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Camp, H&M partnership puts fun spin on up-cycling

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Camp’s newest retail partnership is shining a spotlight on sustainability.

Family-friendly experiential retailer Camp has built its reputation on blending merchandise with themed, hands-on experiences that change on a regular basis. Its latest activation, done in partnership with fast-fashion giant H&M, is designed to teach kids about sustainability and inspire them to be “change makers.”

The free, two-part activity, called “Kid-Powered Style,” is at Camp’s 8,000-sq.-ft. store at The Shops at Columbus Circle, Manhattan. It is running through Sept. 5.

The experience includes offers visitors the chance to craft and unleash their “inner designer” using sustainable materials in a dedicated space called “The Style Cabin.” The walls of the cabin are decorated with colorful up-cycled denim and T-shirts sourced from donations and thrift stores.

H&M donated 2,000 up-cycled cheetah-patterned tote bags that shoppers can use to create DIY toys and accessories. Customers are also invited to use their own unwanted clothes to bring their designs to life. Camp supplies scissors, markers, stencils and other crafting accessories.

A wall-mounted tablet enables customers to create a Boomerang video of their crafting experience and post it on social media.

“We wanted to infuse Camps values of fun and play into H&Ms key pillars of style, fun and being progressive,” said Kirk Larsen, Camp’s creative director. “Using pre-loved clothing and turning it into something new [on the cabin walls] mirrors the activity [happening] inside the cabin as kids also turn well-loved items into something new and fun.”

Signage encourages customers to donate unwanted clothing to H&Ms garment collection program, available at the retailer’s various stores.  All collected items are sent to an H&M recycling partner that sorts merchandise for rewear, repurposing or recycling. 

“Our goal is that no clothing items ever go to a landfill,” said Lauren Riezman, head of communications, H&M Americas. “To make sure we make the most of the resources and energy embedded in existing products, we offer garment collecting points in all our stores.”

In 2021, 17.9% of materials used in H&M merchandise was from recycled sources, “and we aim to reach 30% by 2025,” she added.

“Increasing textile recycling capability and further developing infrastructure for collecting and sorting are vital to help us achieve these ambitions,” Riezman said.

Located outside the cabin is a pedal-powered cycling station, “The Upcycler.” It features three refurbished bicycles — two seated and one adaptable bike designed for wheelchair accessibility—   made of recycled materials.

Up to three players can compete in a stationary cycling challenge and their collective miles trigger a donation to Project Learning Tree, an organization that drives students' awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of the environment.

“By adding an active, cardiovascular element, you dont even realize youre helping the planet by biking these miles,” Camp’s Larsen said. “Without even knowing it, youre learning how to turn something old into something new, and the donations ensure that all of this work is turning into something meaningful.”

Additionally, Camp is partnering with Walgreens in a separate program called the “Ultimate Beach Day.” Shoppers that visit any of Camp’s nine locations can pick up a free “Beach Day Bundle” which includes beach toys, an activity book and Walgreens-brand beach essentials, including sunscreen, sunburn relief gel, Vitamin C gummies, and more.

The beach bundle, which is available between Aug. 5-9, coincides with a free immersive event that Camp will host on Aug. 11 at Domino Park in Brooklyn, N.Y. Here, customers are invited to participate in treasure hunts, sand sculpture competitions, beach yoga, arts and crafts and more.

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