H&M’s launching it’s new “Conscious Exclusive” Collection in less than a month. Fronted by actress-activist Olivia Wilde, the retailer’s 2015 “Conscious Exclusive” collection features planet-friendlier fabrics, such as hemp, organic cotton, organic linen, organic silk, Tencel, organic leather, and recycled wool, in black-tie-ready silhouettes. The eco-chic lineup, which focuses on the “versatility of the dress,” claims a global influence inspired by traditional African, Asian, and Indian aesthetics. Among the standouts is a sleeveless gown that features a printed flock of hand-drawn birds. A black cocktail dress, adorned with rows of recycled sequins, recalls Masaai beadwork, while another slinky number evokes the brushwork of Japanese ink-wash paintings.
Other pieces include a bomber jacket in reversible jacquard, a tuxedo blazer with dramatic elbow-length slits, and a flapper-style dress embellished with recycled beads.
“I love the global influences to this Conscious Exclusive collection and the beauty of the hand-drawn prints, made by one of our talented in house designers,” says Ann-Sofie Johansson, creative adviser at H&M. And Olivia Wilde is the perfect choice for this collection, sharing with H&M a commitment to a more sustainable future.”
For her part, Wilde says she hopes the collection will prove that sustainability doesn’t have to be a form of penance. “Sustainability has got a bad reputation, especially in fashion. I think people assume the clothes will be dull, the fabrics uncomfortable and the design uninspiring,” she tells WWD. “I hope the collection empowers women around the world who love fashion but want to consume it in a more sustainable way. It gives them the chance to look their best, and also act responsibly. I also hope the rest of the fashion industry is watching. I think this is how all fashion should be.”
H&M has drawn criticism of late, not only for its alleged role in enabling sweatshop-like conditions in the developing world, but also its recent denouncement of the “buy less” movement. But the Conscious Exclusive collection provides a tantalizing glimpse of the retailer’s potential: as a purveyor of thoughtful, deliberately constructed garments characterized by innovative fabrics and high-fashion flair.
The Conscious Exclusive range will debut on April 16 at more than 200 H&M stores, as well as online at www.hm.com.