H&M is tackling fast fashion's problem with waste by creating collections made from eco-friendly, biodegradable materials. H&M's latest Conscious Exclusive collection uses fabrics made from pineapple leaves, orange peels, and algae. That way if the items end up in a landfill, they will be able to degrade over time.
This is H&M's ninth Conscious Exclusive collection, and the line holds premium pieces that clock in at higher price points. The brand launched its first eco-conscious collection in April 2012, where all the pieces were made from durable fabrics like organic cotton, hemp, and recycled polyester. Fast forward eight years, and H&M is now experimenting with alternative, more creative materials.
But before you think you're going to be wearing clothes made from compostable goods, you will be happy to know that there is an exact science involved when it comes to transforming leaves and peels into a capsule collection. According to Vogue, three materials will be used in this line: piñatex, orange fiber, and BLOOM foam.
Piñatex will act as H&M's alternative for leather, and it is made from the fiber of pineapple leaves. The makers of Piñatex explain on its site that the fiber is usually either burned or thrown out after the fruit is harvested, so utilizing it gives the farmers an additional stream of income. This makes piñatex not only environmentally friendly, but also socially responsible.
Orange Fiber has the feel of silk, and is taken from the peels of oranges that have already been juiced. The producers of Orange Fiber explain on its site that the peels would be normally thrown away, so this process helps save on waste.
BLOOM Foam is a foam made from algae, and it used for shoes. The company, BLOOM Foam, claims to help clean the environment and lower consumers' dependence on fossil fuels. Many of the soles found in your shoes are made from petroleum, and they wreak havoc on the environment when they go to the landfill. According to BLOOM Foam, shoes made with its material are the result of 225 bottles of filtered water returned to the environment, and 21 balloons of C02 kept from entering the atmosphere.
The H&M Conscious Exclusive collection that features these materials will land in stores on April 11. The collection itself is a playful mix of summer clothes, featuring everything from patchwork cowboy boots, to billowy maxi dresses, to high waist wide leg white pants. Since the pieces are all elevated and come in a higher quality, you can easily wear these items to summer weddings, vacation getaways, and even to work.
But H&M creating green collections is all well and good, but how about the rest of the store's lines? H&M is working on it.
According to a press release from H&M, 57 percent of all materials used by H&M group is organic, recycled, or sustainably sourced. This increased from 35 percent from just last year. When you look at cotton alone, 95 percent of the cotton used in H&M's collections is either recycled or sustainably sourced. And the brand's goal is to increase this percentage each year, and use 100 percent sustainably sourced materials by 2030. Who could argue with chic collections that don't hurt the planet? Now if only the rest of the fast fashion market follows suit.