Ethical High Street Fashion – H&M

In reality, the majority of us probably have too many clothes. Wearing the same ‘favourite’ items of clothing each week, whilst the remaining stock pile in our wardrobes and drawers stay there, dormant, never to see the light of day.

Since embracing a plant-based diet and a more ethical, environmentally friendly approach to living life, tackling clothing/fashion has been part of that change.

‘High street fashion’, I hear you say? Ethically sourced? Environmentally Friendly?… Where?…

Again, I wish to break down these barriers to demonstrate how easy it is, to live a more ethical lifestyle, without breaking the bank or having to move too far away from our ‘normal’ habits.

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H&M have a line of clothing called ‘Conscious ‘ which was launched in 2012. The ‘Conscious’ collection has been gaining momentum every year since its launch and includes fashion basics, such as organic tees, jeans, jumpers, skirts, underwear, etc… to work and evening wear. Using only organic materials to produce items in this collection.

By 2020 H&M aims for 100% of their cotton based garments, to be sustainably sourced, to date, they are currently at 43%. H&M is clearly making the effort to bring good quality fashion to the high street, at affordable prices, whilst caring for the environment.

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But what do I look out for?

In any H&M store, keep an eye out for the label. The ‘Conscious’ collection is clearly labelled by the use of a green tag with the name ‘Conscious’ in white text. The label will also disclose what material the garment is made from (as some items do contain wool and silk, be aware of this my vegan friends!). You can also feel the high quality of the garment by touch. When I visited a store in Colchester, Essex, I was very impressed by these items.

Do they have a designated section in the shop?

When I visited a local store in Essex, I could not find a pattern to the display of the ‘Conscious’ collection. The items seemed to be scattered around the store, mixed alongside other collections. It did take me a while to find some of the items in store, but as I had already researched the collection on the H&M website, I had an idea of what I was looking for. Again, keep an eye out for those green tags!

Can I buy online?

Yes! As mentioned above, it did take me a while to locate items from the ‘Conscious’ collection in store, so if there is something in particular you really want and can’t be bothered to go searching in store, visit their website and look under the section ‘Conscious – Sustainable Style’ where you will see all the products available for ladies, men, children and home, plus their new fragrance line!


Additionally, each year H&M launch the ‘Conscious Exclusive’ collection. This collection comprises of high-end environmentally friendly pieces, aiming to move H&M’s fashion and sustainability development towards a more sustainable fashion future.

They recently made a beautiful, free-flowing dress from recycled shoreline waste! In 2017, for the first time, the ‘Conscious Exclusive’ collection will include men’s pieces and a selection of styles for children.


They are looking towards a brighter future too, as 96% of the electricity used throughout their own operations comes from renewable sources.


“The fashion industry is the second biggest industry in the world and therefore, we have a great responsibility to help protect the environment. However, turning fashion into a greener industry is very challenging and not something we can do on our own. This is why we are working together with other businesses around the world, to truly be able to make a difference. 


Many people identify sustainable fashion as fashion that is simply made from sustainable materials. However, for us, the responsibility goes further than this, and spans across our entire value chain. We pose very strict demands on our suppliers, which include both social and environmental regulations, in accordance to our code of conduct, ‘The Sustainability Commitment’.”

“Our partnership with the H&M group aims to address the most material environmental impacts across the companies value chain with both short – and long -term perspectives. This supports the H&M group to lead by example and to inspire the industry about what can and should be done to address key issues, such as climate impact and water scarcity” – Jochem Verbrene, Global Partnerships Director at WWF International.

For more information on ‘Conscious Exclusive’, please click here.

Next time you need to get a new tee, pair of jeans, jacket for work or some new briefs, have a look in H&M and see what you think, its worth a look… think of the environment, think of the space in your wardrobe and having quality over quantity. Happy shopping!

– Victoria

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