In 2020 I bought only preloved clothing. It’s a new year and I’m considering buying something brand new, but from a sustainable brand or collection (naturally!) This year I’ll be bringing you reviews of the sustainable fashion that’s available, as well as more preloved.
Today, H&M’s Conscious Collection. This collection from megabrand H&M is made from at least 50% sustainably sourced materials.
What’s good about it –
· Half or more of each garment is made from a more sustainable material, such as organic cotton, Tencell™ or recycled polyester
· The prices are equivalent to the rest of the brand’s range
· Many of the styles are classic rather than ‘of the moment’
· H&M are transparent about how and where the clothes are manufactured
The point about pricing is an important one: Only 32% of consumers would pay more for a sustainable brand. Clothing retailers face a difficult dilemma because many of the changes which would improve sustainability would make apparel more expensive. For example, manufacturing clothing here in Europe would be more sustainable, because it avoids the carbon coming from shipping clothes long distance. But it would cost more. As things stand most consumers aren’t prepared to pay that extra.
The Conscious Collection is mainly classic fashion (skinny black trousers and cardigans in never-out-of-style colours). Hopefully that means people will wear these items a lot. I love this cardigan with beautiful buttons. And these jeans. And I feel that these joggers are nothing less than a lockdown essential.
In other good news, while currently at least 50% of the Conscious range today is made from recycled fabrics, H&M state that their goal is to achieve 100% recycled or other sustainably sourced materials by 2030
What could be better –
· Most H&M Conscious Collection items are made mainly from synthetic materials, which may release microplastics when washed
· Items are manufactured overseas in countries such as Myanmar. This means they have been transported a long distance, adding to their carbon footprint
There could be a downside to the fact that the prices are relatively low: Modern ‘throw-away’ fashion culture is partly the result of inexpensive clothes. However, on balance it’s probably better to provide affordable options. Otherwise, sustainable fashion could be the preserve of the privileged. That would be a bad thing. And it would mean that sustainable fashion would stay niche.
All in all …
It’s very easy to pick holes and point out the ways in which this collection isn’t perfect. I’m tempted to do that! But, ‘don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good’. It has to be a good thing that brand known for fast fashion is making significant steps in the right direction. H&M is an accessible, stylish brand that can help popularise sustainable fashion. The joggers are going into my online basket right now …
#sustainability #ethicalstyle #sustainablewardrobe #30wears #sustainablefashion
4 thoughts on “Reviewing H&M’s Conscious Collection”
thanks for sharing this – I just heard about this collection! I appreciate the nuance you brought to it – of course it’s important to point out where these initiatives fall short so they don’t just become marketing with no substance – but at the same time, I totally agree that progress is usually a series of imperfect steps rather than one perfect transformation. Hopefully if H&M is successful, other retailers will start offering similar, and the whole industry gets a little cleaner and more sustainable!
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Thanks, Helena. I think you’re right – there is definitely a danger of greenwashing. But on the other hand, as you say progress in the right direction is encouraging 🙂
This is such a useful post! I’m a frequent H&M shopper, so reading this was very informative. I didn’t realize how much sustainable fashion benefits the environment. Now I know what to keep in mind when I purchase expensive clothes. Its also good to know that H&M will have 100 percent recycled clothing in a decade. Thanks for sharing 🙂
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Oh thanks so much for this comment, Tiffany! I am really delighted to hear that. In the next day or two I’m going to post some photos of my H&M Conscious buys 😀