Hair extensions

Year: 2013

Type: Short film (2 minutes 45 seconds)

Director: Mary Nighy

Client: Eco Age

Availability: free in full on YouTube (here). 

Page reference: Cook et al., I (2020) Handprint. ( last accessed <insert date here>)


Have you ever stopped to think about how your clothes were made, where they were made and by whom? Most of us probably don’t, we just reach for what we find appealing or what meets our needs and buy it, then wear it (Source: Anon 2015a, np link).

Many people's hands touch our clothes before we put them on (Source: Nighy in Anon 2014a, np link).

[W]e all wear the stories of the people behind our clothes (Source: Firth 2014, np link).

What if we could connect to all the people who made our clothes (Source: Anon nda, np link)?

If we could see these people and talk to them, we could begin to think about them and about our clothes in a completely different way (Source: Nighy in Anon 2014a, np link).

These [issues] are brought to our attention in Mary Nighy’s short film called Handprint, which you can now view on YouTube (Source: Anon 2015a, np link).

[It is a] beautiful and emotive film reminding us of the many ‘hands’ involved in the making of the clothes, shoes and jewellery we wear (Source: Khamisani 2015, np link).

[It] draws attention to the number of people it takes to create just one outfit (Source: Anon 2014b, np link).

[It] is a short film that gives us the opportunity to imagine what it would be like if we could meet the people who make our clothes (Source: Nighy in Anon 2014a, np link).

[S]tarring American actress and model Elettra Wiedemann and shot by the up-and-coming director Mary [Nighy, Handprint] aims to raise awareness of the conditions suffered by garment workers, following the Rana Plaza disaster in which more than 1,130 people died and 2,500 were injured when the factory building near Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, collapsed last April (Source: Farrell 2013, np link).

It visualises the manual imprint from production to consumption to highlight the traceability of the garment by surrounding the idealised (white, Western, female) consumer with the nonwhite faces of production, embodying the invisible masses, and returning the gaze to the Western consume (Source: Rees-Roberts 2018, np).

It's a combination of formality and intimacy; gathering the threads of different life stories and weaving them into something transformative which we normally take for granted without thinking about (Source: Anon 2015b, np link).

It begins with a scene that will be all too familiar to many fashion conscious women: clothes, accessories and shoes are strewn across the floor of a bathroom (Source: Rosily 2014, np link).

[As the camera pans through an apartment, we see that a] beautiful, airy room is entirely covered in breathtaking designer garments and precious jewellery. A dress is tossed on the table, another on the mustard chair and a third one laid out on the luxurious, velvet sofa. The floor is entirely ‘littered’ with carrier bags, handbags and shoes, all barring the recognisable logos of some of the world’s most prestigious designers (Source: Harba 2013, 17 link).

[A] girl wrapped in a towel …(Source: Rosily 2014, np link).

… [the] elegant, graceful actor and model Elettra Wiedemann … (Source: Harba 2013, 17 link).

… washes her face … (Source: Rosily 2014, np link).

… [walks into the room,] takes the pomegranate red gown and starts getting dressed … (Source: Harba 2013, 17 link).

… in a sustainable Stella McCartney gown and fair-mined jewels (Source: Farrell 2013, np link).

[She] effortlessly manages to immerse us in her ambivalent emotional world without words while she gets ready to go out, or lets herself be made … (Source: Anon ndb, np link).

But it is not her hands that slip her dress over her back, zip it up, fasten her belt and put in her earrings. Multiple hands of different ages and ethnicities … (Source: Rosily 2014, np link).

… [s]uddenly … appear out of nowhere and get involved in the process, zipping up her dress, clipping on her earrings, slipping on her shoes (Source: Harba 2013, 17 link).

[T]hen, she looks in the mirror, and the faces of these people are revealed (Source: Rosily 2014, np link).

Maybe it was the tanner from Bangladesh, the seamstress from Indonesia or the embroiderer from China (Source: Anon ndb, np link).

The film ends with the quotation ‘you carry the stories of the people that make your clothes’ (Source: Rosily 2014, np link).

No, this is not an imaginary scene from a thriller movie, but the screening of a fashion reality that we are all unwarily part of every single time we go shopping for new clothes - the colossal contrast between the luxury of the catwalk, and the unseen misery of the backstage of the fashion spectacle (Source: Harba 2013, 17 link).

To the consumer, the people who make our clothes are completely anonymous, invisible and silent, however, their mark is all over our most personal objects, and therefore there may be more of a connection between creator and wearer than one might think (Source: Rosily 2014, np link).

We’ve become so removed from what we buy, from the people who make the clothes. The movie reminds us that there are hands and faces and human beings at the other end of the supply chain (Source: Firth in Capsani nd, np link).

If we could see or speak to those people, we might think about them and our clothes quite differently (Source: Nighy in Capsani nd, np link).

[Handprint] makes that dress, blouse, or suit more human and valuable (Source: Anon 2015a, np link).

Take a moment to watch the film and really start to ask yourself those questions and think twice about how your clothes are made, where they are made and by whom. Imagine their stories or better yet connect and learn more about those who make your clothes. You can start by reading labels to see where items are made, from there you can follow the garment industry news of those countries (Source: Anon 2015a, np link).

Whose ‘Handprint’ Are You Wearing? … Do you know whose fingerprints you are wearing? Think, get informed and join the revolution! 150 days left until Fashion Revolution Day (Source: Harba nd, np link)!

Inspiration / Technique / Process / Methodology

‘Handprint’ was originally commissioned by Eco-Age, a London-based management consultancy specializing in ethical and sustainable components in the textile industry (Source: Anon ndb, np link).

In 2009, [Livia] Firth established Eco Age, a consultancy firm that provides bespoke sustainability solutions for brands looking to improve their supply chain. Eco Age clients include luxury names like Chopard, Erdem, Stella McCartney and Gucci, as well as non-fashion companies like Welltower, the FA and Wembley stadium (Source: Anon ndc, np link).

Known for her pivotal role as executive producer of 2015 documentary ‘The True Cost,’ Livia Firth is also the founder of Green Carpet Challenge, a project that aims to raise the profile of sustainability and social welfare by encouraging celebrities to wear ethical designs at high profile events and catapulting sustainable style into the spotlight (Source: Anon ndc, np link).

Livia … is an Italian environmental activist and documentary film producer, best known to the western media as the wife of English actor Colin Firth. Born and raised in Rome, she completed her graduation in film studies from the ‘University of Rome’ and ventured into documentary-film production with the film ‘Giuseppe Tornatore: A Dream Dreamt in Sicily.’ Toward the early 1990s, she joined producer Fernando Ghia and worked with him to hone her skills as a filmmaker. She met Colin while working with Fernando. … Along with her husband, she started ‘Nana Productions,’ her own film-production house, and made her first documentary, ‘In Prison My Whole Life,’ a year later. Throughout her life, Livia has actively raised her voice in support of the oppressed indigenous population (Source: Anon ndd, np link).

As global ambassador for Oxfam, [Firth] has shone a spotlight on the major issues within the fashion industry and importance of ethical fashion. Firth is a self-described professional agitator. ‘I don’t want to be a spectator in my life,’ she said upon being awarded the UN Leader of Change award in 2012. ‘When you are in control, it means you can take responsibility’ (Source: Anon ndc, np link).

‘The thing that changed my life completely was a travel to Bangladesh with Oxfam to meet the garment workers’ said Firth when explaining her inspiration for the Green Carpet Challenge project. ‘Hearing the stories of those women and actually visiting a factory opened my eyes to a completely different world. As women we are not connected anymore to what we wear. The fashion supply chain is full of abuses. We employ millions of people around the world, but they are enslaved. We always knew that glamour and ethics could coexist. We just needed to prove it’ (Source: Harba 2013, 18 link).

After last year’s Rana Plaza factory collapse, when almost 1,200 people died in one single accident in the name of fashion, you really saw that we had lost track, we lost that connection with the people who make our clothes (Source: Firth in Betker 2014, np link).

[So Firth] asked Mary [Nighy] to interpret the ethical and social issues in the fashion supply chain (Source: Castro nd, np link).

Mary Nighy is an actress and filmmaker from England. Born to respected actors, Bill Nighy and Diana Quick, expectations weighed heavily on Mary Nighy from the start of her career in showbiz. Though she graduated with a degree in English Literature, she decided to pursue a career in acting and carry forward the rich legacy of her parents (Source: Anon nde, np link).

She won the David Lean scholarship to study Direction at the National Institute of Film and Television. Before Mary even graduated in 2011, she had already directed several short films and plays and had been a member of the National Youth Theatre where she cut her teeth acting in several productions. She came into prominence in 2011 after directing the play, ‘Shallow Slumber’, with established actors. Since then, Mary has dedicated herself to direction and now has four short film and a documentary under her belt (Source: Anon nde, np link).

[Her] work combines stunning cinematic visuals with performance-led narrative. Her background as an actor allows her to draw strong performances from whoever she directs. Mary has directed campaigns for a diverse range of clients, including Karen Millen and the City of London. She has experience directing theatre, and was nominated as one of the UK Film Council’s Breakout Brits of 2005 (Source: Anon ndf, np link).

How did the handprint project come about? Were you approached with a specific brief or concept or did you develop the idea and script yourself (Source: Anon 2014c, np link)?

Livia Firth was interested in having a film to highlight the importance of sustainability in luxury fashion, whilst also speaking to the consumer at large as part of her project The Green Carpet Challenge. So with Zoe Franklin, my co-writer and a creative director, I went to meet Livia with a film idea we’d already written which focussed on the impact making clothes can have on the environment. Livia liked this initial idea but asked if we could focus on the social impact of fashion production, on the people who make our clothes, the garment workers, as opposed to the environment (Source: Nighy in Anon 2014c, np link).

As the industry is often focused on measuring its environmental footprint, ‘by talking about the handprint of fashion we also include the decent livelihoods, community cohesion and cultural value that is abundant in … [fashion’s] supply chains,’ said Livia Firth (Source: Carrara 2018, np link).

The catastrophe of the collapse of the factory in Bangladesh was fresh in all our minds, and Livia was keen to talk about the human cost of the fashion supply chain. She mentioned an Ali Hewson quote: ‘You carry the stories of the people who make your clothes’, and that became the inspiration for the film Zoe and I then wrote. It occurred to us that if we could see all the people who had touched our clothes before we bought them or put them on each day, we’d think very differently about what we wear, and who we buy from (Source: Nighy in Anon 2014c, np link).

[After fashion designer Gregory Rogan] began to think more about the cotton he used in his jeans from an environmental perspective, particularly how it was grown and dyed[, i]n 2004, he launched a separate clothing line, called Loomstate, which offered T-shirts and other basic clothing staples made from organically grown cotton. ‘It just seemed like the logical thing to do,’ he explained to Marin Preske … ‘We’re concerned about the food we eat and where it comes from, and it should be the same with the clothes on our backs.’ Gregory’s progressive ideas soon brought him into contact with Bono, the frontman for the Irish rock band U2 who is known for his humanitarian activism. Bono and his wife Ali Hewson, were interested in boosting the number of manufacturing jobs in some of the hardest-hit areas of the planet. Gregory told Preske that Bono and his wife ‘wanted to do production in Africa. So they approached us about helping them with design and a sustainable platform for the line.’ The new venture, for which Gregory served as creative designer, was called Edun (‘nude’ spelled backwards). Edun offered an affordable line of men’s and women’s clothing manufactured in Lesotho, Uganda, and other places in Africa, and made from organically grown cotton whenever possible. Its mission was to offer an alternative for consumers who were aware that most of the clothing the Western world wears is often made in sweatshop conditions and in some cases by child labor. The labels sewn into Edun’s clothes sum up the company’s motto: ‘We carry the stories of the people who make our clothes around with us’ (Source: Anon 2020a, np link).

Awareness films can be challenging for a director at the best of times – not least of which because the subjects they address tend to ignite strong opinions and often the audience can be more critical than they are when watching a commercial or short. Was this something you thought about during this project and did you consciously seek to preempt possible points of contention while preparing the script, in casting and so on (Source: Anon 2014c, np link)?

If you tell people the statistics and you make it into a polemic, it doesn’t touch people in the same way. We wanted something very simple. It’s about touch. It’s about people like you who just live in a different place and have a different job. And the idea that they’re present with you in some way, whenever you get dressed in the morning, whatever you put on. It’s like you’ve got the faces of the people all around you who touched your clothes before you put them on (Source: Nighy in Bartoletti & Nighy 2020, np link).

We were keen to present these garment workers not as victims but as people with dignity in their work, just like [Elettra], who make a living from their skills (Source: Nighy in Anon 2014c, np link).

[T]he stylist who worked on the film carefully studied the origins of workers in weaving factories in order to understand, among other things, the specifics of work clothes in different countries (Source: Anon 2014a, np link).

I think the facelessness of a lot of the people who work on our clothes or in other sectors is a problem because it allows us to dehumanise them and treat them less fairly than we would want to be treated ourselves. You know, lower pay, bad working conditions, etc (Source: Nighy in Bartoletti & Nighy 2020, np link).

My friend Zoe and I … were writing a few fashion films at the time … for Vogue and for Karen Millen and for other companies. Our big thing was narratives. Often when you watch fashion films, they’re incredibly beautiful but nothing’s really happening! … And so we really wanted to get story in there somehow (Source: Nighy in Bartoletti & Nighy 2020, np link).

[Handprint’s] initial [scene] gives us the viewer an impression of a glamorous fashion advertisement thus deceiving the viewer of its real plot. It sheds lights on one of the main problems of the fast fashion industry - labour rights (Source: paintmeruby nd, np link).

We didn’t want to make a film that would shock or bully the audience into questioning how their clothes are made, or one that focussed on recent tragedies relating to garment production. We felt that it was important that the viewer gently follow the lead woman’s journey toward awareness (maybe at one step ahead of her) as she slowly realises that her clothes don’t arrive from thin air, but are handled by the many people who make them (Source: Nighy in Anon 2014c, np link).

Karim Bartoletti: The way that you are telling the story makes you get to the end and go ‘oh wow!’ … It takes you in one direction and it slowly reveals itself. … Mary Nighy: Right. I guess suspense is quite important and narrative can be a reveal … especially if you’re working in a really short format. Some people have described short films in any format, whether they’re commercials or more activist films or whatever, as a kind of joke with a punchline because it’s set up and then it’s a joke, it’s the payoff. You’re … trying to build tension and then reveal what the end result is (Source: Bartoletti & Nighy 2020, np link).

[Handprint stars] Hollywood scion Elettra Wiedemann (her mom’s Isabella Rossellini; her grandmother, the legendary Ingrid Bergman) (Source: Anon ndg, np link).

How did Elettra get on board (Source: Anon 2014c, np link)?

Elettra Wiedemann was suggested to us as our potential lead by Anna Wintour, who knew that as well as being a talented model, Elettra was also extremely articulate and educated about sustainability, and that the film would chime with her own interests (Source: Nighy in Anon 2014c, np link).

I’m a huge supporter and a fan of Livia Firth. … I loved the idea of making people pause and think about all the different hands their garment had passed through: from farm to hangar, so to speak (Source: Wiedemann in Harba 2013, 18 link).

Although Elettra was very clear with me ahead of the shoot that she wasn’t an actress, I said that I’d feel confident guiding her performance on set, as it was as very important to us that the person playing her role understood the issues around the film. When she arrived, she impressed the whole crew with her professionalism and focus - and I am very pleased with her in the film (Source: Nighy in Anon 2014c, np link).

We also had an ongoing dialogue with the financiers, when casting the film, about the nationalities of the actors playing the garment workers – they told us where the cast should come from, and we made sure that as far as possible (because we could only cast a limited number of actors to play the garment workers) that the group in the mirror she sees at the end represented a wide cross-section of nationalities (Source: Nighy in Anon 2014c, np link).

Casting director Sophie North cast actors who hailed from all over the world to play the garment workers. I was amazed that so much international talent could be found in London in a week (Source: Nighy 2013, np link).

Tell us about the production – did you have much rehearsal time to work with the extras in choreographing the precise hand movements (Source: Anon 2014c, np link)?

Ryan Chappell, our choreographer, spent a day with us in the back of a church rehearsing the actors with a camera and contemporary dancer Georgiana Cavendish as the stand-in for Elettra. We wanted only the actors' hands to be visible in the frame around Elettra (Source: Nighy 2013, np link).

I worked with … Ryan … to find the movements of the workers around the lead woman, and we were able to bring a camera into the rehearsal to make sure that these movements read on camera. We also cast the actors based on how they could move their hands. I think the actors found the casting process quite unusual - they had to do a lot of caressing a curtain in the production office, so we could see what movements the actors could offer up with just their hands (Source: Nighy in Anon 2014c, np link).

It was exciting to see the images we'd only imagined coming to life. You never really know what you've got on the day of a shoot, or if the film is OK. We had one day to shoot a complicated series of extended takes. Luckily, things went to plan. But when we shot the exchange of looks between Elettra and the garment workers, it seemed a quiet dignity was conveyed, which is what we'd hoped for. We wanted to take what was out of sight and bring it into focus. Garment workers worldwide take pride in their work, and that deserves to be properly recognised and reimbursed by their employers, and anyone buying their clothes (Source: Nighy 2013, np link).

[W]ho supplied the gowns and jewellery (Source: Anon 2014c, np link)?

The gowns in the woman’s apartment came from previous designers who had worked with Livia in making sustainable dresses for her Green Carpet Challenge project, and the jewels all came from Chopard – a brand who are currently working with Livia’s company Eco Age on a journey to sustainability. The beautiful dress Elettra wore in the film is by Stella McCartney (Source: Anon 2014c, np link).

Everyone is quick to point the finger at companies like Primark but often people don’t stop to think that the luxury brands also have a duty of care to the communities within which they operate and extract profit (Source: Anon 2014c, np link).

I do think that luxury fashion brands have an opportunity, as a few are already doing, to lead the fashion industry as a whole toward better standards of care and payment for the people making their clothes or products, because these brands have the power to influence people’s perception of what luxury is. I have heard many people say recently that real luxury, true luxury, as it were, is knowing that what you are buying comes with a good story attached to it, that at every step of the process (which is a long chain) the product you are buying was made in a positive way, by people who were fairly treated. I think we’re already seeing people’s interest in origins with food production. People increasingly want to know how and where their food was made - hence the interest in organic or free-range farming. I hope that that curiosity from the consumer about origins will spread to their wanting to know from fashion brands - whether they be luxury or high-street - how their clothes were made, with what materials, and that all of the people involved were fairly paid and working in good conditions throughout the process. I think the change may well be driven by consumers questioning the brands, and this could start with the luxury brands - because if they make it seem like a glamourous, fashionable choice to buy things that are fairly and ethically made, then consumers could encourage other brands (at a high street level) to follow the same standards (Source: Nighy in Anon 2014c, np link).

[Handprint p]remiered at the 2013 International New York Times Luxury Conference, in Singapore (Source: Castro nd, np link).

The 13th annual International New York Times Luxury conference is the premier meeting point for the luxury industry 500 delegates from 30 countries have gathered in Singapore to hear from the world's most inspirational fashion designers and luxury business leaders (Source: Anon 2013a, np link).

[In London] Vogue editor Anna Wintour joined Colin Firth's eco-warrior wife Livia and Karl Lagerfeld's former muse Amanda Harlech for the premiere of environmental fashion film Handprint at the W London hotel in Leicester Square (Source: Styles 2013, np link).

The ethical fashion movement got a big boost at London’s fashion week in a special reception organized by The Global Fund and The Green Carpet Challenge at Hyde Park’s Apsley House, ancestral home to the Duke of Wellington. Hosts for the evening were the Earl and Countess of Mornington - current residents of Apsley House - Anna Wintour, Livia Firth … and Net-a-Porter and Chairman of the British Fashion Council Natalie Massenet (Source: Anon 2013b, np link).

The Earl of Mornington … greet[ed] guests by noting that his family’s - the Wellingtons - sole contribution to fashion heretofore was confined to Wellington boots, but they were certainly making up for lost time last night (Source: Anon 2013c, np link).

The evening’s focus was ethical fashions created by fashion designers Christopher Bailey, Victoria Beckham, Erdem Moralioglu, Christopher Kane and Roland Mouret. Ethical clothes are created with no use of fur, leather and no animal testing. The clothes and accessories are made of natural, environmentally-friendly materials with monitoring of the production process for environmental pollution (Source: Anon 2013b, np link).

Amanda Harlech was responsible for the witty installations (based on that most organic of structures, the nest), and the results, suffice it to say, were far from the sorts of things that one usually associates with ‘sustainable fabrics.’ Playing silently on a screen in one of the divine rooms was a film, Handprint, shot by Mary Nighy starring Elettra Wiedemann, who appears in a hotel room getting dressed in a Stella McCartney (Source: Anon 2013c, np link).

The event … was held during London Fashion Week to raise awareness and to show the British fashion industry’s support of the work of The Global Fund, which works to defeat AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria worldwide. The Global Fund also funded ‘Handprint’, a short film by Mary Nighy (Source: Anon 2014d, 176 link).

[At] the start of an event-filled New York Fashion Week … [the] Green Carpet Challenge Host[ed] a Cocktail for Handprint and Chopard’s Sustainable Collection. … Elettra Wiedemann … dropped in … [and] Karlie Kloss, Sofía Sanchez Barrenechea, Marina Rust, and Misha Nonoo stopped socializing briefly to watch the film … ‘It allows us to think differently and creatively about what luxury actually means,’ said Vogue’s Sally Singer, who cohosted the party. ‘Which is, for me, that things are beautifully made, properly made, and by people who took great care to make them and felt fulfillment in that work’ (Source: Betker 2014, np link).

On 24 April 2014, [the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster] Eileen Fisher hosted an exclusive event for Fashion Revolution Day (Source: Anon 2014e, np link).

Eileen Fisher, a long-time advocate of socially conscious manufacturing, was the perfect partner for the well-attended event (Source: Anon 2014e, np link).

Centred around short film ‘Handprint’ … [it] aim[ed] to educated the audience through an informative discussion and presentation (Source: Anon ndh, np link).

[I]f you’re in Covent Garden this Thursday, pop into the Eileen Fisher store at 5pm for a discussion with Fashion Revolution Day’s co-founder Orsola de Castro (the fashion designer behind From Somewhere), Eileen Fisher’s Director of Social Consciousness Amy Hall and environmentalist and sustainability expert Jocelyn Whipple plus a screening of short film Handprint (Source: Anon 2014f, np link).

Under the patronage of Crown Princess Mary, politicians, managers, creative people and journalists from all over the world came together [at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit] to discuss ways of making fashion production fairer and more ecological. The conference has been held for the third time since 2009. Celebrity speakers such as Livia Firth, founder of Eco Age, Hollywood actress Connie Nielsen, the Danish Minister of Economic Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister Margrethe Vestager, Vanessa Friedmann from the Financial Times and leading managers from Bottega Veneta, H&M and the luxury company Kering, together with around 1,100 participants, among whom I also discovered Mario Testino and Hamish Bowles, looked for solutions to reduce the enormous ecological footprint that the Industry leaves behind to decrease. … The date was not chosen by chance. April 24th marks something like September 11th for the fashion industry. As previously reported, exactly a year ago in Bangladesh the Rana Plaza, an eight-story building with several textile factories, collapsed. … The Swedish fashion giant H&M was almost ubiquitous - certainly thanks to extensive sponsorship of the event. The second ‘Conscious Collection’, launched a fortnight earlier, was prominently exhibited during the Fashion Summit and, with Helena Helmersson and Catarina Midby, the group sent two representatives to Copenhagen, who assured them in speeches and in several panel discussions how serious the company is Social standards and environmental protection. At the end of the day, that was probably a little too much Swedish PR for the dedicated supporter of ethical fashion, Livia Firth. At the beginning of the last discussion, she shifts restlessly on the edge of the chair, excited to see when she will finally get the floor and attacks Helena Helmersson, Head of Sustainability at H&M. She asks how many collections a company has to offer. ‘Do we really need the 60 collections offered per year and is it really democratic that we have jeans for € 20 and T-shirts for € 5? Are we not just being led to believe that we are rich because we can afford so many clothes? The only people who are really rich here are the giant corporations of the B illig-mode manufacturers!’ … During the conference, Livia Firth showed [the] wonderful [Handprint] video about the many hands that have worked on our clothes (Source: ASTRIDBODE 2014, np link).

Australia held three Fashion Revolution day events in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. The Sydney event was a sold out night of talks including The GM of Patagonia Australia who spoke of supply chain transparency in their sourcing, an Australian social enterprise which employs refugees at their fashion store, spoke of fashion as a vehicle for social justice, Australian sleepwear label ALAS highlighted producing with fair trade partners in India and finally an ex fast fashion designer introduced her new upcycled clothing label Fairtale. There was a pledge area, prizes were given out for the best pledges and tweets of the night. Short Films were screened, including, ‘Handprint’ commissioned by Livia Firth, the trailer for The True Cost Documentary and a local design student presented her short film of a response to Rana Plaza (Source: Anon 2014g, np link).

[Handprint] was [also] screened at Aesthetica and Berlin Fashion Film Festival (Source: Anon nde, np link).

[In 2014, Nighy’s] Handprint won a Young Director's Award at the Cannes Lions Festival (Source: Anon 2020b, np link).

The idealistic thinking behind this film is that if only consumers would universally acknowledge the hidden faces behind manufacturing there would be a collective shift away from the excessive consumption of fashionable clothing (Source: Rees-Roberts 2018, np).

Discussion / Responses

[At the Apsley House event, Anna] Wintour, resplendent in a classic trench coat with bright yellow cuffs, appeared to enjoy the short film, although it seems the British weather failed to meet with her approval. 'I enjoyed the film and felt proud of the accomplishment of Mary (Nighy),' said the Vogue supremo, before adding: 'Despite the rain I am enjoying London so far.’ While the eco film was the main topic of post-screening conversation, Amanda Harlech was overheard discussing her daughter Tallulah's career prospects, telling friends she hoped she would become an actress (Source: Styles 2013, np link).

'Handprint' Is A Remarkably Thought Provoking Film (Source: ABIDE Press 2014, np link)!

WOW. This is stunning / beautiful / smart (Source: Yeoh 2013, np link).

Couldn’t agree more …. So beautiful, it gives us chills (Source: Fisher 2014, np link).

Not gonna lie, this made me cry. … serious goosebumps (Source: Stanchina 2014, np link).

Moving, depressing - and yet beautifully staged, ‘Handprint’ shows us in an almost poetic way that our clothes, shoes and accessories have already passed through some hands - apart from our own and those of the fashion seller (Source: Anon ndb, np link).

The look of slight shock and guilt on the main characters face, I think, let's it down. Remorse appropriate to the ignorance is appropriate. Guilt, shame etc however, I reckon leads to overwhelm for many. A slight variation [that I would prefer]: a pensive, awakening look, then one of acknowledgment and respect (which I think almost happens in this film) that vain anyway. Anyways... that's my opinion (Source: Fin 2014, np link).

And the Point is (Source: Marchant 2014, np link)[?]

I don't get the point, yeah people make clothes, other people make food, what's the matter? At least they have a job (Source: Sol S 2014, np link).

I don't get why people with a paying job are depicted as slaves. If in those countries everyone could work I don't think they would complain (Source: los lantis Gaming 2014, np link).

Who said they are getting paid (Source: tokgr0k 2014, np link)?

Please allow me to explain what I think could help you understand better  … ‘the point’ of this video is to make pepole react from the situation behind the scene which isn't really showed by the fashion planet, this situation were pepole from emerging countries are being paid at an ridiculous amount for an hard labor job for a lot of time, that pepole in our countries who are buying theses clothes won't accept as a normal salary (Source: Abenzoar 2014, np link).

[E]ven the most expensive brands are made by some low payed workers in not very developed country. For example Bulgaria had such industry and work for world companys but the workers get funny money. somethning like 200 euro / mounth (Source: Kuyumdzhiev 2014, np link).

So what's the point? We need to stop buying clothes made by these people ? Buy more (Source: Sol S 2014, np link)?

YES of course, and if we stop buying their clothes they will live on what (Source: ad da 2014, np link)?

btw, the mirror was too high, we couldnt see the children (Source: yndama 2014, np link).

gotta love capitalism (Source: Carioka GH 2014, np link).

[T]he message I got from the video [was] Black and Chinese working to serve the supreme white race (Source: don1559 2014, np link).

No, when she look into the mirror all she should see its Chinese ppl. =P (Source kent vun, np link).

There was also a white woman in the mirror (Source: Cow 2014, np link).  

I don't think this is a racist vision. If I look at the labels on my clothes, all I can see is made in china, made in vietnam , made in india. It is true and realistic (Source: Camille C 2014, np. link).

If people got the message that this was racist, it would have come from their own perceptions and lack of information about the fashion industry, rather than the film itself. As this was meant to be sending a message to consumers of all races that people from low economic countries are being forced to work on low pay in sweatshops, or enduring slave labor or forced labor practices in re-education camps, in order to provide cheap manufacturing to billion dollar fashion labels so that they can sell their expensive products to other people who live in wealthier nations, regardless of their race. As there are many people from all different countries who purchase this type of clothing. This is a call to action to encourage people to gain a bit more compassion and empathy for the people who are making their clothing and other junk they buy each day (Source: PhZadeW 2014, np link).

The more I watch this movie, the more I realize how important it is for all of us to have a relationship with real people who make our clothes. We can really affect their lives (Source: Firth in Anon 2014a, np link).

The most important thing you can do is to actually do something and not only just know it. First of all, don't buy clothes often and make sure to recycle them (and see if you can find something you like from a shop that sells recycled clothes). Second, if you have to buy new clothes make sure you know that they are made fairly, by getting them from a known fair trade brand or even better, from a known fair trade shop (Source: Marianne 2014, np link).

Start buying ethically, buy ethical clothes from ethical Fashion brands like ASOS The Green Room or People Tree. You should also buy fairtrade food, you should find fairtrade logos on the packaging to identify them and recycle. Just do some research, it only takes small steps to make a change (Source: Okhumoya 2014, np link).

There are many suppliers of Fairtrade certified clothing and products and there could be a lot more if the consumers choose to seek out and buy Fairtrade certified clothing instead of the famous brand label clothing and if they encourage their favorite brands to convert to ethical practices and paying their workers a fair wage! :) (Source: PhZadeW 2014, np link).

[I]f you mobilized for every percieved injustice, you'd end up doing nothing with your life but mobilize, which is fine if you want to dedicate your life to that (Source: Elvalley 2014, np link).

Proterst or mobilize are options, but they may seem to extreme for the well adapted conformist … However there's much more that can be done. Getting to a position where you can have a say in that, for example. Also writting letters to companies or politicians, or raising awareness until a critical mass is reached. Even something as simple as being a sensible consumer may help. You don't have to be naked, just by being inquisitive and selective you're already sending a message. Enough people send a message, and the political wheel stirs into action (I mean political in the broader sense, not just politicians and the government) (Source: Elvalley 2014, np link).

Impacts / Outcomes

What we call the handprint of fashion is hugely important - once we start putting producers again on the front stage and make them work in partnership with designers, we will have achieved huge results (Source: Firth in Malin 2017, np link).

Livia Firth … is still agitating to try and change the conditions for garment workers in Bangladesh but throughout the world as well (Source: Nighy in Bartoletti & Nighy 2020, np link).

Livia also participated in the now famous and sought-after documentary film True Cost about the true value of our clothing (Source: Kalima 2015, np link).

[After ‘The True Cost’ director] Andrew [Morgan] had the idea of the movie already shot for Kickstarter and … had put together a trailer … he sent me an email which said 'I know about your Green Carpet Challenge and I'm coming to London, can I come and see you and interview you?' And I checked him out and thought it looked like a cool project and said 'sure come over and we'll do the interview.' This is how we started and then, because he was in London, I was like, you have to talk to so and so and we started brainstorming and seeing which channels I could open for him to explore (Source: Firth in Rothe 2015, np link).

[See our page on ‘The True Cost’ movie here]

Following the success of 'Handprint' in raising awareness of the people behind the garment industry, this year's Green Carpet Fashion Awards, Italia,  was dedicated to ‘The Handprint of Fashion’ (Source: Carrara 2018, np link).

The Handprint of Fashion – the human capital that goes into the making of fashion apparel and accessories - … has been brought to life by a new video that goes behind the scenes of the Italian luxury fashion industry (Source: Carrara 2018, np link).

References / Further Reading

Abenzoar, P. (2014) Comment on EcoAgeTV (2013) Handprint. ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

ABIDE Press (2014) ’Handprint' Is A Remarkably Thought Provoking Film., 22 April ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

ad da (2014) Comment on EcoAgeTV (2013) Handprint. ( last accessed 9 August 2020, translated from the original French by Google Translate)

Anon (2013a) 2013 International New York Times Luxury Conference. Getty Images, 22 November ( last accessed 10 August 2020)

Anon (2013b) Ethical Fashion's London Green Carpet with Anna Wintour at Hyde Park's Apsley House. ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Anon (2013c) Parties: an evening celebrating the Global Fund’s Green Carpet Challenge. Vogue, 17 September ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Anon (2014a) ‘Handprint’. A film about people who make your clothes., 1 September ( last accessed 9 August 2020, translated from the original Russian by Google Translate)

Anon (2014b) Livia Firth: join the Fashion Revolution. Harper’s Bazaar 24 April ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Anon (2014c) Searchlight: Mary Nighy. Young director award, 4 July ( last accessed 6 August 2020)

Anon (2014d) Influence. London: British Fashion Council ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Anon (2014e) Fashion Revolution Day: a movement for change. PushPr, 30 April ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Anon (2014f) #InsideOut | Fashion Revolution Day., 22 April ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Anon (2014g) WHO MADE YOUR CLOTHES? Celebrating Fashion Revolution Day around the world. Fashion Compassion, 16 June ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Anon (2015a) There is a story behind your clothing. Nora Gouma, 20 February ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Anon (2015b) Mary Nighy joins Indy8. David reviews, 20 February ( last accessed 6 August 2020)

Anon (2020a) Gregory Rogan., 19 August ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Anon (2020b) YDA Jury 2020: Mary Nighy. YDA Young Director Award ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Anon (nda) Who really made your clothes? Plugin magazine ( last accessed 6 August 2020)

Anon (ndb) ‘Handprint’ - a fashion film that makes you think. Fair-Fashion ( last accessed 9 August 2020, translated from the original German by Google Translate)

Anon (ndc) Livia Firth. Business of fashion ( last accessed 10 August 2020)

Anon (ndd) Livia Giuggioli. The famous people ( last accessed 10 August 2020)

Anon (nde) Mary Night biography. The famous people ( last accessed 6 August 2020)

Anon (ndf) Mary Nighy. David reviews ( last accessed 6 August 2020)

Anon (ndg) Handprint. Inclusi ( last accessed 6 August 2020)

Anon (ndh) Eileen Fisher - who made your clothes? Time Out ( last accessed 6 August 2020)

ASTRIDBODE (2014) Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2014.  The green style guide, 29 April ( last accessed 10 August 2010, translated from the original German by Google Translate)

Bartoletti, K. & Nighy, M. (2020) YDA CHATS | Ep. 4: Mary Nighy., 9 June ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Betker, A. (2014) The Green Carpet Challenge hosts a cocktail for Handprint and Chopard’s sustainable collection. Vogue,  6 February ( last accessed 6 August 2020)

Camille C (2014) Comment on EcoAgeTV (2013) Handprint. ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Capsani, M. (nd) Livia Firth on remembering the faces behind our clothes. Thompson Reuters Foundation news ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Carioka GH (2014) Comment on EcoAgeTV (2013) Handprint. ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Carrara, J. (2018) The handprint of fashion. Eco-age, 10 October ( last accessed 6 August 2020)

Castro, F.M. (nd) Video: Handprint - textiles. Fernanda Martinez Castro ( last accessed 6 August 2020)

Cow (2014) Comment on EcoAgeTV (2013) Handprint. ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

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Elvalley (2014) Comment on EcoAgeTV (2013) Handprint. ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Farrell, A. (2013) Livia Firth’s Handprint. Vogue, 14 November ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Fin, B. (2014) Comment on EcoAgeTV (2013) Handprint. ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Firth, L. (2014) Livia Firth: my journey into sustainable luxury with Chopard. The Jewellery editor, 27 January ( last accessed 6 August 2020)

Fisher, E. (2014) Couldn't agree more @abidepress! So beautiful, it gives us chills. @liviafirth., 22 April ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Harba, J. (nd) Whose handprint are you wearing? Revolution of Fashion ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Harba J. (2013) From factory to green carpet. Whose handprint are you really wearing? Inside Out, issue 1, 17-20 ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Kalima (2015) Inspiration - Livia Firth., 11 August ( last accessed 10 August 2020, translated from the original Czech by Google Translate)

kent vun (2014) Comment on EcoAgeTV (2013) Handprint. ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Khamisani, N. (2015) A short film called Handprint. Outsider, 15 January ( last accessed 6 August 2020)

Kuyumdzhiev, A. (2014) Comment on EcoAgeTV (2013) Handprint. ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

los lantis Gaming (2014) Comment on EcoAgeTV (2013) Handprint. ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Malin (2017) Green Carpet Fashion Award – Made in Italy? The waves we make, 25 September ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Marchant, V. (2014) Comment on EcoAgeTV (2013) Handprint. ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Marianne (2014) Comment on EcoAgeTV (2013) Handprint. ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Nighy, M. (2013) How me made Handprint - video. The Guardian, 20 December ( last accessed 6 August 2020)

Okhumoya, A. (2014) Comment on EcoAgeTV (2013) Handprint. ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

paintmeruby (nd) ‘You carry the stories of the people who make your clothes’ - inspired by Ali Hewson. tumblr ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

PhZadeW (2014) Comment on EcoAgeTV (2013) Handprint. ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Rees-Roberts, N. (2018) Fashion film: art and advertising in the digital age. London: Bloomsbury

Rosily (2014) ‘Handprint’: the double fingerprint of fashion. Documenting fashion, 2 June ( last accessed 6 August 2020)

Rothe, N. (2015) Uncovering The True Cost of fast fashion with Livia Firth. The Huffington Post, 3 June ( last accessed 4 August 2016)

Sol S (2014) Comment on EcoAgeTV (2013) Handprint. ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Stanchina, P. (2014) Not gonna lie, this made me cry. Watch Mary Nighy's fashion film ‘Handprint’ for serious goosebumps., 21 February ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Styles, R. (2013) Is green the new black? Vogue boss Anna Wintour takes time out of her LFW schedule for the premiere of an eco-fashion film. Daily Mail, 14 September ( last accessed 6 August 2020)

tokgr0k (2014) Comment on EcoAgeTV (2013) Handprint. ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Yeoh, C. (2013) WOW. This is stunning / beautiful / smart. ‘Handprint by Mary Nighy’ #whomakeswhatyoubuy., 23 December ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

yndama (2014) Comment on EcoAgeTV (2013) Handprint. ( last accessed 9 August 2020)

Compiled by Ian Cook et al for the Geographies of Material Culture module at the University of Exeter (last updated August 2020).