Thousands of Israelis have flocked to the newly opened H&M stores in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa – many of them unaware that they were, in fact, on their way to buying sustainable fashion. As we mentioned in a previous post, H&M Israel has featured the Garden Collection – H&M’s first collection made entirely of organic cotton and recyclable materials – prominently as a shop-within-a-shop and in the window displays. Last week we talked to Andrew Horesh, H&M Israel’s CEO, to learn more about the collection as well as about H&M and sustainable clothing.
What was your motive for bringing the Garden Collection to Israel?
Fashion is global, so is H&M! Bringing the Garden Collection to Israel was an excellent way to show that H&M wants to invest in a better environment and that fashion made with organic and recyclable materials can be exciting, fashionable and fun.
How has the Israeli public or Israeli consumer responded to the Garden Collection? Has it been as successful as the other H&M collections?
So far the reception as been terrific, above and beyond our expectations. I believe our customers appreciate the fact that we offer garments made from organic cotton within an affordable price range. It’s now H&M’s goal to increase the amount of organic cotton used by 50% a year until 2013.
Is the Garden Collection offered in all three H&M locations in Israel? Are there any stores where it is more successful?
Yes, the collection was shown in a shop in shop at all three stores in Israel. Flowers are one H&M’s major trends for spring/summer so it’s great to offer these styles in sustainable materials like recycled polyester, organic cotton, organic linen and tencel. Our customers are fashion conscious and I couldn’t say if it’s done better in any of the cities it’s launched in.
We think that the customer benefits from diversity. It’s excellent to see that other designers are thinking like H&M – that respect for the environment is important for their customers and business.
What will H&M’s next sustainable collection look like, and will there always be a sustainable clothing “shop within a shop” at H&M?
H&M has been working with organic cotton since 2004. In 2009 H&M used approximately 3,000 tons of organic cotton and the aim is to increase that amount by fifty percent per year for the next couple of years.
I cannot predict what the next collection will look like, but if the past is anything to go by it will be exciting, affordable and fashionable!
Why is the Garden Collection only geared at women, and will there be similar sustainable collections for men and children in the future?
Actually, we use organic cotton and recyclable materials in chosen men’s garments as well and I would say that a full men’s collection in environmentally adapted materials in the future is not something to rule out. There is also an organic cotton collection, Organic Cotton, in the children’s department.
Read more about H&M and other Middle Eastern sustainable fashion::