Conscious Commerce’s Barbara Burchfield and Olivia Wilde at H&M’s Conscious Collection launch in New York. Photo: Getty Images
Never underestimate the power of the celebrity stylist! H&M says they’re the reason they kicked off their Conscious Collection in the first place—A-list clients wanted to be able to wear something sustainable on the red carpet. Something that says, “I care about fashion—and the environment.” Now, four years into the collection, the Swedish brand is doing everything they can to draw attention to the small capsule collection of party ready clothes made from organic fabrics including silk, leather, and hemp. And if there’s anyone in Hollywood ready to make noise about sustainable fashion, it’s Olivia Wilde, the face of the collection. “You don’t have to sacrifice fashion in order to be sustainable,” Wilde tells Yahoo Style. Last year, Wilde and her business partner Barbara Burchfield launched their own fortuitously named company, Conscious Commerce. Now they’re in Times Square, celebrating their collaboration with one of the world’s biggest high street brands. If anyone knows what they’re talking about, it’s Wilde. “The excuse of, ‘Oh we would [be sustainable], but we operate at a high fashion level and we don’t want to sacrifice our consumers’ taste for sustainability’ doesn’t fly anymore. The technology is there and it’s possible.”
The final proof in the fashion-can-be-sustainable theorem will be the revealing of H&M’s first ever Met Gala dresses next month. When fashion gathers for its biggest night out at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4th, H&M will have its own table full of celebrities wearing its clothes. Of the challenge, the brand’s design director Ann-Sofie Johansson says, “It’s a lot of work!” She says many of the fabrics developed for the Conscious Collection will in fact show up on the red carpet, but that the design process itself is “more of a collaboration, a back and forth” between H&M’s design team and the celebrity styling teams in New York and LA.
Wilde says that collaborative spirit and devotion to sustainability throughout the company is what made her want to work with H&M. “They are really, sincerely committed to sustainability…that’s why they, as a company, were what we at Conscious Commerce pointed to for years. They’re a great example of a big company being really conscious and transparent and really working hard to invest in new technology to leave a smaller footprint and be less wasteful,” she says. “They’re such a massive company that has the ability to touch so many people with their message and they didn’t have to change to be any better.”
While she was mum on the Met, Wilde did choose favorites—the tux and the jumpsuit. And she recommends pairing the former with your favorite band tee, like she did above; “There’s nothing more conscious than vintage,” she says. Aside from styling tips, Wilde offered some guidance on how to start thinking consciously. “It’s not about throwing out everything you own and starting fresh. Buy one piece from the collection—or from any brand that’s sustainably made—and incorporate it into your existing wardrobe. It’s like when people are trying to become vegetarian, I say ‘Just try Meatless Monday.’ Baby steps! In all parts of life, it’s baby steps.” And the way she says it, well, you’d feel silly not to listen.