H&M’s new Conscious Collection
After atrocious incidents such as Rana Plaza in which over one thousand garment workers lost their lives in a devastating factory collapse, and the heightened attention that is being placed on the throwaway culture that is fast fashion, the industry has been slowly forced into opening its eyes to the effects it’s having on the environment and the lives of the workers who make the garments.
H&M is one of the many big brands known for pushing aggressive consumption and therefore it’s no surprise that they’ve been protecting their image by appearing to be working towards the ideals of eco fashion. H&M’s Conscious Collection is the retailer’s conscious effort to seem like they’re doing something about the environment and lives that are being affected by their multi-million dollar profit margin.
The new Conscious Collection aims to make clothes that “look good and do good” by making “ethical choices”, “improving the lives of thousands of cotton farmers” and inviting the customer along for the journey. The new collection, out this spring, mixes simplicity with interesting cuts, and muted colours with washed out prints. Pieces are made from organic cotton and mulberry silk, with sequins made from recycled polyester. Dakota Fanning and Maggie Gyllenhaal have both been championing the looks from the new collection.
H&M claim to have made sustainability a key focus of their business model and, along with other retailers, have signed up to the non-profit agency NRDC, which promotes methods to reduce water and electrical consumption within the fashion industry. Regardless of the efforts being made by H&M to promote conscious fashion and still produce pretty clothing, it’s always important to question the ideals of a retailer who’s after a profit: can a business that runs on driving fast-paced, mass-produced, cheap fashion actually achieve a fully ethical business?
That said, any move towards a more ecologically aware fashion industry is the right move and a large company such as H&M actively acknowledging some of the problems that it faces, promoting solutions with a collection that is sustainable and still fashionable, is a move in the right direction for fashion and our conscience as a society.