H&M Aims to Raise Sustainability Profile with New Men’s Line for Urban Cyclists

Mass-market retailers’ appetite for design collaborations seems to have no end in sight. After releasing much-hyped collections in collaboration with fashion-world darlings like Maison Martin Margiela and Anna Dello Russo, H&M is now looking to grab a share of the hipster market by launching a men’s capsule collection in collaboration with Brick Lane Bikes of East London, one of the world’s leading custom-bike specialists.

“Inspired by the urban cycling scene” the 11-piece collection combines “the function of cycling wear with great city style for both on and off the bike.” Created by H&M’s design team — who were inspired by “both vintage pieces and today’s sports performance” gear — the line was tested and approved by Brick Lane Bikes.

Founded in 2006, Brick Lane Bikes was the UK’s first fixed-gear bike store, specializing in custom-made bikes built in their on-site workshop.

Founded in 2006, Brick Lane Bikes was the UK’s first fixed-gear bike store, specializing in custom-made bikes built in their on-site workshop.

“We are extremely excited about the H&M for Brick Lane Bikes collection. Working with H&M to create clothing that mixes cycling with urban fashion is the perfect fit for us. It is exactly what we are about, and what we do best,” says Feya Buchwald, founder of Brick Lane Bikes.

What’s interesting is that the collection is made from more sustainable materials, including organic cotton, recycled cotton and recycled polyester, as part of H&M’s Conscious work. There’s no note yet on where the clothing is actually made. But, after much recent negative attention following an investigative report which strongly criticized the retailer’s labor practices abroad, one would hope that this part of the collaboration was carefully considered.

I wish that H&M would extend this conscious effort to all their high-profile designer collaborations. Perhaps what motivated H&M to consider sustainability when making this capsule collection is that people who choose to bike are more likely to care about sustainability and make better choices in the things they choose to buy?

“Cycling is a global phenomenon, with so many men choosing to cycle both to commute and for pleasure. This men’s collection has all the utility and function riders need, combined with a great sense of style,” says Petter Klusell, designer at H&M.

"Each piece has been designed to be worn on and off the bike, with functional details providing both performance and also style. Materials used include organic cotton, recycled cotton and recycled polyester, meaning the collection is as sustainable as cycling itself," says H&M's design team.

“Each piece has been designed to be worn on and off the bike, with functional details providing both performance and also style. Materials used include organic cotton, recycled cotton and recycled polyester, meaning the collection is as sustainable as cycling itself,” says H&M’s design team.

It’s great that a company like H&M — who, whether we like it or not, is a huge influencer of global tastes and consumer behavior — continues to push the use of sustainable materials. I’d like to be excited about this, but find that I really can’t. While focus is being put on these conscious materials, there is little talk of the actual manufacturing part, and as we have seen with recent tragic events at factories overseas, this part cannot be ignored.

Can we commend the efforts H&M is making in the field of sustainability while continuing to criticize the company for questionable labor practices? Can a mass-market fashion retailer ever get serious about ethics without raising their prices to reflect the true cost of the items? Can fixie-riding male British hipsters help raise H&M’s profile as a conscious company? Those are some of the questions I am pondering on this Monday morning… Thoughts anyone?

 

About author
A designer by trade, Johanna has always had a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Sweden, she's lived and worked in Miami, Brooklyn and, currently, Ojai, CA. She started Goodlifer in 2008 to offer a positive outlook for the future and share great stories, discoveries, thoughts, tips and reflections around her idea of the Good Life. Johanna loves kale, wishes she had a greener thumb, and thinks everything is just a tad bit better with champagne (or green juice).
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