A Fast Fashion Brand Is Trying To Make Up For Lost Time

By now, the negative environmental impacts of fast fashion are no inside secret. A growing number of progressively-minded consumers have started boycotting brands like H&M, Forever 21, and Zara in an effort to keep discarded duds out of landfills.

Now, however, fast fashion giant H&M is attempting to make up for lost time with a more environmentally mindful business model that involves a new sustainable collection.

The brand just announced plans to start selling vintage clothing and a newfound focus on transparency.

 

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Just in time for this years Earth Day, H&M launched its Conscious Exclusive Collection – its most sustainable and innovative collection to date. The retailer has released eight conscious collections since 2010, but this is by far the most impressive.

Going above and beyond, the Conscious Exclusive Collection features 48 pieces made from plant-based fabrics.

Talking points include items like a silver jacket created from pineapple leather and an off-the-shoulder blouse made from orange peels.

The collection hit stores on April 11 and is full of floral dresses for summer, breezy blouses, and bold prints.

 

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Apparently, this new progressive collection will “plant” the seed for the future: H&M has announced a commitment to a long-term goal of using only 100% sustainably sourced, organic or recycled materials by 2030.

“By 2030 there will be 8.5 billion people on the planet,” said H&M’s Environmental Sustainability Manager Cecilia Strömblad Brännsten at a press conference in Berlin earlier this year. “If we continue to use resources as we are today, we will need two planets to meet their needs.”

Currently, 57% of H&M’s clothing is made from recyclable material.

In addition to the materials, the company will also make its operations more environmentally friendly.

 

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Earlier in April, H&M announced a new plan to trial sales of secondhand and vintage clothes.

The pilot will launch in Sweden and offer online sales of secondhand apparel on its & Other Stories brand website. If it’s a success, H&M will extend the concept to other markets and brands in the following years.

According to an interview with H&M’s head of design, Ann-Sofie Johansson, the company may even one day begin renting out its clothing – a trend that’s gained fast traction in recent years.

Most recently, H&M was just recognized as one of the top five sustainable brands by Fashion Revolution — an organization with a mission to give the fashion industry an environmentally conscious makeover. When it released its annual Transparency Index, it took a look at 200 of the biggest global fashion brands.

The brands were ranked on five factors: policy and commitment; governance; traceability; know, show and fix and spotlight issues, and H&M received a grade of 61%.

While the figure may seem like nothing to brag about, keep in mind that brands like Tom Ford, Elie Tahari, and Jessica Simpson received a big fat zero.

 

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Moving forward, H&M just announced plans on April 23 to include its list of factories and suppliers for items sold on its website.

The company now shares information that includes things like the production country, names of factories, names of suppliers, and number of factory workers on each of its 47 online markets.

Perhaps unknown to many fashion-lovers with overflowing closets, is that shoppers are encouraged to drop off unwanted clothes at any H&M location any time in exchange for a 15% off coupon toward new H&M purchases.

To mark Earth Month, this past April, the company doubled its incentive by offering two separate coupons in exchange for discarded garments.

 

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The hope is that other fast fashion retailers will take a cue from H&M’s progressive change of direction.

Not only good for the environments, such moves are good for business, as H&M will likely win back former customers who prioritized the health of the planet over the abundance of their closets.

Featured Image: Instagram/@liztrinnear

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