sustainability part of their lives?
There is so much that we can all do in our everyday lives. I definitely try to do my bit as much as possible, whether it’s turning off the tap when I’m brushing my teeth or having a shower instead of a bath, trying to buy organic food and also making sure that my food’s packaging is sustainable. I’ve also learned so much about sustainability from being a part of the Conscious Exclusive campaign, and I think it’s important to always be open to learning more about what we can all do.
Do you have any sustainable style tips?
Sustainability in fashion is not just about the design and production of the clothes: It’s also about our actions once we have made the purchase. You can try to wash your clothes less, and when you do so, make sure you was them at a lower temperature. Whenever possible, hang clothes to dry instead of tumble drying. Or simply wear your clothes for as long as possible, and when you are finished with them, recycle. Never throw clothes away – if they are worn-out and old, then they can be made into something new.
How do you use your position as a global icon to give back and promote worthy causes?
Twelve years ago, I launched the Naked Heart Foundation to give children a safe place to play in Russia’s urban environments. Since then, we have built 177 playgrounds, and have also started another program to build support systems for children with special needs and their families. It’s everything from organizing forums and financing summer camps to training school teachers as to how to work with children with special needs. Then I began thinking about my experiences in charity, and how we could take this to a more global level. So in 2015, I launched an app called Elbi, that allows people to instantly make donations to charities, because I believe that more giving should take place online. To me, giving back is the most important part of my work, and something that I hope will define my career.
The H&M Conscious Exclusive collection will be available in selected stores across the Middle East on April 20th. For more information, visit www.hm.com.
You can read more about their revolutionary new yarn and the BIONIC dress here.