It was a very Los Angeles affair Wednesday night, when H&M celebrated the release of its spring Conscious Exclusive Collection with singing bowl players and crystal readings at a Laurel Canyon treehouse party with the city blanketed below.
It made for the perfect earthy-elegant backdrop for the fast-fashion brand’s latest sustainable collection, hitting stores April 11, with prices from $349 for a sequin dress to $25 for a pair of earrings.
Dakota Fanning, Rowan Blanchard, Irina Shayk, Halima Aden, Amber Valletta and more came out to support — and model — H&M’s ninth collection experimenting with new sustainable materials and processes on elevated fashion pieces such as a glam rock jacket and cowboy boots patchworked with a leather alternative extracted from pineapple leaves, metallic jacquard dresses made from orange fibers that are a byproduct of the juice industry, and leopard-pattern pool slides from a flexible foam made using algae biomass.
“Our vision is to lead the change toward circular and renewable fashion while being a fair and equitable company,” said H&M creative adviser Ann-Sofie Johansson, touting the company goals of using 100 percent sustainable cotton by 2020, and all sustainably sourced fabrics by 2030, and the ability of customers to bring unwanted clothes to recycle at any H&M store now.
“It’s awesome that a company as large as H&M has this collection. The more people realize when something is made sustainably it doesn’t have to look weird the better,” said Fanning, who is gearing up for the release of her next film, Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”
Longtime sustainability advocate Valletta seconded the notion, while donning the collection’s starry recycled silver-sequin dress. “We are fund-raising for a short film to educate and entertain the fashion industry and consumers about the issues we’re facing in the fashion industry and across the supply chain, the environmental issues and social issues, through an entertaining and tongue-in-cheek way,” said the model of her latest venture. Ten years ago, she started Master & Muse, a web site curating sustainable brands, rather than launching her own and “creating more crap,” she recalled of her sustainability aha moment. Now, she’s pivoting, and her next move will involve a more circular business. “It’s hard,” she acknowledged of the sustainability question in fashion, which by its nature relies on producing more, ahem, stuff.
H&M knows that all too well, trying to do good while facing criticism for waste, like its $4.3 billion in unsold inventory that made international headlines last year at this time.
“The bigger you are, the more people look at you to find flaws. And we do have flaws, but we try to see our size as something good. Being so big, we can make change. We are really proud of what we do, and we have a good plan on how to move forward,” Johansson said. “Sustainability is a business idea from a few years back now…and if we hadn’t worked on this, we wouldn’t have all the good people working at H&M right now. Because when we’re hiring young designers, all they talk about is the value of sustainability. It’s actually attracting talent.”