New Straits Times
A fast fashion brand rolls out a range of clothing approved by an animal rights organisation, writes Syida Lizta Amirul Ihsan
BACK when high fashion equals the massive use of leather, fur and inhumane treatment of animals, animal rights organisation Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is always at loggerheads with fashion’s taste makers.
Strikes were often held during fashion shows and fur-fielding brands were usually the target.
Decades later, things are changing and the industry can no longer silence the voices of conscience, especially by Gen Z, who are hyper-vocal about everything — from climate change to the treatment of animals and mental health.
Superstar Billie Eilish, for example, has single-handedly gotten Oscar de la Renta to go fur-free when the singer agreed to wear its peach ballgown to this year’s Met Gala.
Young stars are wielding their power for the good of the people and the Earth.
More brands have gone fur-free, a spot once solely occupied by Stella McCartney, whose brand is built on an animal crueltyfree philosophy.
Now, Versace, Michael Kors and Gucci have stopped using fur, alongside Tommy Hilfiger and Giorgio Armani.
It’s about time mass fashion brands join the bandwagon.
Fast fashion brand H&M recently dropped its Co-Exist Story, an animal-friendly fashion collection approved by Peta.
With a line for women, men and children, the collection spotlights alternatives to animal-derived fabrics and processes.
Co-Exist Story is the third instalment in H&M’s Innovation Stories initiative, launched this year to showcase sustainable innovations, materials and designs. It started off with Science Story, championing cutting-edge sustainable materials. What followed was Colour Story, with more sustainable methods of working with colour.
H&M creative adviser Ann-Sofie Johansson says the Co-Exist Story collection epitomises the brand’s ongoing commitment to explore innovative alternatives to animal-derived fabrics while still offering cutting-edge fashion.
“H&M and Peta have enjoyed a positive dialogue throughout the project, and we are proud to support the valuable work Peta does every day,” she says.
The collection is designed for city dwellers who flit between late-night parties and early-morning hikes. It combines innovative animal-substitute fabric sand sustain ab ly sourced materials.
Expect extreme volumes, 90s-inflected partywear and functional outerwear featuring Flwrdwn, an alternative to animal down made using wildflowers, and Vegea, a plant-based substitute for oil-based and animal-derived leathers.
CITY AND NATURE
H&M senior designer Malin Dubois says this collection is designed for modern urbanites and those who love the social hubs of city life, but equally crave weekends spent wearing their waterproof rubber boots immersed in nature.
“We’re proud to be able to unite two passions: versatile, fashion-forward design with more sustainable Peta-approved alternatives to animal-derived materials.”
Key pieces for women include an oversized faux fur coat in recycled polyester and a one-shouldered knitted dress with a dramatic fringed hem in Econyl blend. Econyl is made of nylon waste, which would otherwise pollute the Earth.
For men, a graffiti-print recycled nylon oversized anorak shows a streetwear-led aesthetic. In accessories, heavy-duty rubber fisherman’s boots in Yulex natural rubber take centre stage for women, with cosy Flwrdwn puffer shoes for men.
Yulex is a neoprene material made from natural rubber, harvested from rubber trees that are Forest Stewardship Council-certified by the Rainforest Alliance. The rubber is also chlorine-free.
The collection also includes vegan make-up — two lipsticks and an eyeliner pack — which, in a first for H&M, is certified by The Vegan Society.
Peta corporate responsibility manager Laura Shields says its work is accomplished by forming positive relationships with companies such as H&M as it strives to end the use of animal-derived materials.
“We’re thrilled to partner with H&M on a collection that features fabulous vegan designs that are kinder to the planet and to the animals who live on it.”