INTERVIEW: Sara Wallander

Go Fashion Organic

How badly did Sara Wallander want a conscious beauty collection? “Very much, it was time!” And it felt super natural for H&M’s concept designer to make it an organic body and hair care line. After all, the Swedish retailer already sells organic fashion.

Concept designer Sara Wallander has been working from scratch on the development of the certified organic beauty products since 2012. The Swede describes the process as really hard work. The biggest concern was finding the right suppliers and packaging, and to come up with products that customers want. Wallander: “There is nothing more unconscious than a product nobody wants, even when it’s ethically sourced.” The real challenge was to create the scents for the body line, explains Wallander. “Since you add such a small amount of essential oils to the high volume of organic content, it’s tricky to produce a good smell.”

Sara, how sustainable are you in daily life? “I try to be as conscious as possible in my choices.

"I buy organic food, don’t have a car, rarely eat meat, and don’t wash my clothes too often, so that they last longer. I also make my own scented oil and other beauty products.”

H&M already sells beauty products, how do we spot the conscious line?

“It’s totally different from the existing beauty collection which has the H&M logo in gold. The conscious line packaging is vibrant and color-coded; lilac blue for the calming products with lavender, and yellow for the energizing line with vitalizing fruity notes. The facemasks are in nice silver aluminum jars. We didn’t want to make the line look brown or green; that’s so very cliché.”

The regular H&M beauty line numbers over 700 products - a lot. This doesn’t sound very sustainable. Why not produce fewer items?

“It sounds like a lot, but the high number comes from all the color variations. In nail polish we have 200 colors. In terms of products, it’s less than it sounds. We can’t go completely conscious with the regular range but we do try to go as far as possible, and follow a chemical restriction list, which is very strict. I just want people to consume more consciously, and make things last. We do our best to be as conscious as we can. Hopefully more companies will follow.”

Sara’s favorites:

Hand cream and hand wash white tea and peppermint €7

Vitalizing all-over oil for bath, body and hair €10

Shampoo and conditioner €10