Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M unveiled a collection of women’s, men’s and kids’ apparel incorporating Bionic, a sustainable polyester fabric made from plastic shoreline waste.
The H&M Conscious Exclusive collection will be available in around 160 stores worldwide and online starting April 20.
The Conscious Exclusive” collection continues H&M's efforts to forge a more sustainable fashion future: About 20% of its products are now made from more sustainable materials, with the company pledging to increase that percentage each year moving forward.
As millennial consumers continue to influence how retail does business, the selling power of sustainability will expand, analysts say. Millennials expect transparency, sustainability and ethical corporate behavior from all brands they patronize — high-end or low.
“Social influence, including social media, has also pushed brands to foster more sustainable practices and consumer behavior,” Emily Bezzant, head analyst at retail technology platform Edited, told Retail Dive last year. “Brands such as H&M have looked to balance fast fashion with sustainability through its Conscious line, which not only shows their awareness and care for the environment, but also helps in building their brand image.”
H&M claims it is now one of the world's biggest users of recycled polyester and among the biggest buyers of organic cotton. The retailer said Tuesday it aims to rely exclusively on sustainably sourced cotton by 2020.
Few might have envisioned H&M would emerge as a leader in sustainable apparel at the beginning of the decade: In 2010, a Manhattan H&M outlet was discovered destroying and discarding unsold clothing. The company responded to the resulting controversy by rolling out its Garment Collecting Initiative, awarding vouchers to consumers who brought their unwanted clothing to H&M stores. H&M subsequently debuted Close the Loop, a denim line produced in part from recycled cotton gathered via Garment Collecting Initiative donations.