We at bazaar are huge fans of the environment, and with six Conscious Exclusive collections under their belt, so are H&M! Another thing we both have in common besides our mutual love for a sustainable Earth is: Saving the world, with style. This is why we were overjoyed to learn that H&M’s newest Conscious Exclusive collection will be released in selected stores on April 20th – just in time for Earth Day! With excitement in our hearts for an environmentally friendly line we just had to sit with Ann-Sofie Johansson. Picking the H&M Creative Advisor’s brain regarding the inspiration and aspiration towards this considerate collection was just what we needed. Did we mention the collection is made from entirely sustainable materials, including their trademark registered, all-new Bionic Yarn?
You’ve worked on many Conscious Exclusive collections for H&M in the past, what makes this collection different?
The creation of this year’s collection was inspired by the human senses, which is made noticeable in the choice of materials and embellishments – how they look, but also how they feel and sound. The embellishments are an important part of the collection with large sequins that warp the surfaces and make their own music, mixed with tiny beads to create fantastic shapes, while the jacquards and embroideries are tactile and both sheer and three dimensional.
Can you tell us more about the pioneering sustainable material, BIONIC? How was it developed and how long did it take to produce it?
Bionic Yarn is made with plastic recovered from shorelines, waterways and coastal communities protecting the oceans from plastic pollution. Founded by Tyson Toussaint, Tim Coombs and Pharrell Williams, Bionic Yarn makes the material and yarn that our suppliers buy to produce the garments for Conscious Exclusive. It is made from collecting and recovering waste from shorelines of Hainan, China, and is refined into chips that are mixed with other reclaimed PET bottles. Then, the chips are heated and pulled apart into fibers and spun into yarn. The yarn is then woven into fabric that in turn sewn into Conscious Exclusive masterpieces.
The delicate, plisse dress made of BIONIC fabric is simply stunning! How did this design come about, and why was a festive gown chosen to showcase this new, sustainable fabric?
The H&M Conscious Exclusive collections aim to move H&M’s environmentally friendly fashion development and innovation forward towards a sustainable fashion future. The collections are made from sustainable materials and offer our design team an opportunity to experiment with new and interesting sustainable materials. This is actually the first time that Bionic Yarn has been used to make a beautiful and delicate evening wear, and to make the beautiful Bionic plissé dress in the Conscious Exclusive collection, it takes 89 standard size PET bottles.
This year, you are offering kids’ fashion for the first time within the collection, tell us more about the pieces and how this will influence future generations on being conscious in their fashion choices?
Conscious Exclusive is a contemporary collection made to be worn for both special occasions and every day lifestyles, so we are very happy to be able to include a selection of styles for kids. The kids’ collection includes many pieces such as beautiful little tulle dresses, and the softest structured blazers and trousers with a charming street style feel.
What are some other key pieces to look forward to in this collection?
The blue brocade jacket is definitely one of the key pieces of the collection and one of my personal favorites. Other highlights are the pink short cocktail dress with recycled polyester sequins, as well as the tuxedo that has been reimagined as a lounge jacket in organic silk and TENCEL twill, paired with trousers that playfully flounce at the leg.
What are some of your favorite pieces from the H&M Conscious Exclusive collection?
I love the blue brocade jacket. It’s a real statement piece that can be worn in so many different ways: with denim for a casual look, or with frill-hemmed black trousers for a more sophisticated look. It’s a precious piece I would save in my wardrobe forever and take out for special occasions.
H&M is constantly working towards a more sustainable fashion future. What are some H&M’s planned actions to realize this future goal?
At H&M Group, we are constantly on the lookout for innovative materials and processes that can make our products more sustainable. Today, 26 percent of the materials that H&M Group uses to make our clothes are organic, recycled or come from other sustainable fabrics. While we are still currently one of the world’s biggest users of organic cotton, recycled polyester and Lyocell, this year, we’re happy to add Bionic Yarn as a new sustainable material used in our garments. Our goal is to increase the share of such fabrics in our total material use on a yearly basis, making more environmentally friendly choices available to a larger group of people. We hope that that this will help lift these materials to scale to create a demand for further innovation; and by actively investing large resources, we will drive sustainable development throughout the entire garment life cycle.
Check out bazaar’s exclusive interview with the face of the Conscious Exclusive campaign, Natalia Vodianova for even more perspective on this great collection!