Wired x H&M: John Boyega on future-proofing fashion
In the face of the planet’s most urgent environmental issues, the fashion industry needs to change. Beyond trends, it will take us all coming together to learn new behaviours as consumers and brands. WIRED’s New Moves series looks to those inspiring us to make positive steps to achieve this goal helping to uplift and inform how we can responsibly purchase and care for clothing. Whether they’re make-do-and-mend advocates or textile innovators, what these figures all have in common is their advocacy for conscious consumption.
“There is something we can learn today about mending our clothes,” says Golden Globe-winning actor John Boyega, famed for his roles in the Star Wars franchise, Detroit, and Red, White & Blue. “The longevity of [garments] based on how we treat them…it’s very, very important.” It’s simple stuff but John highlights a much overlooked part of clothing sustainability: repairing. In the recent past, prolonging the life of a garment was the norm. Things were worn, cared for, and fixed. Currently though, it’s estimated that the average garment is worn only ten times before being disposed of, according to clothes waste charity Traid.
And the joy you get from clothing doesn’t need to be negated just because you’re buying with the long term in mind. As John points out, it can enrich your personal connection to a garment: “as a Nigerian, specifically as a Yoruba man, anything that is to do with identity is very specific in what we wear and how we wear it. You have fabrics and clothes and prints that are passed down through generations and still are kept.”
In line with his beliefs, he is fronting H&M Man’s latest collection, Edition by John Boyega. Made up of more sustainable pieces, it encompasses a wardrobe of effortless workwear pieces juxtaposed with floral prints and tie-dye finishes. Created using innovative materials, the cotton is organic or recovered from textile-production waste, the nylon and polyester are recycled, and the viscose is from sustainable sources.
While taking WIRED on a tour of his hometown of Peckham, he explains his fondness for the South-East London district, “I grew up in Peckham. It's a very vibrant, multi-cultural place. It’s funny because they call Peckham Rye Lane ‘Little Lagos.’ It’s a place where you can get a lot of amazing food, fabrics.” Entering a tailor, he’s measured up and explains buying for the future. To him, “it’s about being proactive for the benefit of the people coming behind you.” A feeling that extends into other aspects of his life and work, Boyega is known for his impassioned work for social justice, using his platform to raise awareness to the Black Lives Matter movement. Closing with his thoughts for the future, he says, “align your career, your wants, and your needs with those who will be living in the world that you leave to them.”
Watch the first instalment of New Moves here.