SIGNAL FAILURE

H&M and M.I.A. have joined in an absurd new campaign to get you to recycle clothes

Obsession
Fashion
Obsession
Fashion

On April 18, H&M is kicking off a project it calls World Recycle Week. Its goal is to collect 1,000 tons of used clothing at H&M stores worldwide, and keep them out of landfills by recycling them.

To raise awareness, it decided to make—of all things—a music video, in collaboration with British-Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A. The result is “Rewear it,” which M.I.A. wrote exclusively for the campaign. H&M has been talking about it for weeks, but today (April 8), it released a teaser of the video and announced that the full version will be available April 11, on H&M’s website.

While the cause is a good one—millions of pounds of clothes end up in landfills each year—it isn’t clear how much a music video is going to advance it. In a press release, H&M says it enlisted a cast of “interesting influencers and inspirational people from all over the world,” and the video shows them coming together “in a dance to highlight the importance of garment collecting and recycling.”

The premise behind any music video probably sounds strange when you write it down on paper, but this one has the hokey feel of a boardroom of executives wondering how they can reach “the kids.”

H&M wants you to know it helped choreograph it, too. “H&M has worked closely with choreographer Aaron Sillis to interpret M.I.A.’s music and lyrics into dance moves for the campaign’s video,” the press release says.

Still, if it gets anyone to recycle, it’s done some good, though H&M’s World Recycle Week has lately come under fire. As critics have pointed out, it overlaps with—and could easily overshadow—the growing grassroots Fashion Revolution campaign, which promotes ethical shopping and commemorates the anniversary of Bangladesh’s deadly Rana Plaza collapse.

In addition, those who recycle their clothes at H&M, which allows you to turn in garments at its stores year round, get a voucher for a discount on their next purchase, giving them incentive to buy more clothes. It feeds into the biggest sustainability challenge H&M faces, which is the sheer quantity of clothing it produces.

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