In waste, H&M finds style and beauty in latest Conscious Collection

Robert Stockdill

Robert Stockdill

Swedish fast-fashion giant H&M has unveiled its latest Conscious Exclusive collection for AW2020 an array of new clothing made from sustainably sourced material in turn created from waste. 

“We really wanted to be trailblazers – pushing the limits of creativity and sustainable fashion – by focusing on waste,” explains Ann-Sofie Johansson, creative advisor at H&M. 

“As a result, every piece in this collection is crafted from truly amazing materials produced from waste, including one that transforms food crop waste into a natural fibre and another that’s made from sustainably sourced wood pulp. Speaking through beauty, waste can be the future of sustainable fashion.” 

In waste, H&M finds style and beauty in latest Conscious Collection

From opulent evening gowns in black and green jacquard taffeta, yellow jacquard or festooned with dusty green flowers, to oversized tops and tailored suiting, the range spans multiple occasions, from casual to formal.

Key pieces in the new collection include a yellow off-the-shoulder recycled polyester floral print dress with a voluminous ruffle along the chest, a dusty green short-sleeved mini-dress that floats by in a cloud of chiffon flowers made from closed-loop polyester, a black taffeta-like recycled polyester mini-dress with dark green woven-in flowers, statement puff sleeves, deep v-neckline and nipped-in waist, and a forest green body-con recycled polyester cocktail dress with a ruched bodice and asymmetrical puff shoulder. 

H&M’s design team has also emphasised versatile separates that can be dressed up or down, such as a black cropped blazer and wide trousers, both made from Naia Renew (a cellulosic fibre made from sustainably sourced wood pulp and recycled waste plastics, and blended with silk), a voluminous black fil-coupe recycled polyester sleeveless top with multi-coloured woven-in flowers, and a black taffeta-like Naia Renew blouse with puff shoulders and voluminous sleeves. 

Menswear and accessories

Men are not forgotten. The range features a black double-breasted recycled polyester, tencel and wool blend tuxedo with detachable flower embellishment, a yellow floral jacquard workwear-style jacket made from recycled polyester, and a black workwear shirt and pair of trousers made from Agraloop Hemp Biofibre, which is made from food crop waste.

In waste, H&M finds style and beauty in latest Conscious Collection

Accessories include what H&M describes as “bold, edgy” choker necklaces and earrings in a variety of recycled metals providing a rebellious contrast to the “poetic” clothing, with moth and grasshopper motifs as a nod to well-worn beauty. 

High-heeled mules made from Vegea, a vegan leather partly made from the by-products of winemaking, come with removable sock boots also in Vegea, that can be embellished with clip-on decorative shoe clips or chains in recycled metals. 

A classic bowtie is made from Naia Renew, while sunglasses have a slimmer profile and supersonic vibe, and crafted from the state-of-the-art material Made of Air – a new material partly made from waste biomass and designed to combat climate change.

Ella Soccorsi, an H&M designer who worked on the Conscious Exclusive collection, was inspired by the Venice Biennale of 2018, which was titled May You Live in Interesting Times. 

“The design team kept getting drawn to these strong, serious exhibitions that also offered hope. We, too, want a world based on a positive future rather than continuing on the dangerous path the planet is currently on,” she explains. “The selection of sustainably sourced materials made from waste was therefore intentional, and in this way, we’ve created something beautiful from waste and learned to appreciate the value of what’s around us.” 

The materials…

H&M says some new, sustainably sourced materials have debuted in this new collection. Agraloop Hemp Biofibre, which won a Global Change Award in 2018, makes its commercial debut worldwide. The material is based on food crop waste converted into a new natural fibre – in this range oil-seed hemp. 

Naia Renew is also new to H&M, a cellulosic fibre produced in a closed-loop chemical system from circular sourced content – 60 per cent wood pulp and 40 per cent recycled waste plastics that includes used carpet fibre and post-industrial plastic packaging materials.

H&M’s Conscious Exclusive AW20 collection goes on sale at from December 1.

In waste, H&M finds style and beauty in latest Conscious Collection
Robert Stockdill

Robert Stockdill

Robert Stockdill is a content writer with more than 30 years of experience in five countries. His style has built upon award-winning success in news and features in the print media to leadership in digital communication, spanning news websites, social media, magazines, brochures, and contributing to books. Recognising the devastating impact of consumer behaviour on the planet and wanting to help make a difference Robert launched Viable.Earth as a platform to celebrate positive contributions by brands, companies and individuals towards reducing environmental impact and improve sustainability – especially in the fields of fashion, beauty, food, lifestyle, and transportation.


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