By Holly Litchfield
From 70s style midi-skirts at Stella McCartney to Alexa Chung rocking double denim in her collaboration with AG jeans, it seems that denim is certainly having a moment right now. But unfortunately, though it may seem like a humble, low-profile fabric, denim is actually one of the most energy-consuming, polluting fabrics around, thanks to the fact that it takes 1,800 gallons of water to grow the cotton to make just one pair of jeans, and then it takes gallons more to wash out the dye–which is usually highly toxic, and rinsing it out contaminates the drinking water of millions.
But there’s some good news for jean junkies: renowned Swedish retailer H&M have teamed up with Spanish denim consultants Jeanologia to create a stylish collection of denim wear for men, women and children that boasts more sustainable materials and a cleaner manufacturing processes. For example, aware of the potential danger of indigo dyes to the water table the collection pre-tested the shades used to determine their potential impact on our environment. The line was created with 56% less water and around 58% less energy when compared to other denim lines.
So far, there have been rave reviews for the collaboration, with various fashion bloggers describing it as ‘stylish, cool, affordable’ and ‘incredibly well designed’. We’d have to agree: this collection makes it easy to follow one of the key rules for wearing double denim: just mix it up. There’s not only a whole range of shades here, ranging from sky blue to ripe blueberry, but the textures are also varied, meaning you can dress head to toe in the range without looking like you should be on stage with the Blue Man Group. You can further lighten an all-denim look with something light and pretty: a pair of pure pearl earrings, some strappy sandals, or roll up these sleeves to show off bare wrists and a delicate a bracelet.
In addition to its eco-friendliness, H&M’s Head of Sustainability Helena Helmersson was enthusiastic about how stylish this line is: “We’ve worked hard to reduce the environmental impact from the washing processes alongside using materials that are more sustainable. The collection is full of great prices, and proves how sustainability can equal great style.”
In addition to modern fits and hues, these ‘great prices’ are key here: while there are various eco-friendly denim brands including Nudie Jeans, Monkey Genes and others, they’re beyond most young adults’ economic reach. But with H&M setting the sustainability benchmark for high street retailers, we can live in hope that it’s only a matter of time before its competitors will be forced to follow suit, bringing sustainability to all consumers, no matter their budget.
Shop the entire collection at www.hm.com, safe in the knowledge that your purchases will quite literally not cost you the Earth.