Conscious & glamorous

H&M’s glamorous Conscious Exclusive collections mix sustainability with high fashion - a combination loved by a wide range of celebrities, from the Swedish Crown Princess. Louise Nordgren and her team work on this unique collection and also oversee the production of other special collections such as the annual collaborations with invited designer brands.

The 2016 Conscious Exclusive collection was the result of a collaboration with the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, part of the Palais du Louvre in Paris. How did that come about?
- We were invited to draw inspiration from the archives of the Louvre. We were given exclusive access to invaluable artefacts, incredible ancient materials and pieces of antique clothing that we could then use as a starting point for the design process.

The result is this year's Conscious Exclusive collection, which was revealed to the world at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs on April 7, coinciding with the opening of their big spring exhibition, Fashion Forward, 3 siècles de mode (1715-2016).

What are the Conscious Exclusive collections like?
- The collections have a glamorous spring-like feel. Spring is always a great time for parties and weddings. The latest collection has a lot of party dresses - including three wedding dresses as well as more casual shirts, trousers and jackets. The historical theme from the museum archives of course runs through the collection - we even have paintings by artists such as Gustave Moreau and Botticelli printed on the garments. But as then is the Conscious Exclusive collection, the Botticelli painting will be printed on a fabric made entirely from organic silk.

Will we see more Conscious Exclusive clothes on the red carpet in 2016?
- Most certainly. The Swedish Crown Princess Victoria chose to wear custom-made Conscious Exclusive outfits both for her brother’s wedding in 2015 and her father’s birthday in 2016. Penélope Cruz and Vanessa Hudgens have both worn Conscious Exclusive to Vanity Fair’s famous Oscars Awards after-party; Helen Hunt even wore it to the Academy Awards. And we are really proud that Julia Restoin Roitfeld is the collection’s ambassador - she shares our commitment to work towards a more sustainable future.

What’s the hardest thing about your job?
- It is of course a challenge to find new innovative and sustainable materials, but at the same time, that's a great opportunity for us to experiment with interesting new qualities. We want to take part in driving the development of sustainable fashion. What we design, needs to be truly sustainable, look great, and have a luxurious feel to it. Getting the balance right can be hard – and it takes time - it took us two years to recycle glass and turn it into beads at the volumes we needed for this collection. We want to achieve much more than is currently possible, but I think we’re making an impact as a growing company which keeps pushing for ambitious standards, such as limiting water consumption and reducing the use of chemicals.

"Fashion Forward, 3 Centuries of Fashion (1715-2016)" brings together 300 items of men’s, women’s and children’s fashion from the 18th century to today, selected from the Louvre’s collections to provide a novel chronological history of fashion.

Conscious Exclusive

  • The first Conscious Exclusive collection was launched in 2011.
  • Conscious Exclusive campaigns have featured actress/humanitarian Olivia Wilde, actress/singer Vanessa Paradis as well as supermodel Alek Wek and model/actress Amber Valletta.
  • Materials include organic silk, leather, linen, and cotton; recycled polyester and polyamide; lyocell and organic hemp; and even recycled beads and sequins.  
“One of my favourite pieces from the collection is the mini asymmetric dress that was inspired by a painting by Gustave Moreau. I love the mix of a conscious, sustainable fabric and an old painting. It’s great to be able to have sustainable clothes that still look red carpet-ready.”

Julia Restoin Roitfeld, the face of the Conscious Exclusive 2016 campaign.

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