Nick Rowland, Creative Director of Havas London, tells Dare! about an incredible campaign for Vanish UK (Reckitt), which shined a light on sustainable fashion and the people pioneering change in this industry.
Generation Rewear, a three-part series streaming across Amazon, addresses our excessive consumption of clothing and the culture of disposability.
Here, Nick explains the series’ development and production and why its message aligns with Vanish’s purpose.
Tell us about Generation Rewear and what inspired this series for Vanish.
At its heart is Vanish’s purpose – to help clothes live longer – but when coupled with what’s going on in terms of sustainability and clothes waste, it really began to strike a chord. The more we researched this area, the more we realised that there are so many people out there doing something about the issue, rather than just talking about how bad everything is. These people are inspiring, and are actually the generation of action and change. So, for a brand that is all about practical, everyday solutions, these people quickly became our focus. We are shining a light on, championing and celebrating the amazing designers who refuse to accept that things have to be the way they have always been, and the companies and people that have innovated in this space to really make a difference.
The series highlights those on the front line of fashion’s struggle to become more sustainable. Who are some of the people that feature and why were they the right fit?
I think it’s incredible that this issue is being tackled by a huge amount of people from a wide variety of backgrounds, start points and skillsets. Phoebe English changed her whole design business and ethos to become more sustainable.
For a fashion designer like Liam Hodges to base his collection around re-using clothes that are already in existence is amazing. And the fact the team at Petit Pli have invented a new material that actually grows alongside young children blows my mind. These are just a few examples. Sometimes I think we could make another dozen episodes when you see what people are doing out there.
The series is directed by Richard Bullock at Hungry Man. Why was this the best collaboration for Havas London, and how is his style reflected in the series?
Richard is just brilliant. He really gets into the subject matter, and just as importantly the people that are part of it. He researches very deeply, and has a way of getting to know the people that enables him to present their stories in a stylish and intelligent way.
We decided very early on that for a subject matter that is typically presented in a frenetic way – fast fashion, fast moves and fast cutting – that we should do the opposite. It gives all of us time to think and to consider, and to look again at what we put in our wardrobes.
What was something you were surprised to learn during this project?
The scale of the issue is huge, but it’s incredible, to me anyway, how many smart, driven and passionate people are tackling the issue, and how many innovative solutions and ideas there are out there. We have a real chance to change our future.
Tell us about the media strategy and this project’s collaboration with London Fashion Week.
There’s a natural synergy between Vanish, and its mission to help clothes live longer, and the British Fashion Council, which is committed to helping create a more sustainable fashion industry. That’s why, last year, Vanish became a founding partner of the Institute of Positive Fashion, an initiative from the BFC which aims to help the British fashion industry to become more resilient and circular through collaboration and action, as well as the BFC’s official garment care partner. Given the aim of this documentary series is to raise awareness and empower consumers to adopt sustainable fashion choices, London Fashion Week – a staple in the British Fashion calendar and an event with a large, highly engaged audience – felt like the perfect place to amplify the message.
The series debuts on Amazon opening it up to an audience of more than 12 million people. Why was this the appropriate home for this Vanish project?
It’s incredibly powerful for the brand to step into a space where people watch and enjoy content and entertainment. To step outside of the usual comms model, and to showcase our message through a real thought leadership approach. It’s a brave and contemporary way to behave that brings so much credibility and cultural impact.