H&M Sustainability Project

RECYCLABLE FASHION: Hennes and Mauritz is teaming with the London College of Fashion on a sustainability project which aims to explore the concept of circularity.

As part of the project, students from the college’s BA Fashion Jewelry and BA Fashion Design and Technology (women’s wear) courses were grouped into 33 teams and given the task of creating women’s capsule collections using materials and garments gathered as part of H&M’s in-store garment collecting scheme.

The scheme is designed to encourage consumers to donate unwanted garments of any brand at H&M stores, which the company then reuses or recycles in its efforts to embrace a circular business model.

A panel of experts, including H&M’s U.K. sustainability manager Catarina Midby, designer and founder of non-profit community Fashion Revolution; Orsola de Castro, and Dilys Williams, director of the Center for Sustainable Fashion, participated in the project selecting eight winning teams.

One of the winning collections, titled “Dissimulation and Exposure” makes use of denim and jersey, two of the most common recycled fabrics, to create deconstructed garments that are “both structured and delicate,” using a series of patchwork and weaving techniques.

Other winners, included “Something New” a collection based around a fabric made using scraps of unwanted garments and aiming to waste no textile in the production processes, as well as “Playful Activists” which reused children’s garments to create colorful fabrics.

“It is imperative that we see upcycling as a teachable technique as it is one of the very few ways to combat mass production, while we wait for recycling technologies to become advanced enough to offer real and effective closed loop solutions. As always, the London College of Fashion students came armed with talent, dedication and ingenuity,” said panel judge de Castro.

H&M’s Catarina Midby added that promoting garment recycling is a key step, as the company works towards becoming 100 percent circular, a long-term ambition they revealed at a conference in London earlier this year.

“We will need a holistic approach to circularity. It will include the whole life cycle from design, what chemicals we put into our products, material choice, production processes and new ways of enjoying fashion by reuse, rental and repair,” Cecilia Brännsten, H&M’s sustainability business expert, told WWD during the conference.

The winning student collections will be showcased across five H&M stores in central London, including Oxford Circus, Covent Garden and Tottenham Court Road, throughout the duration of London Fashion Week, which will take place from Sept. 16-20.