H&M - Conscious Collection
The H&M Conscious Collection was created 5 years ago. Their aim was to create sustainable clothing that is fashionable, using recycled fabrics and organic materials. "We need to not only make fashion sustainable, but to make sustainability fashionable,"Anna Gedda, H&M's Head of Sustainability.
When I think about sustainable fashion H&M is certainly a company that comes to mind, but not in a good way. H&M is the second largest mass producing retailer in the world, which means their contribution to landfill waste is huge. So, you can't blame me when I question their conscious collection. Where is it made, by who and do they have good working conditions?
When you look at the women's conscious collection and compare the number of items to the standard the women's range, their are 32 conscious items and a huge 2170 in their standard women' s range. That is a crazy amount of clothes to have in a collection. Do the maths, H&M has over 3,900 world wide, times that by 2170 items equals 8,463,000 items of clothing and thats just the women's range!
But, I suppose there are two sides to every story. Let's look at the good they do. In their new conscious collection launching on April 7 2016, H&M are increasing transparency of its supply chain by publishing the names and addresses of the factories they work with around the world, as well as using modern fabrics such as Tencel combined with organic hemp and recycled glass to create beautiful on trend dresses. I also just found out H&M is also the world’s biggest buyer of organic cotton - who knew!
It was announced at the beginning of March 2016 that mass retailer Witchery are embracing sustainable fashion with the launch of their Balance range. The range is crafted from environmentally friendly yarns made with recycled water bottles. So it's quite apt that they decided on an active wear collection. BEING SUSTAINABLE IN MY ACTIVE WEAR said me, everyday.
Although the collection only features 25 items compared to a whopping 291 in their standard women's range, it is certainly a start. Especially as they have created a range that is extremely wearable and all items are interchangeable. This means 25 items could potentially create 100 different outfits, focusing on minimalism.
TOPSHOP - Reclaim to wear
Topshop and Reclaim To Wear collaborated to establish a production for up-cycling some of Topshop’s fabric waste into regular collections. They created a pilot scheme which resulted in 3 collections, from 2011 to 2014. The third and latest collection launched in July 14 with a mixture of denim and floral prints. Unfortunately, since then there doesn't appear to be any sign of a permanent sustainable range, such as the H&M conscious collection and Witchery Balance. However, this is not Topshop's first sustainable collaboration.
The mass market retailer also teamed up with with musician Pharrell Williams’s to create a line of recycled denim, as well as series of ethically produced coats with designer Izzy Lane. Reclaim To Wear’s De Castro told Ecouterre “We have now left the Topshop design team with the tools and the inspiration to carry this collection forward and expand on their upcycling, should they wish to do so". Fingers crossed they "wish to do so!".
ASOS Eco Edit (Green Room)ASOS Eco Edit is a curated destination within the asos.com website. The platform allows customers to buy pioneering sustainable fashion and beauty goods. It's one of the ways ASOS promotes products that are made by manufacturers and brands who use sustainable business practices. The Eco Edit has grown rapidly since its launch in 2010 as the Green Room, with a target to reach £10 million by 2020. The ASOS eco-edit range features sustainable products that;
- Lower environmental impact materials & processes
- Recycled/up-cycled materials
- Sustainable cotton
- Made in UK or Africa
- Handmade/ handwoven
- Made by artisans/craftspeople
- Made under fair trade principles
ASOS have also teamed up with SOKO, a Kenyan clothing workshop. SOKO provides fair and safe employment and training for some of the Africa's poorest communities. Between them they created the beautiful ASOS Africa range. The collection is designed in-house, then cut and manufactured by SOKO. ASOS Africa has been worn by Michelle Obama. Other celebrity fans include Ella Eyre and Mina Suvari.
I could seriously debate this subject all day, in my head to myself or out with friends. I know everyone has their own personal opinions about some of fast fashions largest mass producers offering a sustainable range, so let's hear it! What are your thoughts, comment below or get in touch on social media.