H&M has been slowly changing the face of sustainable fashion. Now with the Conscious Denim collection, it is clear that the brand and the many facets of the industry are taking sustainable, eco-conscious clothing seriously.
By: Shakila Rajendra
In October 2014, H&M introduced the Conscious Denim collection, a clean and modern styled collection with contemporary cuts created from sustainable materials using conscious production processes. The washes used on the denim have been assessed for their environmental impact, including energy and water use. The collection includes pieces for women, men and children, and is available worldwide in more than 700 stores, as well as online.
“We’re so excited about Conscious Denim at H&M. We’ve worked hard to reduce the environmental impact from the washing processes, along with using materials that are more sustainable. The collection is filled with great pieces, and proves how sustainability can equal great style,” says Helena Helmersson, Head of Sustainability for H&M.
The result is a full collection with modern cuts in deep indigo hues. The women’s Conscious Denim has the essential styles of the season, from low and high-waisted skinny jeans to boyfriend cuts and tapered legs. To complete the look, these denim essentials are accompanied by pieces made from Conscious materials that are just as versatile as denim. Treat yourself to a consciously blue knit jogger-jeans which have the softness of sweatpants, or covetable indigo jumpsuit in Tencel® that has a slim, unique fit.
MANUFACTURING WITH CARE
On a trip with H&M to Guangzhou, China, MC was privileged to get a first-hand, one of a kind experience into just how much thought goes into manufacturing the garments that fit into the Conscious Denim collection. Since its entry to China in 2007, H&M has opened around 200 stores in mainland China, including 20 in Shanghai, 20 in Beijing and more in the pipeline.
All factories affiliated with H&M’s manufacturing have to undergo stringent sustainability policies which are monitored by H&M’s own team of auditors. The brand’s suppliers adhere to a number of sustainable policies which include:
• Comfortable working conditions and fair wages for its workers. In November 2013, H&M developed a new roadmap that states that a fair living wage covering workers’ basic needs should be paid by all their commercial goods suppliers.
• The use of clean energy in itsoperations. Wherever possible, H&M works with ‘Green Factories’ such as the Yida Apparels Factory in Guangzhou, China. The use of LED lights, water curtains instead of air conditioning and solar energy for water heating all contribute to its energy saving commitment.
• Free from harmful chemicals. H&M’s restrictions are some of the most stringent in the industry and often go well beyond legislative demands to protect the health and safety of its staff and customers.
• Responsible waste and water management. All H&M suppliers working with wet processes, such as dyeing or washing, are required to treat their wastewater. Wastewater quality in the supply chain have to meet quality levels defined by the Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) Water Group or relevant local laws. For example, the Yida Apparels factory reuses 80% of the waterreleased using 70% for production and releasing 20% into the local sewage systems.
To find out more about H&M’s Conscious Denim collection and their sustainable efforts, please visit: