World Recycle Week begins April 18, and M.I.A. has teamed up with H&M for a song, “Rewear It,” advocating recycling, as well as the general specter of climate change. In the accompanying video/advert, a selection of cool people around the world are seen to be essentially waking up to the concept of recycling, jamming out as M.I.A. appeals to “regenerate the nation” in a fairly sick kaftan presumably from H&M’s Conscious Exclusive Collection.
Of course, this might seem an unlikely pairing, given H&M’s contributions to fast fashion and its attendant abysmal labor practices—though this video is distinctly promoting the Swedish megalith’s dedication to using recycled materials in some of its lines, and the initiative in which shoppers can drop off their own clothes to the retailer to be recycled. In an interview with Vogue, M.I.A. is fairly clear-eyed about the entire affair, telling Vogue:
If all [H&M] do is go and inspire another high-street brand to get in on caring and being conscious, or if H&M gets criticized for any of their factory processes, these are all good things. We should discuss them in public and we should have this back and forth. At least they’re even stepping into the [environmentally conscious] arena. Any of those things is progressive, and I think you have to give it a chance.
She also touched on the concept of nuance in the realm of corporate interests versus environmental ones, and how, as a famous musician, she navigates that tension:
...the change has to start somewhere, and I think if they can slowly get around to it, you’ve got to give them a gold star and a pat on the back, and you’ve got to be encouraging. You can’t discourage it and divide them into [labels] who make it in organic, hemp fabric are more righteous and they deserve to be represented, and all high-street brands are evil. I don’t think we should build walls like that.
Read more of the interview at Vogue.