H&M debuts vegan collection made with wine and textile waste

by: Abegaile Legaspi
20 Feb 2020

Following the success of H&M’s SS19 Conscious Exclusive collection, made from piñatex (pineapple leather) and orange silk, the Swedish fashion brand has unveiled the SS20 Conscious Exclusive line made with wine ‘leather’ and sustainable fibre Circulose. The new collection is part of H&M’s aim to use 100% recycled or sustainably sourced materials for all products by 2030.

“Going forward, we need to be using more bio-based materials and use more waste in our collections,” Pascal Brun, H&M’s sustainability manager, explains. The global fashion giant has partnered with Milan-based, eco-friendly manufacturer Vegea for a series of vegan chain-strap handbags and shoes made from wine pomace such as discarded grape stalks, skins and seeds, sourced from wineries all over Italy.

Vegea wine leather is made from discarded grape stalks, seeds and skins.

Compared to conventional leather, Vegea’s vegan alternative has a low water footprint and doesn’t require tanning chemicals and treatments that are toxic to the environment. “Vegea’s process transforms what represents waste (a cost) in one sector, into a value-added raw material in another sector,” says Vegea founder Gianpiero Tessitore. “And we do it without using toxic pollutants, without any waste of water.” 

Fashion giant H&M is the first retailer to sell clothing made from Circulose.

Focusing on ‘fibre-to-fibre’ recycling, the Swedish fashion giant has also teamed up with sustainable manufacturers Re:newcell to become the first retailer to use sustainable fabric Circulose, which is derived from discarded textiles. The hero piece from the SS20 Conscious Exclusive collection is a dress made from 50% Circulose and 50% viscose from FSC-certified wood. The new collection will also feature recycled polyesters and an all-new vegan dye made from waste coffee grounds from H&M’s offices in China. 

The new SS20 capsule also features recycled polyesters and an all-new vegan dye.

It’s not exactly news that fast fashion labels can be harmful to the environment and one of the biggest contributors to resource and waste pollution. A Business Insider report last year revealed that the fashion industry is responsible for 10 percent of all carbon emissions and is the second-largest user of the world’s water supply. However, it is reassuring that H&M is taking steps towards a more sustainable future for the industry, even if it is via one eco-friendly capsule at a time for now. 

The SS20 Conscious Exclusive capsule will be available online and in selected stores worldwide from 26 March.