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H&M and Ellen MacArthur Foundation rethink design and production of denim

Lauretta Roberts
01 October 2020

H&M has launched a new men's denim collection, designed using the principles of circularity, having participated in the visionary Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative.

The collection, which is inspired by "natural simplicity", was created according to the key circular principles of durability, recyclability and responsible use of resources.

Comprising three jean styles, two jackets, an overshirt, tote bag and a bucket hat – all made in denim with a "modern workwear" vibe – in a colour palette of light grey, washed black, mid-blues and deep indigo, the collection rethinks the design and production of denim products.

The three jeans styles in the Jeans Redesign collection are slim and straight, regular straight or a more relaxed shape, while the workwear jacket has three patch pockets to the front, the trucker jacket a zip fastening and the overshirt two patch pockets over the chest.

H&M said the the "Jeans Redesign" project was about celebrating the global fashion giant's denim expertise and designing pieces that are durable, timeless and easy to repair, that also age with a "beautiful patina".

The denim fabric used throughout is made from a mix of:

  •  organic cotton
  •  up to 35% recycled cotton (from post-consumer waste)
  •  dyes that considerably reduce water waste and energy consumption compared to conventional alternatives

H&M says it even went above and beyond the requirements of the project by using the Screened Chemistry method for selecting safer chemicals. Only low impact finishes were used (those with a "green" score in EIM, Environmental Impact Measurement by Jeanologia).

No conventional plating was used on the metal trims, thereby reducing the environmental impact and Tencel threads were used so the products can be recycled easily at the end of their life.

"Sustainability and circularity should be seen as the parameters that designers move within. It’s a new set of borders and limitations, if you like. Being a designer is also about finding new opportunities and connecting more with the technical side of how a pair of jeans are made. This project went back to the foundations and what was taken for granted before was now seen with new eyes. With this collection we hope that we can take another great step towards making more sustainable products,” said H&M designer Jon Loman.

The collection will launch in stores and online on 15 October.

Earlier this week, British-based online fashion giant ASOS unveiled its first circular fashion collection, designed according to the principles of circularity, having also taken part in the Ellen MacArthur project.

ASOS had also committed at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit to ensure all of its designers were trained in circular design by 2020, a pledge it has fulfilled.

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