With its soft, flattering cinematography and dazzling, kaleidoscopic set pieces, M.I.A.’s music video for last year’s “Borders” risked turning the life-or-death plight of refugees into a fashion runway. The image of the artist as the fearless leader of an army of émigrés, however, was a simple, potent, and timely one, landing the clip at #2 on our list of the Best Music Videos of 2015.
Now, M.I.A., a.k.a. Maya Arulpragasam, is back with “Rewear It,” which literally and deliberately fuses environmental activism with fashion. A partnership with retail giant H&M, the new single and accompanying “visual content piece” aim to raise awareness about textile recycling, encouraging fans to donate unwanted clothing so they can be used to create new products.
The video, which opens with a series of media reports in multiple languages urging people to take action about the “environmental problem” and “climate change,” has a slick, commercial sheen that's far removed from the scrappy, DIY style of M.I.A.'s early visual work. In the clip, the U.K. rapper dances atop towers of recycled textiles and in front of colorful tents made of fabric, while hip-looking young folk of myriad racial backgrounds—including French dancer Yanis Marshall, famous for his high-heeled choreography—move to the track's clattering beats and catchy “regenerate the nation” refrain:
The World Recycle Week campaign runs from April 18 – 24. Bring textiles you no longer want to your local H&M in exchange for store credit.