by Stephen Garner

H&M has teamed up with American denim brand Lee to push for the next generation of more sustainable denim.

It’s a holistic collaboration with advances at every stage of design and production, from H&M’s first-ever 100 percent recycled cotton jeans, made from 80 percent post-industrial waste and 20 percent post-consumer waste, to non-leather backpatches made from cork and jacron paper. For the first time, H&M will also share Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) data on hm.com indicating the water, C02, and energy impact of each denim garment from raw materials to end of use.

This transparency is matched by the positivity of the fashion, with oversized and cocooning silhouettes as well as workwear shapes for men, women, and kids that draw on Lee’s esteemed heritage.

“We just loved working with Lee to push for change,” said Jon Loman, designer at H&M. “A change for more sustainable and circular denim garments. We looked at every detail and challenged each other in a positive way. It’s also amazing to work with Lee’s iconic designs and give them a bit of our flavor, for H&M denim lovers around the world.”

“Lee is proud to be collaborating with H&M to continue our efforts to make better denim,” added Chris Waldeck, evp global brand president at Lee. “Our brand was founded more than 130 years ago with innovation in mind, and today we are happy to be joining with H&M to advance denim into a more sustainable future.”

The collection also features denim that’s cotton-free, made from renewable man-made fibers, as well as water-saving dyes and lower impact denim washes that are third party verified for their lower water usage, chemical, and energy consumption.

For the men’s collection, workwear jackets are a wardrobe essential with Lee’s true authenticity of design. Relaxed fit five-pocket jeans are cut from 100 percent recycled cotton, while relaxed carpenter jeans are made with water-saving dyes and 100 percent Tencel Lyocell cellulosic sewing threads. There are workwear dungarees, denim bucket hats, and tote bags, as well as heavyweight jersey pieces to complete the sustainably-made collection.