#4KEEPS: a song for Fashion Revolution

By Joelle Barwick

5 years ago

Joelle Barwick is a BA Fashion Communication student at Northumbria University. Below, she shares her #4KEEPS project, challenging Gen Z to keep clothes longer and spread our #LovedClothesLast campaign.



Sustainability and climate change have been all over the news in recent months. Whether it’s Greta Thunberg’s thought-provoking speech at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York or the BBC’s headline stating MP’s are calling for an end to the ‘throwaway clothes’ era.

 My University has given me so many amazing opportunities to work with talented and inspirational people, companies, charities and advocates for the fashion industry. Recently we were given a ‘live’ creative brief to work with Fashion Revolution. The ‘Wear to Now?

project challenged us to create an exciting new PR campaign with a positive call-to-action. We started with a Skype call from Co-founder Orsola De Castro, who gave us an insight into how Fashion Revolution began, and its vision to promote positive change. It left me inspired. After listening to Orsola, I felt fortunate to work with a charity that promotes a strong message about their pro-fashion vision within the industry that I am so passionate about.

The Wear to Now? brief asked us to listen, learn, discover and become active in the current issues of sustainability. It challenged us to imagine how we could create a campaign that would transform the consumer mindset, promote grassroots action and encourage young people to use their voices. The project and concept had to centre around Fashion Revolution’s hashtag #LOVEDCLOTHESLAST.

A couple of weeks into the project, I was a bit stuck on how to catalyse the Gen Z demographic. My light bulb moment came while watching ‘Earth’ by Lil Dicky on YouTube. The song is ridden with star power, from Justin Bieber to Ariana Grande and Ed Sheeran. Hyped up before release through social media, I had been waiting for this song to drop and just 48 hours later, it had an astonishing 18-million views on YouTube. As ‘Earth’ became completely stuck in my head, it also grew into the inspiration for my campaign.

I thought, why don’t I make my own song? So, I asked one of my good friends, music artist Josh Megwa [@sourboyyy on Instagram and @SOURBOY on YouTube] to collaborate with me for this project. Josh is well known in my area for his musical talent and has an influence and following on social media. We decided to call the song #4KEEPS. Why? Because the core aim of this campaign is to encourage our peers to customise their old clothes into something that they’ll keep forever, as a positive alternative to throwing them out.

I planned the #4KEEPS campaign to run in two parts. First, by creating a song that would spread awareness about Fashion Revolution in a catchy and memorable way. The aim of the song was to educate and inspire the younger generation to become more considerate in their fashion habits and the last sentence in the song states, ‘start by customising an old jacket and come join in the revolution’. This lyric links to the second part of my proposed campaign, which was to encourage Gen Z to take part in a competition run by Spotify to customise an item of clothing. The winner would get a year’s free Spotify membership.

This is where the campaign became interactive. The song #4KEEPS would be streamed on Spotify. Those who see the campaign branding can scan a QR code which will take them directly to the song on Spotify. This code will feature on all campaign material and will generate attention towards the #4KEEPS song, competition and campaign. I also cross-stitched the Spotify code onto the back of a black denim jacket, worn by Josh in the music video.

I thoroughly enjoyed creating this unique campaign, and for having the opportunity to create a project for Fashion Revolution. In the process of researching and developing this project, I learned a lot about the fashion industry and was shocked at the lack of understanding my generation has towards the social and environmental costs of the fashion industry. As a result of doing this project, my own mindset has certainly changed. As a fashion student, it has left me inspired and wanting to actively pursue a career that works on creating positive change in the fashion industry.

I can say with confidence that after completing and presenting this PR campaign for Fashion Revolution, that I now know and believe every single lyric to the #4KEEPS song. I have been able fulfil my goal to create a catchy and informative song that I hope will encourage young minds to repurpose their clothes into something amazing that they love. I hope this song has the same impact on you, as Lil Dicky’s did with me. Let’s support Fashion Revolution and get this song and campaign trending.

See you at Fashion Revolution Week 2020.