H&M leads the way with sustainability program

By Glen White
Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M will be rolling out a 16-piece denim collection next month that recycles the items collected via its in-store garm...

Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M will be rolling out a 16-piece denim collection next month that recycles the items collected via its in-store garment-collection program, the company announced Thursday.

The collection, which uses 20 percent recycled cotton, includes six pieces for women (three jean styles, a flare-leg denim overall, denim jumpsuit and a denim jacket), five for men (including two jean styles, a zip-up denim jacket and a sweat pant silhouette in coated denim) and a handful of children’s items, including a zip-front hoodie with animal ears.

The collections range in price from $39.99 to $59.99 and the children’s pieces range from $17.99 to $29.99.

The Denim Re-Born collection brings the company closer to its stated goal of “closing the loop” in the apparel manufacturing process by turning old fabric from recycled garments into new textiles and diverting them from the landfill in the process. It’s also the next logical step for the company, which started an in-store garment collection program back in 2013.

As that program currently stands, customers who donate a bag of clothing at any H&M store nationwide will receive a voucher worth 15 percent off their next purchase.

A local charity in each country receives a donation that works out to roughly a penny per pound and I:CO (the same company that recently partnered with Levi Strauss & Co. on an in-store recycling program) receives the clothes, which then go through a triage process that sees some moving on to a new life as-is (in second-hand stores for example), some being turned into cleaning cloths or insulation material and some being recycled into yarn that can then be used to make new garments.

According to Thursday's announcement, the company has collected more than 14,000 tons of garments globally to date.

The Denim Re-Born collection is scheduled to launch in stores and online the first week of September.

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