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Mar 8, 2023
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H&M puts focus on sustainable embellishment as sequins create huge plastic problem

Mar 8, 2023

After a post-pandemic party season in which sequins were firmly back on the agenda, embellishment continues to attract the wrong kind of attention. Campaigners have been drawing attention to the sustainability problem created by millions of tiny plastic-based sequins.


Now H&M has tried to address the issue with its latest collection from the Innovation Stories platform, “a Sixties-tinged offering that focuses on more sustainable embellishment”. 

Later this month it will launch hand-worked mini dresses and co-ordinated sets with plenty of shine thanks to 100% recycled-content sequins, rhinestones, and beads. The H&M Innovation Re-Enchantment Design Story collection will be on sale in stores and its webstore from 23 March .

Creative advisor Ann-Sofie Johansson said the company “wanted to focus on the progress H&M has made with recycled-content embellishments. It’s always important to take a long-term perspective when it comes to sustainability, while at the same time agitating for change. Increasing the recycled content of the sequins, beads and rhinestones to 100% in this collection represents years of hard work and collaboration between multiple teams at H&M, and we know it will have a big impact on future collections”.

The embellishments have been designed to “emulate the glittering magic of naturally-occurring crystals and minerals”. 

As mentioned, key pieces include a series of mini dresses, with two emerald-green and citrine-yellow styles made from recycled polyester, enlivened by sequins made from recycled PET plastic bottles and rhinestones and beads made from recycled plastic display shelves and boxes. 

And a pearly-white embellished mini dress comes in a linen-viscose blend, using traceable Livaeco by Birla Cellulose viscose sourced from certified sustainable forests. 

The label has also included rhinestone-trimmed denim pieces in a blend of organic and recycled cotton to “form a streetwise counterpoint”. 

And there are platform shoes in an organic silk and viscose blend, using Lenzing Ecovero viscose derived from renewable wood sources. Meanwhile, “bold jewellery in faintly Surrealist shapes, made in post-consumer recycled brass”.

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