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Exclusive: H&M Finds Inspiration at Home—And in Christy Turlington Burns—For Its 2018 Conscious Exclusive …

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Sometimes, you don’t need to look further than home for inspiration. Such was the case with H&M’s latest Conscious Exclusive collection. The team’s catalyst for this year’s lineup was the artful home, life, and work of Carl and Karin Larsson. Carl is one of Sweden’s most famous artists, known for his intimate and idyllic—or saccharine, depending on one’s point of view—depictions of his family’s life in the country at Sundborn. The couple met in the 1880s while studying painting outside of Paris. After they married, Karin gave up her easels and canvases to raise their family of eight while channeling her creativity into interior design, weaving, embroidery, and the like. And it’s her strength and creativity on which the design team focused their attention.

Released once a year, the aim of the Conscious Exclusive collection, explained Anna Gedda, the company’s queen of green, is twofold: “Making fashion sustainable, but [also] to make sustainability fashionable.” For this offering (the company’s seventh), new materials and product categories have been added, including recycled silver, which resulted in H&M’s first fine jewelry design. This Conscious Exclusive collection is also the first to include lingerie. On the material front, H&M added Econyl—a 100 percent regenerated nylon fiber made of recycled fishnets and nylon waste—to the line, which also makes use of recycled polyester as well as organic linens, cottons, and silks.

Noting that there’s nothing as unsustainable as designing things nobody wants, creative advisor Ann-Sofie Johansson emphasized that the collection “has to be fashion first.” Karin’s tapestries and embroideries, as well as her garden, were abstracted as decorative elements on pieces like slip dresses and leg-lengthening pants. Though higher collars and covered buttons are details that nod to the past, re-creating historical garments was not at all the team’s aim. In fact, the silhouettes for this very feminine collection were in consideration before Karin became the collection’s muse. Its face is Christy Turlington Burns, an exemplar of elegance and eco-consciousness, and a champion of women through her nonprofit, Every Mother Counts. “Fashion and sustainability,” Turlington Burns offers in a statement, “is no longer a contradiction in terms.” Nor, as the Conscious Exclusive collection and its spokesperson demonstrate, are strength and femininity.

The H&M Conscious Exclusive collection launches April 19 in select stores worldwide and online at hm.com.

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