Orange silk. Pineapple leather. Algae foam. Is the high street ready to embrace biomaterials? H&M is counting on it.
For its upcoming Conscious Exclusive collection—its ninth to date—the Swedish retailer will be feting a jacket made with silver Piñatex, a leather alternative derived from waste pineapple leaves, and a corset-style top composed of Orange Fiber, a silk-like textile produced using citrus byproducts. It will also offer for sale sandals kitted out with Bloom Foam’s algae-based ethylene-vinyl acetate foam and cowboy boots cobbled together from beige and metallic Piñatex. The pieces will punctuate an everyday-glamor-inspired lineup that includes ruffled recycled-polyester gowns, organic linen floral button-downs, billowy organic-cotton blouses, recycled-polyester halter-neck swimsuits and recycled plastic earrings.
The aesthetic, according to H&M, was inspired by the “natural beauty surrounding us” and “nature’s importance for our well-being.” The design team translated minerals, trees and plants into jacquards and printed fabrics in laid back hues like lavender, sand, aqua blue, petrol blue, coral pink, black, gold and silver.
“For this collection, we explored the beauty in nature, which shows in the prints, as well as the flowy silhouettes, the striking color palette and the attention to detail,” Ann-Sofie Johansson, creative advisor at H&M, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to introduce new plant-based sustainable materials to create high-performing, beautiful and fashionable pieces that are statement-making yet so easy to wear.”
H&M has been producing its higher-end and eco-friendlier “label within a label” since 2011. The Conscious Exclusive line has become a proving ground of sorts for experimental textiles; previous collections have included fabric made from ocean plastic, recycled cashmere respun from leftover yan and tufted velvet derived from reclaimed polyester.
The fast-fashion chain has been on the hunt for other novel textiles, too, through its Global Change Awards, an annual contest that seeks to promote innovations that lower the fashion industry’s environmental burden. (Orange Fiber was one of the recipients of 150,000-euro grant in 2016.)
H&M says it is making good on its pledge to use only 100 percent recycled or sustainably sourced materials by 2030. It recently announced it has achieved 57 percent of its goal, up from 35 percent a year ago.
The Conscious Exclusive pieces will be available in select stores from April 11.