H&M’s story about the life of a garment

The rise of affordable “fast fashion” retailers like H&M in recent years has added to an existing global environmental problem: what do you do with clothes that are old, out of style or just unwanted?

It’s an issue that international fashion retailer H&M is attempting to help tackle with their Garment Collecting Initiative. Under this program, customers can bring their unwanted clothes to H&M stores to be recycled, reworn or reused. Since H&M launched its international garment collection initiative last year, they claim to have collected nearly 5,000 tonnes of textiles (that’s approximately the equivalent of 15 million t-shirts), which you have to admit is pretty impressive.

To help promote the on-going program, H&M hired Austrian artist and photographer Bela Bordosi to create this unique ad, The Break Up. It features some clever Bunraku-style puppetry devised in collaboration with New York’s Puppet Kitchen. Cecilia Brännsten, H&M’s global project manager for their Garment Collecting Initiative, explained the concept behind the promotional short in Britain’s Guardian newspaper recently:

“The purpose of film is to illustrate the recycling process. We tried to describe the message very clearly, but in a way that was interesting to watch. The film was made to engage the audience and to introduce them to the opportunity of giving their old clothes a new life.”

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the production process:

The puppetry in the film was created by a team of puppeteers led by The Puppet Kitchen “Chefs” Michael Schupbach, Emily Decola and Eric Wright. I’m attempting to get a full list of cast and crew that worked on this, and I’ll update this post if/when I’m able to obtain one.