Meet the Person Behind The Garment

Updating your wardrobe isn't just about browsing, trying on and swiping your card. You need to be informed too. We met one of the workers who made the items in H&M's Conscious Exclusive collection.
15 April, 2016

It's no secret that clothes, like all other consumer goods, has an impact on the environment, the people who make them and the communities where they're manufactured. H&M is a company that works to reduce the impact on the environment by, for example, recycling old clothes into new textile fibres and by using organic and other sustainably sourced materials. H&M also contributes to create jobs for hundreds of thousands of people in supplier factories around the globe.

"We want people to come to H&M and find items that they can wear to express their personal style and who they are. When doing so, they should know that the workers are treated in a good and fair way," says H&M head of sustainability Anna Gedda.

The Conscious Exclusive collection consists of 30 items and is made in materials ranging from recycled polyester and glass to tencel and organic silk. As a complement to the editorials, blog posts and Instagram photos showing you how to style it or telling the story about the inspiration behind the design – H&M Magazine can also show how (and by who) it is made.

I enjoy seeing the creativity and innovation of the clothes we make
Quality manager Shakuntala Nanda

The trousers to the right are sown and embellished for hand by skilled craftsmen at Radnik Exports, a factory located in the outskirts of India's capital New Delhi. They are made in Tencel®, which is a sustainable alternative to viscose that's regenerated from cellulose from FSC certified Eucalyptous trees. After the material is refined and dyed it's transformed into garments at the factory.

For more than three decades 54-year-old Shakuntala Nanda has worked at Radnik Exports were she's one of around 500 women working there. For the past ten years, she's been a quality manager.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR JOB!
"I like the company and the atmosphere. That's why I have continued. I enjoy seeing the creativity and innovation of the clothes we make and to work with developing new products."

TELL US ABOUT WORKING WITH THE CONSCIOUS EXCLUSIVE COLLECTION!
"Since it's made from other materials than I'm used to I've had to work harder to secure that the styles turn out the way they're supposed to."

DESCRIBE THE CHANGE YOU'VE SEEN SINCE STARTING IN THE 70S?
"I started as helper and after a few months, based on my work, I was given the opportunity to work as checker. After around three years I was promoted to head checker. I've continued to learn and performed my responsibilities, which my employer has recognized. For the past ten years I have worked as a quality manager."

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT IT?
"I like the fact that every time a new style or material is ordered, it requires a lot of creativity and research which keeps motivating me in my job."

HAS YOUR EMPLOYER HELPED YOU GROW IN YOUR FIELD?
"Since starting I have completed my graduation and the factory team and management supported me by providing time off and leave for my education. The facility has also given me social security at a time when very few companies in India knew about it."

 

H&M works with around 1,900 factories that employ about 1,6 million people worldwide. Find the names and locations of the factories here: hm.com/supplierlist

Read more about how H&M works to promote good working conditions for garment workers here

Read how H&M works to ensure fair living wages for garment workers here.

And if you want to dig really deep, check out our annual sustainability report.

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