According to The Ellen McArthur Foundation, global clothing production has doubled in the past fifteen years, now exceeding 100 billion garments a year. The culture of fast fashion has come under intensifying scrutiny as consumers buy more and throw it way faster (though fast fashion is certainly not alone in causing the problem - in fact, just this past July, reports emerged that luxury brand Burberry had burned almost $40 million worth of unsold of stock).
Fortunately, widespread criticism of the fashion industry is driving a shift in the tides. Global brand H&M, though most certainly a fast fashion retailer, has recently been making notable efforts to improve their footprint. A year ago, the brand announced that they plan to use only recycled or sustainable materials by 2030. Now, H&M is using their broad global reach to advance the mainstream adoption of leading edge plant-based textiles. On April 11, H&M will be releasing their Conscious Exclusive collection with garments made from vegan pineapple leather (Pinatex) and orange silk, as Live Kindly reported late last week.
According to Live Kindly:
"Pieces include a Piñatex vegan leather jacket featuring animal print and silver pineapple leather details, which has matching boots and a bag. Flowy dresses made with Orange Fiber’s vegan citrus peel-derived silk and tops made with Tencel, a lyocell fiber made from tree pulp, are also featured in the collection. Other materials include recycled polyester, sequins, glass, metal, and plastic for a variety of clothing and accessories.
'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. 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,' says Ann-Sofie Johansson, Creative Advisor at H&M."
Pineapple leather (Pinatex) has been appearing all over the fashion world recently with brands like Hugo Boss, Votch, Borgeois Boheme, and Altiir leading at the forefront. Orange silk is most well known for appearing in a 2017 orange fiber collection launched by renowned luxury designer Salvatore Ferragamo. But to date, these plant-based textiles have been largely absent from the mainstream fashion world - until H&M announced their plans last week.
On the heels of H&M's Conscious Exclusive collection launch, we'll keep our eyes tuned for other major brands and retailers who are likely to follow suit.