Detox Fashion

Having saved the great whales, Greenpeace continues to highlight key environmental issues. In its latest campaign, Greenpeace is targeting fashion brands that have been using suppliers who pollute developing countries...

To highlight the environmental misdemeanours of the fashion industry, Greenpeace has teamed up with creative studio Free Range to produce an anime style video that wags a big green finger at several well-known brands. Detox Fashion is part of a wider Detox campaign and it not only lampoons the marketing approach of fashion's mega-corporations such as Calvin Klein, Esprit, Gap and Victoria's Secret, but makes the more salient point that their manufacturing processes are polluting the environment. Already, Zara has said it will stop sourcing bad textiles.

Working with Greenpeace creative director Tommy Crawford, Ruben DeLuna at Free Range directed the video, which has had over 250,000 views on YouTube since launching two weeks ago. The Japanese anime look fits well with the oriental script logo developed for the campaign. "We were looking for a character design and animation style that would appeal to an audience that is also interested in fashion," says DeLuna. "Anime has a great aesthetic, and there are quite a few ways to approach an anime design. We knew that we were going to need a look and feel that was edgy and stylish. The animation style for this piece is also perfect for the story itself, supporting the rebellious and fresh approach of the heroine's journey."

One of the biggest challenges for a project like this, with a quick turnaround, is in the character design. There were many rounds of revisions as the characters of the textile worker who breaks free, and the evil fashion boss, were drawn and refined. Once the characters were solid, the artists moved on to the final set-ups, and background designs.

"Overall, the team of animators was quite large," continues DeLuna. "We had a very short timeline to complete the animation, and all told, there were over 30 animators who worked on the project to cover various scenes and stages of the process. The primary animation programs used were the cel animation package Retas!Pro, and Adobe After Effects."

There's always careful legal treading when big brands get punched out like this, but that was all down to Greenpeace. The companies pinpointed in the video have featured in Greenpeace investigations into toxic waste by fashion brands and their suppliers. They are seen fairly prominently in the background signage, but DeLuna was careful not to let their appearance interrupt the video's narrative and pace.

The collaboration between Greenpeace and Free Range is fitting. The studio is committed to using storytelling across media for socially responsible causes. Co-founder and CEO Jonah Sachs has written a book on the topic called Story Wars, and Free Range has previously produced The Meatrix - a series of videos about factory farming, and The Story of Stuff which details in simple terms how wasteful western society has become.