Imagine that: Kids’ Innovation Story
Playful designs meet cutting-edge processes and more sustainable materials with H&M’s latest Innovation Story, ‘Imagine That’. Aimed squarely at the next generation, this is the first independent kidswear collection from H&M’s Innovation Stories initiative, blending euphoric colour, energising print and stimulating texture with pioneering innovations.
A paean to young, imaginative minds that have an expressive approach to personal style, the collection is designed to spark conversations about sustainability. Think: a cactus-derived leather alternative that appears in a pair of unisex sneakers, as well as sequins made from 100% recycled PET bottles that decorate a jacket and co-ordinating skater skirt. Here to tell us more about the imaginative fusion is H&M’s concept designer Ella Soccorsi.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE COLLECTION?
For our first independent Innovation Stories collection for kids, we wanted to celebrate the innate creativity and incredible imaginations of young people, as well as the cutting-edge innovations at the forefront of fashion. So, we created exuberant pieces that can be styled in lots of versatile combinations. And we made them in amazing materials that will spark conversations about technologies revolutionising our world. It’s all about creativity and curiosity.
WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR THE TITLE, ‘IMAGINE THAT…’, ORIGINATE?
The design team wanted to educate our audience about sustainability and circularity — and inspire around these subjects. The innovations behind this collection are astonishing, and even for someone who has worked with sustainability development for years, I think it’s amazing to see what we can accomplish when we use our imagination. For this Innovation Story, we wanted a title that would spark curiosity and conversation. “Imagine that” captures the collection’s essence in a fun and engaging way. It’s playful and confident — just like the clothes.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT SOME OF THE EXCITING CIRCULAR INNOVATIONS AND CUTTING-EDGE PROCESSES THAT ARE SHOWCASED IN THE COLLECTION?
There is Desserto®, a plant-based leather alternative made with cacti that we’ve used in a pair of sneakers. The faux fur found in a colour-popping jacket, hat, and bag, is made using REPREVE® Our Ocean fibre — a recycled polyester made with ocean-bound plastic. And the sequins in our sparkling set are made from 100% post-consumer PET bottle waste.
WHAT WAS THE BRIEF FOR THE ENERGETIC AND JOYFUL STYLING?
Optimism and imagination sum up the positive mood for this collection, and we wanted the styling to reflect the younger generation’s expressive approach to style, with lots of bright colours, fun textures and a street-wise sensibility mixing to create a playful look.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE PIECES FROM THE COLLECTION THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO DRESS YOUR KIDS IN?
When the collection was in development, the design team tried out some of the samples on our own children to get their honest feedback. So, I know for a fact that my little ones will love the cactus-leather sneakers, with the beads on the laces that can be customised to suit their personalities, as well as the faux-fur accessories.
WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO INTRODUCE KIDS TO THE CONCEPT OF CIRCULARITY AND SUSTAINABLE FASHION?
We’ve seen a huge rise in interest and engagement with more sustainable fashion in our customers over the last few years, and the next generation are similarly excited about the possibilities of circularity. We know that we can’t change the fashion system on our own – we need to work together with other organisations, with governments, and with our customers to effect positive, long-term change. Educating younger generations is a big part of that.