International clothing brand H&M has launched a new 18th century, French-inspired line for its Conscious Collection, which the retailer touts as their “plan for making fashion sustainable and sustainability fashionable.” Unfortunately, many items in this new collection are made from leather and silk but are labeled with a green “conscious” tag. Actress Olivia Wilde endorsed the line as “more aware” in a recent feature published by media outlet Mashable, and as part of the collection, H&M announced several new policies related to ending animal testing on cosmetics, respecting human rights in fashion production, and a recycling program in which customers can donate old pieces to store bins. The company maintains an animal welfare policy wherein it justifies the use of animal products such as wool, down, silk, cashmere, mohair, and alpaca from farms that practice “good animal husbandry.” While H&M does not advertise themselves as a vegan company, the danger lies in conflating words such as “conscious” and “cruelty-free,” which creates a confused consumer base with good intentions making misinformed choices.
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