Sustainable Fashion – H&M’s ‘Conscious’ Fashion

The UK fashion industry is massive, with a total UK household consumption on clothing and footwear priced at £59 billion per annum[Fig1]. With this in mind, most of the clothing purchased in the UK is manufactured in USA, Japan, Russia, France, Italy, Middle East, Hong Kong, and China [Fig2]. The kind of working environments within these countries are over very poor, using methods such as child labour and underpaying their employees severely.

With this in mind, H&M recently (2013) began introducing their ‘Conscious’ line to stores. Whilst also reducing their CO2 emissions through factories, H&M are working to increase their in-store electricity efficiency, use renewable energy such as wind power and solar panels, and equip the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ idea to recycle old garments into new collections [Fig3].

Landfill is a primary target for H&M’s concern, with signs around the stores rewarding customers for handing in unwanted garments by the bag, and by creating recycled plastic shopping bags.

H&M’s conscious denim line, whilst being a brilliant idea, has struck the dull chord, however. Many of the collections pieces are beautiful, but they’re almost all basics. Plain t-shirts, staple denims and unimaginative lingerie seem like a safe bet to begin with, but to create attention for H&M with the ‘Conscious’ line, it would be to include statement pieces.

[Fig4]
[Fig4]
[Fig5]

By creating several maternity garments, they’re targeting the ‘new mum’ group, which will always be a massive consumer, as many families aim to eat organic and dress sustainably, but maternity lines will never be frontrunners for a multi-billion pound company such as H&M, and I believe the company needs to broaden their horizons and target the faster fashion aesthetic with their ‘Conscious’ line, else their sustainability won’t be sustainable formuch longer.

I think the consumer ultimately wants more ethical products, but they’re not willing to sacrifice what they’re used to and what they like,” said Jason Keehn, CEO and founder of Accompany, a fair-trade and philanthropic online retailer. “The consumer will grab the ethical item as long as it’s not a trade-off.” [Fig6]

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Fig 1 & 2. – Facts and Figures in the UK fashion industry – statistics about the fashion business in England – size of economic activities. 2014. Facts and Figures in the UK fashion industry – statistics about the fashion business in England – size of economic activities. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.fashionunited.co.uk/facts-and-figures-in-the-uk-fashion-industry. [Accessed 10 December 2014].

Fig 3. – Ladies | Selected | Conscious – Sustainable Style | H&M GB. 2014. Ladies | Selected | Conscious – Sustainable Style | H&M GB. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.hm.com/gb/subdepartment/LADIES?Nr=2000132. [Accessed 10 December 2014].

Fig 4. – Product Detail | H&M GB. 2014. Product Detail | H&M GB. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.hm.com/gb/product/52260?article=52260-D. [Accessed 10 December 2014].

Fig 5. – Product Detail | H&M GB. 2014. Product Detail | H&M GB. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.hm.com/gb/product/45457?article=45457-A. [Accessed 10 December 2014].

Fig 6. – . 2014. . [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.forbes.com/sites/aliciaadamczyk/2014/11/20/why-brands-and-retailers-are-running-with-the-slow-fashion-movement/. [Accessed 10 December 2014].

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Sustainable Fashion – H&M’s ‘Conscious’ Fashion

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