Sunday, 24 July 2016

H&M "Rewear It" Campaign – World Recycle Week

There was a recent ad campaign launched by high street retailer H&M (I say recent, it actual ran back in April so I guess I’m a little late to the party), and this snippet/teaser in particular really caught my attention:

It ran during World Recycle Week to encourage shoppers to donate unwanted clothes. In return, they were rewarded with a voucher to use on goods in-store.

The ad itself is dope: everything from the visuals to the beat, lyrics, choreography and timing is cool and cutting edge and it really grabs your attention. There’s so many layers to the visuals, for example the circular movements in the choreography to reflect the cyclical nature and lifespan of reusable goods.

However, many viewers of the ad were quick to point out the hypocrisy of the campaign, namely the way H&M is a clothing outlet that is the epitome of fast-fashion; the clothing items produced aren’t made to last or have a long shelf life, and consumers are constantly encouraged to keep up with the latest fashion trends. One could argue that H&M is therefore contributing to the waste issue on a very large scale. It definitely does seem like a bit of an oversight from a PR/Marketing standpoint.

It makes you question why exactly H&M would run such a campaign that would leave them open to all sorts of obvious criticism?

Especially when large clothing companies are always under scrutiny as to whether they’re an ethical fashion brand or not, specifically those that have an association with garment factories (i.e. sweatshops).

I’m by no means a major do-gooder but it was hard not to be affected by the Rana Plaza collapse, which claimed the lives of 1130 factory workers in Bangladesh (the country of my parents’ origin). It was the biggest disaster to have occurred in the global garment industry and caused an international outcry at the working conditions and safety standards for factory workers.

I’m also a tiny bit OCD (I’m big on clear-outs and try to live as minimalist as possible these days), and have always tried to be conscientious about recycling and the environment in general (I was reusing carrier bags long before the charge came into effect, much to the amusement of others).

However, I used to just throw out tattered, worn out clothes thinking they wasn’t much a charity shop could do with them. That was until I found out there’s actually a market for it – textiles recycling. A lot of charity shops, and now I guess retailers, outsource to third-party garment collecting companies who can make use of discarded fabrics for a variety of purposes.

Unfortunately, like any other market that thrives, corruption exists and it’s hard not to be cynical when you learn of textile merchants who can profit from donations, under the guise of a charity or a good cause. It makes you wonder if H&M had similar motives.

However, I’m sure instances like this are in the minority. And if there are individuals, groups or organisations that want to tackle the waste issue (and are working towards the same end goal – a zero-waste economy) then I’m all for it. I also doubt an outspoken artist such as M.I.A. would lend her name to a campaign that lacked credibility.


  1. Insightful post for sure...xoxo, Neha

  2. Rewearing is definitely something more people need to do :)

    Rosy | Sparkles of Light Blog

  3. Such an interesting post, and I think you make a really good point - a fast fashion store doing a campaign about recycling does seem a little off. But I guess it'll do some good if it gets more people thinking about where their old clothes end up :) xx


    1. does seem a bit hypocritical and makes you wonder what H&M were getting out of it, jumping on the recycling bandwagon. Still, like you said it's good to make people aware that there's use even for your tattered worn-out clothes.

      Thanks for dropping by :)

      - Lubna xx