Fast fashion has never been synonymous with sustainability. Quite the opposite actually. But, as millennial shoppers (AKA these brands’ target audience) grow more conscientious with their consumption, that’s starting to change. Case in point? H&M is launching its first eco-friendly fall collection.
The autumn/winter offerings are part of a Conscious Exclusive line, which the Swedish retailer introduced two springs ago. “It all started with a desire to create a statement coat in a sustainable material that could be worn for both those special occasions and day-to-day life, but then evolved into something more substantial,” says Ann-Sofie Johansson, creative advisor at H&M, in a press release.
H&M’s designers used eco-friendly materials like recycled wool, cashmere, polyester, and Econyl, a fabric made from recycled plastic—plus, 100 percent organic fibers like silk—to create a 32-piece capsule of womenswear, lingerie, and accessories, ranging from a $15 pair of dusty-rose-colored underwear to a dolman-sleeved jacket ($300) embroidered with recycled sequins. The end result is as chic as it is sustainable.
The line is also proving that sustainability, in addition to innovative of-the-moment style, sells. The collection only dropped on September 27, but some items have already sold out, like a pair of statement clip-on earrings that resemble cascading orchid petals and a sweatshirt hood covered in black sequins. Other notable offerings, such as a cozy V-neck sweater and a velvet miniskirt aren’t likely to last long, either. That items are already flying off shelves bodes well for H&M’s bigger goals: It has pledged to exclusively manufacture with recycled or sustainable materials by 2030, and if successful, it would be the first fast-fashion brand to pull it off.
But will it be the last? Looking at you next, Zara.
The first step to becoming a more sustainable shopper is learning how to spot eco-friendly materials on clothing labels.
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