H&M is one of the biggest international fashion stores selling trendy clothes, accessories, shoes, and home items at affordable prices. In 2012, they launched their Conscious Collection in 100 stores comprised of organic cotton, hemp, recycled polyester, linen and tencel clothes. Fast forward to today, H&M continues to expand their Conscious Collection and practices with the end goal to produce all their clothes using sustainable materials by 2030. If you haven’t already seen these clothing items and are curious to do so, keep your eyes peeled for green tags that succinctly state how that item was made consciously. This month, our Fashion Editor got the scoop directly from Samara D’Auria, Communications and Press at H&M Canada, about Conscious Collection and their long term goals.
Parvati Magazine: Your CEO Karl-Johan Persson says, “At H&M, we have set ourselves the challenge of ultimately making fashion sustainable and sustainability fashionable.” It’s inspiring to hear this from a huge international company that sells trendy and affordable clothing. What prompted H&M to make this commitment?
Samara D’Auria: H&M has a long history of working with sustainability dating back to the 90’s. As a brand, we have always found it important to work in a way that allows not only present generations but future generations the ability to enjoy fashion. At H&M, sustainability is an integral part of everything we do, from the partners we choose to work with, to the fabrics we source, to the types of energy we use in our daily operations. We see investing in sustainability as the only way forward. Adopting a circular approach will be a necessity for future business success and our business model: “Fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way”.
PMAG: What are the accomplishments you’re most proud of as you develop more sustainable practices?
SD: At H&M we are always challenging ourselves to do more and top our sustainability goals year over year. In 2013, H&M created the first global garment collecting initiative to help divert textiles from landfills. Approximately 95% of textile waste can be re-worn, reused or recycled. As of 2016, we’ve collected and diverted 29,000 tons and more than 500,000 lbs in Canada.
PMAG: Did you create your H&M Conscious line for the same end user as your other lines? Are there differences in look, feel or experience?
SD: H&M seeks to encourage conscious choices which is why we created the H&M Conscious label. We feel that if we don’t compromise the integrity of the design and we make pieces out of sustainable materials, we will attract both the conscious and fashion consumer. It is a way to offer our customer added value and encourage behavioral change. To date 26% of the materials used in our current collections are made from more sustainable materials and our goal that all clothing in the H&M range be 100% sustainable materials by 2030.
PMAG: One of the harmful aspects of the mainstream fashion industry is the production volume and high turnover of clothes from the runway to the landfill. What is H&M’s stance on this?
SD: H&M is taking a circular approach to how fashion is made and used. We believe that if we create products responsibly and lessen our impact that we can continue to grow without negative impact. The key is to separate economic growth from natural resource use. Our Garment Collecting initiative is a key player in helping us to truly close the loop and achieve this circular business goal.
Samara D’Auria heads up Communications at H&M Canada. She began her career with H&M back in 2011 in the US PR department focused on digital and influencer PR. Prior to that, Samara spent close to eight years working in Fashion editorial for top with top brands like Elle Magazine US, Time Inc and a myriad of other edit brands. In her spare time you might find her trolling through antique stores.