by Stephen Garner

H&M has launched a new men’s denim collection that pushes the retailer towards circularity. Called “H&M Jeans Redesign,” the collection was produced in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative. The program, which first launched last year, defines how denim design and production could fit into circular economy principles, through durability, recyclability, and responsible use of resources.

As a strategic partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, H&M is working together with other companies, governments and cities, academic institutions, emerging innovators, small and medium-sized enterprises, and more to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. The Jeans Redesign project is about celebrating the retailer’s denim expertise and designing pieces that are durable, timeless, and easy to repair, while also aging with patina.

The new collection features three jean styles, two jackets, an overshirt, a tote bag, and a bucket hat in a color palette of light grey, washed black, mid-blues, and deep indigo. With workwear silhouettes and details in mind, the three jean styles in the collection are slim-straight, regular straight, and a more relaxed shape, while the workwear jacket has three patch pockets to the front, the trucker jacket has a zip fastening, and the overshirt has two patch pockets over the chest.

The denim fabric used throughout is made from a mix of organic cotton, up to 35 percent of which is recycled cotton from post-consumer waste, and dyes that considerably reduce water waste and energy consumption compared to conventional alternatives.

Going beyond the specific requirements set in the Jeans Redesign guideline, H&M also used the Screened Chemistry method for selecting safer chemicals. Only low impact finishes were used (green score in EIM, Environmental Impact Measurement by Jeanologia). No conventional plating was used on the metal trims, thereby reducing the environmental impact. To enable circularity of its products, the retailer used Tencel threads so the product can be recycled easily at the end of their lifecycle.

“Sustainability and circularity should be seen as the parameters that designers move within,” said Jon Loman, designer at H&M. “It’s a new set of borders and limitations, if you like. Being a designer is also about finding new opportunities and connecting more with the technical side of how a pair of jeans are made. This project went back to the foundations and what was taken for granted before was now seen with new eyes. With this collection, we hope that we can take another great step towards making more sustainable products.”

H&M Jeans Redesign is now available in selected stores worldwide and online at hm.com.