H&M looks to greener materials and methods for festive partywear line

·2-min read
Various looks from H&M Circular Design Story collection

With COP26 ending last week, the fashion industry finds itself seeking ways to rapidly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. And it's a challenge that both luxury houses and fast fashion brands are taking up, alongside the brands which have made sustainability an underpinning of their approach. H&M is one of the giants of the sector working to offer more responsible and, above all, more sustainable fashion. The latest chapter in the Swedish retailer's Innovation Stories concept combines recycled and recyclable materials, and upcycling.

Recycling used clothes right inside the store before customers' eyes, clothing rental, cleaner materials ... despite getting a bad rap in some circles, certain fast fashion players, including H&M, are trying to turn the tide and move towards a more sustainable model, when it comes to pre and post production. As the holiday season gets underway, the Swedish giant is presenting a new collection based on technologies and processes aimed at making fashion more circular, while not forgetting about style and design.

New design tool

The fourth part of H&M's Innovation Stories concept, first launched last spring, culminates in a collection made from recycled and recyclable materials, via a new tool called the Circulator. A name that, contrary to what one might think, doesn't come from a science fiction movie, but from a need to develop fashion items in line with a more circular approach by considering the entire process of creating a garment.

"The Circulator... allows the H&M design team to consider all stages of the garment creation process, from expected lifetime to materials and design strategies. The Circulator is being developed by H&M Group in order to support the company in its efforts to become more circular, and to reach their goal of becoming climate positive by 2040. The aim is that all H&M products will be designed using the tool by 2025," the brand outlines in a press release.

Sustainable materials

Most of the pieces in the collection have been designed to be worn in multiple ways to maximize their use. Blazers, for example, can be worn as dresses, while the pants can offer varying shapes thanks to adjustable closures. Another key aspect is that H&M focuses on using similar fibers in order to facilitate the recycling of the pieces. The retailer has put the focus on sustainable materials, such as fibers created from waste materials like used bottles and scrapped materials, a fiber created from wood pulp and recycled plastic waste, or a material designed from wine waste.

This initiative complements the fast fashion giant's other efforts to offer more responsible fashion and reduce its footprint on the planet. H&M recently tested a blockchain-based clothing rental service and installed a real-time recycling system in its Stockholm store.

The Circular Design Story collection will go on sale in select stores and online starting December 9.

Christelle Pellissier

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