H&M is a brand that is sold in different countries and different markets. What are some of the things you consider in relation to the global consumer, wherever they may be, when thinking about a new collection? All our special collections such as the Conscious Exclusive or Studio collection are the same in all our markets. However, H&M is a global fashion company and it is therefore natural that our general assortment is locally adapted to fit all current 65 markets. The assortment in the stores is evolving as we continuously assess the product mix, which is decided by each store’s specific pre-requisites when it comes to e.g. its size and the customers’ requests.
What are some of the trends and style influences that we can expect with the Conscious Exclusive collection? It is a contemporary collection made from conscious materials to be worn at special events and occasions as well as for everyday dress up. The new collection is created with inspiration from the human senses which is also noticeable in the choice of materials and embellishments – how they look, but also how they feel and sound.
Key pieces for women are the dresses seen in a variety of silhouettes ranging from sheer ball gown styles to shorter embroidered cocktail dresses. Meanwhile the tuxedo is re-imagined as relaxed lounge jacket matched with pants with a stylish flounce at the leg. Accessories include a fishnet bag made entirely from recycled shoreline waste, as well as quirky and elegant earrings made from recycled glass and plastic which add to the contemporary look.
New for this year’s Conscious Exclusive collection is kids wear made of sustainable materials.
What actually makes this collection conscious, different from your other collections and what goes into the design process to make it sustainable?H&M Conscious Exclusive are recurring fashion collections aiming to move H&M’s fashion and sustainability development and innovation forward towards a sustainable fashion future. The actual design process is pretty much the same as for any other collection; it is the sourcing of the new sustainable materials that takes the most time. The H&M design team has been working with the Conscious Exclusive collection 2017 since last spring. The collection is an opportunity for our design team to experiment with new interesting sustainable materials and processes that can make our products more sustainable. The new sustainable material for this year’s collection is Bionic, made from recovered plastic from shorelines, waterways and coastal communities.
Can you tell us about the actual campaign, what is the creative direction and inspiration behind the visuals? We are very happy about Natalia Vodianova being the face of our campaign for the Conscious Exclusive collection. Natalia has a personal commitment to and interest in sustainability and for us she is therefore the perfect ambassador for this collection. This is the first campaign Natalia shoots together with H&M. The campaign was shot by David Sims and styled by Ludivine Poiblanc.
What are some of your personal favourite pieces from this collection? I love the blue brocade jacket (R4499). It’s a real statement piece that you can wear in so many different ways, with denims for a casual look or the black pants with a frill (R1499) at the bottom for a more sophisticated look. It´s a precious piece I would save in my wardrobe forever and take out for special occasions.
How can we as customers get more involved in conscious consumerism?There are several things that one can do to become a more sustainable consumer. One thing that will make a difference is to start handing in your worn-out clothes to our garment collecting initiative. We were the first fashion company to offer garment collection on a global scale. This helps reducing the quantity of textiles that end up in landfills, providing a new use for them. Up until today we have collected over 40 000 tons of garments and textiles in our stores to give them a new life.
How you care for your garments is another important aspect. In 2014 we introduced the Clever Care label that can now be found in all H&M products to encourage its customers to follow some easy steps to reduce their at-home footprint for example: don’t wash your clothes unnecessarily and lower the washing temperature from 60 to 30 degrees, the clothes will be as clean but only use half the energy. Hang-dry your clothes instead of tumble-dry and avoid tumble drying.
The collection is only available in V&A Waterfront