If you’re looking at extending the concept of sustainability to what you wear, then there are two ends of the spectrum to work with: organic wear and apparel fashion with threads recycled from waste. Going hand-in-hand with these collections are upcycled garments — handmade and artisan-crafted clothing with ethical and fair-trade practices backing their businesses.
When H&M’s Sustainability Manager, Elin Astrom, was in Delhi recently for the Amazon India Fashion Week to take us through the Conscious Exclusive collection, she spoke about what sustainable fashion really means to the brand.
This year, the collection — showcased in India for the first time — was all about Bionic, a new material developed from recovered shoreline waste. An installation showing off the material and enunciating its qualities was on view.
Each piece is really a talking point — be it a netted bag, a belted black jacket or a simple white shirt, the fabric is lustrous. The collection also has other sustainable materials, such as organic cotton and recycled polyester.
Closing the loop
We don’t see conservation as a part of what we do. It is what we do — in everything we do. It runs through the production chain and is integrated across all functions,” says Astrom. H&M has tied up with the Better Cotton Initiative, a not-for-profit that makes growing cotton sustainable. A lot of the recycled collection is from the Garment Collect Initiative, where people have been encouraged to drop off old, worn clothes at a store. It’s the reason the brand has clothes for children too.
Every H&M garment comes with a clevercare.info tag. The website details what each one of us can do to make our cleaning process less earth-destructive. While the ‘Don’t wash your clothes too often’ advice may not serve us well in India, other guidelines like lowering the temperature while machine-washing and avoiding dry-cleaning do apply.
The Conscious Exclusive collection is in the ₹1,999 to ₹22,999 price range, and will be sold from April 20 onwards at High Street Phoenix, Mumbai and Select Citywalk, New Delhi