H&M is keeping good on its promise to go green by 2040 with their new line of clothing. Called the H&M Conscious Exclusive collection, the line features garments made from textiles that are woven from regenerated nylon reclaimed from landfills and oceans, effectively diverting a waste stream while also avoiding creating another one.
The Conscious Exclusive collection is a partnership between the fashion giant and Aquafil, a leading manufacturer of Nylon 6, a synthetic material used for clothing and other goods. The company has recently made a commitment to sustainability, which has led to the development of its ECONYL yarn, made from 100 percent regenerated waste. H&M is using this material to produce two high-end, sustainable lace dresses, which will be available worldwide on April 19, 2018.
“We’re proud to feature ECONYL in this year’s Conscious Exclusive collection. At H&M, we’re constantly on the lookout for innovative materials and processes that can make our products more sustainable," said Cecilia Brännsten, acting environmental sustainability manager at H&M. "The Conscious Exclusive collection has always been an important testing ground for us as it allows us to try out the latest sustainable fabrics on a smaller scale. On numerous occasions, we have incorporated them into our regular collections."
H&M's renewed commitment to sustainability is a result of the fact that, aside from oil, fast fashion is the second dirtiest industry in the world. Taking into account the pesticides used in cotton farming and the toxic dyes used in manufacturing, as well as the huge amount of natural resources used in extraction, farming, harvesting, processing, manufacturing, and shipping, fast fashion harms the environment on every level. It can take up to 650 gallons of water to create just one cotton T-shirt, and manufacturing synthetic fibers causes pollution.
When it comes to fast fashion, there's no name bigger than H&M. For years, the company has been pushing out affordable, trendy wears. And as much as people love the brand, in the past, many of the company's clothes end up clogging up the waste stream instead of hitting the town on a Friday night. Americans throw away 14 million tons of clothes per year – or 80 pounds per person – and 84 percent of those end up in either a landfill or an incinerator, causing even more pollution.
Knowing that they are part of the problem, H&M has made a commitment to cleaning up their act. Last year, they unveiled a new sustainability mission, which aims to infuse an eco ethos into every aspect of the business. The first step was its "take-back" program, a clothing recycling program that made every store not just a shopping destination, but an old-clothing drop off location as well. And last year, the company revealed the end product of this initiative—the company's Close The Loop denim line.
The six-piece line of jackets, skirts and pants is made from 20 percent recycled materials pulled directly from the unwanted clothes customers have been dropping off. The other 80 percent is comprised of organic cotton from the company's Better Cotton Initiative program.
As the company continues to take sustainability seriously, we can only assume it will come out with even more innovative lines like this.