Here’s our exclusive interview with H&M’s Creative Advisor, Ann-Sofie Johansson about the H&M’s Conscious Exclusive collection
1. For this year’s Conscious Exclusive collection, H&M collaborated with Natalia Vodianova who is also the face of the campaign. How did this collaboration come about and what is it like working with Natalia Vodianova?
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 an interest in sustainability and therefore, she is the perfect ambassador for this collection. This is the first campaign Natalia Vodianova shoots together with H&M.
2. H&M’s design team drew inspiration from shoreline waste. What attracted the design team to draw inspiration from this? Which key piece from the Conscious Exclusive collection is your favourite?
The H&M Conscious Exclusive is a recurring fashion collection that is at the forefront of H&M’s sustainability work. The collection aims to move H&M’s fashion and sustainability development and innovation forward towards a sustainable fashion future. The collection is made from sustainable materials, giving our design team an opportunity to experiment with new and interesting sustainable materials. A new sustainable material for this season is the BIONIC made from recovered plastic from shorelines, waterways and coastal communities. Other sustainable materials include fabrics such as recycled polyester, tencel and organic silk.
My favourite piece is the blue brocade jacket with beautiful embroideries and embellishments that are both tactile and three dimensional. It is a real statement piece that you can wear in so many different ways, paired with denims for a casual look or with black pants with frills at the bottom for a more sophisticated look. It is a precious piece I would save in my wardrobe forever and would only take out for special occasions.
3. For this collection, H&M worked with materials such as BIONIC. What are some of the challenges you faced while working with these sustainable materials? When designing a Conscious Exclusive collection, would you consider the design or the materials available as the first thing required to jumpstart the project?
As I mentioned earlier, the Conscious Exclusive collection gives our design team an opportunity to experiment with new and interesting sustainable materials with an aim to move H&M’s fashion and sustainability development and innovation forward. There are many people, all with different expertise, involved in the design and development process of finding new and sustainable materials that are up to our high quality standards. We have already started to work on next year’s collection and we are looking forward to tell you more about the collection at the beginning of next year.
4. This year, H&M also introduced the Conscious Exclusive collection for kids. What is the reason behind this introduction? In addition to the introduction of the collection for kids, how is this year’s collection different from previous years?
We have had fantastic responses from our customers for our previous Conscious Exclusive collections. As we always want to surprise our customers with something new it only felt natural to introduce the collection for kids. The collection contains formal wear for the youngest member of the family, with ruffled dresses in soft colours for the girls and blazer jackets and trousers with creases and folds for the boys. In addition we have reintroduced menswear which we are really happy about.
5. How has your knowledge on sustainability inspired your personal style and lifestyle? What do you hope customers can bring along with them when they purchase a piece from the Conscious Exclusive collection?
I have always had a big interest in sustainability and I believe that comes from my parents and growing up on the countryside that is close to nature. My parents taught me about nature and the fragility of our world and how to leave a footprint in it. I invest in pieces that I love and will stay with me for a long time and I hope that our customers do the same when they come to our stores.