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H&M’s New Collection Follows Ellen MacArthur’s Jeans Redesign Guidelines

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A strategic partner with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, H&M bowed its first men’s collection designed following the organization’s Jeans Redesign guidelines.

Launched last year, the widely adopted guidelines are based on the minimum requirements for the durability, material health, recyclability and traceability of jeans. Determined with the input from 80 experts in the denim industry, Jeans Redesign aims to keep jeans being worn longer or remade into new jeans when consumers no longer want them. The guidelines also ensure that garment workers and the environment are safe from harmful chemicals and encourage universal tracking and tracing technology to accurately identify the material composition of the jeans for recycling.

While more than 60 companies are now developing Jeans Redesign products, H&M was an early adopter of the guidelines. The brand’s new Jeans Redesign collection, launching Thursday at HM stores and on hm.com, is one of the earliest collections developed with the sustainable framework.

For this project, H&M designer Jon Loman said the design team had the opportunity to go back and revisit the fundamentals of good jean design.

“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,” he said. “Being a designer is also about finding new opportunities and connecting more with the technical side of how a pair of jeans are made.”

The guidelines require cellulose-based fibers that must be sourced from regenerative farming, organic or transitional methods. The denim fabric used throughout H&M’s collection is made from a mix of organic cotton and up to 35 percent recycled cotton derived from post-consumer waste. Only dyes that “considerably” reduce water waste and energy consumption compared to conventional methods were used, H&M stated.

To ensure easy disassemble for end-of-life recycling, metal rivets were replaced by alternatives such as bar tacks, and H&M used threads made with Tencel fibers. Additionally, no conventional plating was used on the metal trims, thereby reducing the environmental impact.

For the collection, H&M used the Screened Chemistry method for selecting safer chemicals and low-impact finishes, which secured a green score by Jeanologia’s Environmental Impact Measurement—steps that H&M noted go beyond specific requirements set in the Jeans Redesign guideline. The collection also benefits from H&M’s “traceability layer,” which provides details like production country, supplier name, factory name and details about the facilities for most of its products.

The Jeans Redesign collection builds on the Swedish retailer’s efforts to clean up fast fashion. Last week, the company introduced Looop, an in-store, container-sized garment-to-garment recycling system that mechanically shreds castoffs into fibers, spins them into new yarn and then reknits them into new fashion. H&M was also part of a group of brands that partnered with Finnish biotech firm Infinited Fiber Company to develop a circular alternative to virgin cotton.

In terms of fashion, the Jeans Redesign collection ticks off all of the relevant demands in men’s wear. The utility-inspired collection offers three jeans—slim and straight, regular straight and relaxed—a Trucker jacket, a work jacket with three patch pockets and a classic over-shirt in a color palette of light gray, washed black, deep indigo and mid-blues. A tote bag and a trendy bucket hat round out the collection.

The collection’s retail price range is $9.99-$59.99.

“With this collection we hope that we can take another great step towards making more sustainable products,” Loman said.

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