H&M is frequently embroiled in ethical drama, but here's one thing they're doing very right: their Conscientious Collection, launched in 2011, is comprised of only environmentally sustainable clothing, and is part of H&M's plan to use only sustainable cotton by 2020. Last spring, H&M launched Conscientious Exclusive, a line of beautiful, red carpet-worthy suits and gowns that made a splash in the fashion industry — Helen Hunt wore one of their eco-friendly dresses to the Oscars.
On Thursday, H&M revealed that their latest partner in the Conscientious Exclusive line is the sustainable fashion and design think tank Ever Manifesto. Alexia Niedzielski and Elizabeth von Guttman of Ever Manifesto will be working closely with H&M and modeling part of the collection, which is inspired by flamenco and bohemia and made from eco-conscious fabrics such as hemp, recycled polyester, and organic cotton. Niedzielski and von Guttman expressed excitement at the prospect of working with the mega-retailer, saying, "It's great to engage with a brand like H&M that's already aiming to lead the industry in making sustainable fashion mainstream, especially with such an elaborate and innovative collection."
H&M has also snagged model Amber Vanella to be the face of their Conscious Exclusive and Conscious collections, replacing Vanessa Paradis. Vanella and H&M "share the same values about sustainability," according to Vanella, making them a natural fit.
Though there are plenty of reasons, both ethical and ecological, to avoid fast fashion chains, H&M appears to be truly making an effort to change the way they do business, and their actions could have positive repercussions throughout the rest of the industry. Along with the Conscientious lines, the retailer is considering raising product prices so that they can pay their garment workers more, which is a radical and much-needed step in an industry where workers are paid shockingly little. The day of the $5 t-shirt might be numbered — likewise, don't expect the Conscientious Exclusive line to cost pocket change — but it means a better future for everyone.
The Conscious Exclusive line will appear in 150 select H&M stores and online on April 10, 2014.