Some pieces from the Co-Exist Story from H&M.

New collection has animal-substitute fabrics

I was very interested this week to see the new H&M launch Co-Exist Story, an animal-friendly fashion collection which is entirely approved by the animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Spanning womenswear, menswear and kidswear, the collection spotlights alternatives to animal-derived fabrics and processes. Co-Exist Story is the third instalment in H&M’s Innovation Stories initiative, which launched in early 2021 and aims to showcase more sustainable innovations, materials and designs.

We all know clothing production has a massive impact on the environment and while it’s better to look after the clothes you have, buy second hand or even swap with friends, if you do have to buy new items it’s good to know that they are more sustainable processes being developed.

The collection combines innovative animal-substitute fabrics and more sustainably sourced materials with a fashion-forward mentality. Extreme volumes, ’90s-inflected partywear and functional outerwear all feature, alongside pioneering innovations such as FLWRDWN, an alternative to animal down made using wildflowers, and VEGEA, a plant-based substitute for oil-based and animal-derived leathers. Key pieces for women include an oversized cream faux fur coat in recycled polyester, and a one-shouldered knitted dress with a dramatic fringed hem in an econyl blend.

The cream faux fur is a personal favourite of mine and also features a detachable hem which gives the coat a totally different feel.

Wear with the hem for a more boho look and without for a dressier night out feel.

Another piece that would be a great investment piece for your wardrobe are the leather look straight leg trousers.

Wear with trainers or with heels, these trousers can be easily dressed up or down and will be a permanent fixture in your wardrobe for years to come.

I regularly wear similar trousers with boots and a chunky knit and it’s such an easy look to style and wear.

There are also some amazing accessories in the collection including a cool neon green chain link scarf which is quirky and would make a great focal point to any outfit as well as a bag in the same material that would be perfect to add a pop of colour to a neutral look.

For men, a graffiti-print recycled nylon oversized anorak evidences 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.

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.

For kids, one-size-up recycled nylon anoraks and FLWRDWN puffer jackets come in exuberant hues, while T-shirts and loungewear are enlivened with slogan patches that declare allegiance to the animal kingdom and support for PETA’s work.

Ann-Sofie Johansson, creative advisor at H&M said: “The Co-Exist Story collection epitomises our ongoing commitment at H&M to exploring innovative alternatives to animal-derived fabrics while still offering our customers cutting-edge fashion.

“H&M and PETA have enjoyed a positive dialogue throughout the project, and we are proud to support the valuable work that PETA is doing every day,” she added.