Clothes Well Lived: H&M
Clothes Well Lived is a project that brought together London College of Fashion design and communication courses and H&M, to challenge our perceptions of value.
The relationship we have with our clothes has changed greatly over the last century, but arguably the most dramatic shift has taken place just within the last two decades. We have entered into an era of extreme production and consumption, many of us falling into a mindless cycle of acquiring and discarding garments instead of taking the time to truly value and use them.
Our physical and mental space has not been able to keep up with the increasing speed of our consumption habits and so it shouldn’t be surprising that what we are left with is a serious waste problem – one that affects communities, economies and environments all around the world.
Clothes Well Lived is a project that sets out to challenge our perceptions of value. Together with London College of Fashion design and communication courses and H&M we ask – how can we kick-start a move from being a fashion throw-away culture to a fashion preservation culture?
The Creative Direction Brief
Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) set the brief for 70 Creative Direction students: using recycled garments, deliver a window installation concept that challenges the public to think more deeply about the life and value of their clothes.
Divided into 14 groups, the students worked collaboratively, with each group assigned one of seven UK cities (London, Brighton, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh and Dublin) to research and develop communication ideas for. The question for each group: how can our window reflect the soul of the city and convey a meaningful sustainability story?
Each group approached the brief differently, drawing upon place-based research that looked at heritage, architecture, or contemporary culture. The sustainability concepts ranged from exploring specific issues such as water scarcity to imagining futures for our once loved clothes. Read a synopsis of each window on the CSF Blog.
The 7 winning groups built their installations from recycled garments, which were then displayed in-store Windows throughout Fashion Recycling Week. The Breathing Window, installed in the London store to challenge us all to think about the polluting impact of our actions. Made with 180 recycled garments, this installation could not have been made without the creative help of engineers from PCB Technical Solutions.
The project helped students to understand first-hand the complexities and challenges we face as an industry and as a society. And in return, they demonstrated they are future creatives who will drive positive change.
“It has been such a rewarding process to work with the extremely capable and creative LCF students on these installations, which proves that not only can waste be used as a resource for fashion but also for art.” — Catarina Midby, Sustainability Manager for H&M UK and Ireland
CSF also designed a window installation for the H&M store in Bristol, the EU Green Capital of 2015. Playfully referencing the seasonal sale campaign, the installation instead promotes a ‘save’ campaign. Artworks by local Bristol artist, Rob Wheeler and protest t-shirts highlight some of the UK’s own local wildlife now under threat. Representing the connection between how we live our lives and our environment, this installation asks the public to save carbon, save water, save your money and save your clothes.
Renée Cuoco, Project Manager at Centre for Sustainable Fashion