In 2007 I read an article in my monthly issue of Marie Claire that changed how I viewed the fashion industry forever. "Prada Vs Primark" was a duel between Katie Spicer, the average highstreet shopper who pairs the occasional designer item with an abundance of low-cost trends, and Tamsin Blanchard, an ethical fashion journalist who takes the time to question the values and practices of any given brand. For the first time, I was forced to ask myself whether my pennyworth on that exquisite £10 top would support something good and how I could make my decision count. Tamsin's side of the story captivated me: she was a shopper with a conscience, something we could all use a bit more of when building on our personal wardrobes.
So how do you know whether you're buying from a brand with a conscience? Sometimes, it's not so clear to you where they source their textiles from, or how they've come to arrive at an Oxford street window. Sometimes, it's crushingly obvious that a "bargain" to you is making a fool out of some poor soul lost, in the global bulldozer of a supply chain. And sometimes, just sometimes, they tell you.
H&M Conscious is the brand's ethical commitment to "bring you more fashion choices that are good for people, the planet and your wallet". This season, the collection is a blend of Flamenco frippery and royally angular cuts, in the ever-classic palette of black and white. I love the mediterranean embroidery, and I have my eyes on this gorgeous black long-jacquered weave dress.
It may not be the case of the usual wander-in-and-out of the high-street shop, picking up a few fanciable items along the way. The truth is that these garments are quite a bit pricier than the average H&M number. But being organic, recycled and created from cellulose fabrics you are guaranteed that guilt-free feeling when lugging your shopping home after spending a little more than you should. After all, as Amber Valetta views it, "looking good should do good too".