ReFashioned: New Hong Kong Documentary Spotlights Circular Fashion Pioneers

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A new Hong Kong documentary is shining the light on three local heroes who are working to fight fashion waste in the city and promote a circular vision for the future of the industry. reFashioned is directed by Joanna Bowers, who previously made the award-winning feature The Helper and is set to premiere next month at South Korea’s DMZ Docs Festival. It will showcase the work of a scientist, a mother and a former corporate executive in their journey to change the way we approach fashion, from cultural shifts to tech-forward textile innovations. 

Hong Kong-produced documentary reFashioned wants to change the city’s relationship with fashion. Set in Hong Kong, a city where high streets are filled with fast fashion made from synthetic textiles and excessive plastic packaging, the film focuses on three local heroes at the forefront of a fashion revolution. 

reFashioned trailer

The documentary, which will hit Hong Kong screens on September 18 at CityPlaza mall’s Movie Movie cinema as part of Edko’s Life is Art film festival, also marks one of the first Hong Kong feature films to boast a majority-women team of creators, including the director, producer, cinematographer, composer and graphics and sound designer. 

Three heroes race to reverse fashion pollution

One of the central figures in the film is scientist Edwin Keh of the Hong Kong Research Institute for Textile and Apparel. Together with his team, Keh is creating the very technologies that huge brands like H&M are using to recycle blended fabrics, which have traditionally been too difficult, almost impossible to recycle. 

Edwin Keh, CEO of HKRITA

Former fashion buyer and mother Sarah Garner also features in the film. reFashioned documents Garner’s journey with her preloved childrenswear platform Retykle, and how she is working to overcome the prevalent negative mindset against used clothing to reach local consumers and promote a more eco-conscious approach to fashion. 

Eric Swinton, on the other hand, has turned away from his corporate days to start his own social enterprise, V Cycle, which is fighting plastic pollution while making a social impact. Working with elderly waste pickers, the organisation offers the often overlooked part of Hong Kong’s society with an extra stream of income for collected plastic bottles, which are then turned into upcycled PET textiles. 

Eric Swinton, founder and CEO of V Cycle

Aside from tracking the stories of Keh, Garner and Swinton, reFashioned features expert insights on the severity and urgency of Hong Kong’s fashion waste crisis from the Ellen McArthur Foundation and WWF, and local politicians like Christine Loh and Felix Chung.

“We hope our film showcases how each individual taking action in their own way can really aggregate into having substantial impact.”

-Joanna Bowers, Director

Inspiring individual action in Hong Kong

For director Joanna Bowers, known for her critically-acclaimed 2017 film The Helper, her latest work is all about getting everyday Hong Kongers involved in environmental action, starting with their fashion consumption habits. 

Sarah Garner, Founder and CEO of Retykle

“It’s easy to get overwhelmed into inaction by the scale of the environmental disaster caused by the fashion industry, but we hope our film showcases how each individual taking action in their own way can really aggregate into having substantial impact,” said Bowers. 

“If everyone makes a choice to be even just a little bit greener, it’s a step in the right direction. Making this film has definitely changed the way I view fashion, and continues to influence the choices I make when dressing myself and my family,” added producer Kate Davies. 

The Hong Kong premiere of reFashioned will take place at City Plaza’s Movie Movie cinema on September 18th 2021 as a part of Edko film’s ‘Life is Art’ film festival. Tickets for screenings as part of Life Is Art film festival can be purchased here.


All images courtesy of reFashioned.


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