Behind the Scenes of the 2020 Conscious Exclusive Collection – Creating our Most Sustainable Collection Ever

In March H&M's eagerly anticipated 2020 Conscious Exclusive Collection dropped in our online stores. At H&M we take great pride in pushing the boundaries when it comes to sustainability, and this collection is proof that fashion doesn’t have to come at the expense of the planet. Many of the emplyees at the Far East Asia Production Offices have been personally involved in its creation – but regardless of our role in the H&M Group, we are all part of making our Conscious Exclusive Collection reality.

Let’s have a peek behind the scenes and into the future of fashion – here are the highlights you can’t miss!

Closing the circle with Circulose

"Circulose is really cool as the fibre comes from used textile rather than from forests or cotton fields. With Circulose, we are able to bring our used garments back to life and close the loop."
Michelle Hui, Material Manager for Woven

Ask anyone working with materials or in the sustainability team and there’s a risk they won’t stop talking about Circulose. Be warned.

Here’s the short version: In 2017 H&M Group’s CO:LAB invested in Swedish start-up re:newcell – a small company who figured out how to dissolve fibres such as cotton and viscose from used clothes and then create new fibres for new clothes. That is closing the loop in action.

Circulose is unique and revolutionary as it replaces virgin raw materials, and it is economical enough to produce in commercial quantities, without compromising on the quality.

In fact, in some tests it even outperforms new cotton and viscose. What’s more, the Circulose production process uses a closed loop system for water and chemicals and is powered by renewable energy.

With this collection we are the first company to use chemically recycled fibres in fashion sold at scale. A round of applause, please!

For more information on Circulose and other interesting materials, check out the Materials part of the 2019 H&M Group Sustainability Report.

Coffee dye with a very local connection

“Going forward, we need to be using more bio-based materials and use more waste in our collections” Pascal Brun, Sustainability Manager at H&M

Here is something where many of the emplyees in FEA Production played a crucial role – namely the coffee drinkers at the Shanghai production office!

We took used coffee grounds from the office coffee machines and worked with our local supplier to create and dye a beautiful, subtly beige silk and Tencel fabric. The result is the 2020 Conscious Exclusive Collection’s elegant Avignon strap top. Talk about teamwork – keep sipping, everyone!

The process not only utilises what is normally considered waste, but it also has a very low environmental footprint – this is thinking outside the box at its finest.

GCA winner ‘Vegea’ – vegan leather from an unlikely source

Winners of the 2017 Global Change Awards, innovative Italian start-up Vegea uses grape skins, stalks and seeds left over from wine production to make their 100% vegetal leather. No toxic solvents, heavy metals or dangerous substances are needed in the production process.

The result is a stunning material that is both free of animal suffering and the environmental tole normally  associated with conventional synthetic leather.

Our Conscious Collection features details on handbags and shoes made with wine-residue-turned-leather from Vegea.

After winning the GCA in Shanghai in 2017, the industry took notice and Vegea have since won numerous other awards and have gained a lot of recognition for their work – including winning the Horizon 2020, the biggest EU research and innovation program ever, and the European Parliament recognised Vegea as one of the best European start-ups of the new millennium.

Premium brands including our own & Other Stories and luxury car maker Bentley now use Vegea.

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