Eco & price friendly

Eco & price friendly
Models in outfits from the Conscious Exclusive collection, part of H&M’s ongoing efforts to promote economic, social and environmental sustainability.

It's a nice idea - to wear fashionable clothes that are also environmentally sustainable. Only thing is, these clothes will cost a lot more.

Or will they?

Debunking the myth that fashionable, yet eco-friendly garments are only within the reach of the well-heeled tree-hugger, Swedish fashion company H&M has launched its third Conscious Exclusive collection - a gorgeous range of sustainable fashion that increasing numbers of Hollywood celebrities are seen in.

This limited edition, 30-piece collection of clothes and accessories is a collaboration with sustainable fashion and design think tank, EVER Manifesto, and inspired by flamenco and Bohemian influences.

The clothes are rich in detailing, featuring plenty of embellishments and made with high-quality fabrics such as Tencel (a silk-like renewable material); recycled cotton, polyester and plastic; and organic cotton, silk and vegetable-tanned leather.

The Conscious Exclusive collection and the lower-priced Conscious collection (made with less experimental sustainable materials) are part of H&M's ongoing efforts to promote economic, social and environmental sustainability - something one doesn't normally equate with high street fashion - but is nonetheless taken seriously at the fashion giant.

And best of all, prices are very affordable. Conscious collection pieces range from $14.90 for a men's shirt in 50 per cent organic cotton to $159 for a pair of ladies' sandalette in 100 per cent organic leather.

Conscious Exclusive items cost from $17.90 for an organic cow leather rose headpiece to $699 for a 66 per cent organic cotton lace gown. Indeed, H&M is ranked 64 on the Global 100 annual list of the most sustainable companies in the world, and has banned the use of Perfluorinated Compound (PFC) in its clothes since Jan 1, 2013 - the first fashion company to do so.

H&M in February 2013 also became the first fashion company to launch a clothing collection initiative worldwide so second-hand clothes can be re-worn, reused or recycled.

H&M's sustainable fashion has come a long way since its initial appearance back in 2007 when it wasn't even given a name. Today, H&M has a code of conduct stating the requirements it places on all suppliers and their subcontractors for improving working conditions and environmental practices; chemical restrictions, guidelines on the responsible use of natural resources and investments in social projects, among others.

"Back then, our eco-friendly clothes didn't look like fashion," laughs Catarina Midby, H&M's head of fashion and sustainability communication at the recent Conscious and Conscious Exclusive collections launch in Hong Kong.

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