Swedish fashion retailer H&M Group is to launch the first collection featuring the newly-patented material Circulose.

The group’s upcoming Conscious Exclusive collection will feature the material, made from recycled cotton, marking the first time chemically recycled fibres are used in garments sold at scale, H&M says.

Pioneered and produced by Re:newcell, Circulose is a new fibre, made from discarded textiles. It replaces forest raw material, in commercial quantities, without compromising on quality.

“We’re very proud of our collaboration with Re:newcell, as their work perfectly aligns with our vision to become fully circular,” says Erik Karlsson, investment manager for sustainable fashion at H&M Group’s investment arm CO:LAB.

The garment in the Conscious Exclusive collection is a dress made of a mix of 50% Circulose from recycled jeans and 50% viscose from FSC-certified wood and will go on sale globally in the spring.

“This is a major milestone for the industry,” says Patrik Lundström, CEO Re:newcell. “For the first time, people will be able to walk into a store and buy clothes made from Circulose. We are immensely proud to do this in partnership with H&M Group, a company with a bold sustainability agenda. Together, we have proven that textile-to-textile recycling at scale works.”

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The technology developed by Swedish company Re:newcell breaks down the used cotton to the molecular level and reassembles it into a pristine natural material that requires no cotton fields, no oil, and no trees to produce.

The clothes are shredded, de-buttoned, de-zipped, de-coloured and turned into a slurry. Contaminants like plastic polyester are taken out. What remains is the biodegradable organic polymer cellulose. The slurry is dried to produce sheets of pure Circulose, which are packaged into bales to be made back into natural textile fibres.