7 Things to Know About H&M’s 2016 Conscious Exclusive Collection

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Of course, Gedda is telling us all this in Paris, capital of fashion and l’amour. At a gilded, frieze-adorned ballroom at the Westin, where H&M is hosting members of the press on its considerable dime, the byways of Bangladesh and Cambodia couldn’t be further away.

As the world’s second-largest apparel company—after Inditex, which owns Zara—H&M’s financial wherewithal is considerable. But so then is its clout, whether it’s used for good or ill.

It’s a dichotomy that’s hard to resolve. Which is the real H&M? Is it the “fast fashion” chain that hinges on a rapid two-step of consumption and disposal to the likely detriment of its workers in the developing world? (Karl-Johan Persson, the company’s CEO, infamously remarked that reducing consumer spending in the name of protecting the planet could create a “social catastrophe.”)

“Having people ask questions and challenging us is so important.” —Anna Gedda, H&M

Or is it the ethical enterprise that seeks to bolster consumer interest in issues such as textile waste, while advocating for living wages and funding innovations that could bring us closer to a closed-loop economy?

There are no easy answers, and Gedda, for one, welcomes the questions.

“Having people ask questions and challenging us is so important,” she said at a panel with Simon Collins, Julie Gilhart, Dilys Williams, and Scott Mackinlay Hahn. “Don’t stop doing it.”

As for this year’s Conscious Exclusive collection, which drops in about 180 stores worldwide and online at www.hm.com from April 7, here’s what we know.


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