I stumbled upon a gorgeously put together short film yesterday. In 14 minutes, Unravel follows the journey of unwanted clothes from the UK, US and Europe to a sleepy town called Panipat in Northern India…the only place in the world that wants them. These clothes aren’t being shipped half way across the world to be worn again, they’re being purchased by a local business to be recycled back into yarn.
Directed and produced by Meghna Gupta, the film gives a fascinating insight into the women working in the factories and what they make of the Westerners who had previously worn these clothes. What was more interesting still, was their creative assumptions on why the barely worn clothes had been discarded in the first place.
With little exposure to Western culture other than the unwanted clothes that arrive by the bale load, the women are reliant on their imagination and rumours to build a mental picture of what it must be like to have so much that you’d throw away perfectly good clothing.
Needless to say, their take on rhinestone encrusted knickers is suitably amusing.
There’s nothing preachy in this film, but you’d be hard pressed to finish watching it and not take two minutes to consider how ridiculous our throwaway culture has become.
I know I’m particularly guilty for working in an industry that promotes BUYING ALL THE THINGS, but I genuinely don’t shop very often for myself when it comes to clothes. It’s one of the many reasons I stopped doing outfit posts, I had photographed all my clothes (and then some!) and didn’t want to carry on buying clothes (or accepting gifts of clothes) just for blog posts.
I try only to buy things that I really need or that will really last, which generally means spending a fair bit more but a lot less often. Nearly all of my designer purchases are second-hand bits from re-seller boutiques, charity shops or eBay, which I suppose means I’ve given some unwanted dress or pair of jeans a few more years of wear before they end up in Panipat.
I’ll definitely be thinking about the mountains of unwanted clothes in this film next time I “have to have” something, but I suppose at least these garments are being recycled. I dread to think how much is ending up in landfill.
I can’t embed the film but you can watch it for free here.
Or the trailer is below…