H&M Foundation, the non-profit global foundation, privately funded by the founders and main owners of the fashion company H&M, and noted artist/director Jess English turned to Blonde + Co to handle production and post-production on a new branded content piece in support of H&M Foundation’s initiative and the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

The :60 short features H&M Foundation ambassador Alek Wek, the Sudanese model whose personal story mirrors the refugee crisis affecting millions around the world, and will be seen internationally on both H&M’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.

“We got involved in the project through our relationship with Jess,” Grey Zisser, Blonde + Co Creative Director, says. “Given the current state of the refugee crisis around the world and H&M Foundation’s deep commitment to affecting positive change, we knew we wanted to help in any way we could.”
For Blonde + Co that meant working with English and H&M Foundation’s creative team to bring their concept to life. Shot at Blonde + Co’s New York studio, the production team included Victor Larue and Jennifer Susswein. Additionally, Blonde + Co handled the entire post-production process, led by editor Louie Metzner and colorist Izzy Cohen.

The video opens with a series of striking black and white close ups of Wek that manage to capture both her innate beauty, as well as a sense of her worldliness due to a personal biography that includes her own refugee experience, immigrating to London from Sudan as a teenager following civil war, and a quick rise to become one of the most sought after models in fashion today.

Those initial images of Wek give way to a montage of her at work on a fashion shoot. Her voiceover is intercut with shots of Wek speaking directly to the camera about her personal story and the ambitions of the H&M Foundation’s campaign to assist refugee children in getting the educational resources they desperately need.

For Zisser and the Blonde + Co production and post teams, the opportunity to work on something whose goals go far beyond merely promoting a brand or a product proved to be inspiring.

“At Blonde + Co, we want to work on projects that support social causes we care about, and that’s why we jumped at this opportunity,” Zisser adds. “What H&M Foundation is doing for UNHCR is vital and we’re proud to play a part in helping effectively get the word out about this important initiative.”

Adds Diana Amini, Global Manager for H&M Foundation, “Refugee children are five times more likely to be out of school than other children. This is why providing the supplies they need to go to school is so crucial. With this donation, UNHCR can ensure an education for many children in crisis settings across the world.”

About Blonde + Co:
Award-winning New York-based Creative Content House, Blonde + Co creates visual content that entertains, educates, inspires and incites changes in behavior. Blonde +Co partners with brands and organizations that share a common goal: to make our world more beautiful. For more information visit http://www.blondeandco.com

About UNHCR:
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. UNHCR leads international action to protect people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. UNHCR delivers life-saving assistance like shelter, food and water, helps safeguard fundamental human rights, and develops solutions that ensure people have a safe place to call home where they can build a better future. UNHCR also works to ensure that stateless people are granted a nationality. UNHCR’s dedicated teams are on the ground in some 128 countries across the world, working in partnership with governments, NGOs, the private sector, community groups, host communities as well as refugees.

About H&M Foundation:
H&M Foundation is a non-profit global foundation, privately funded by the Stefan Persson family, founders and main owners of the fashion company H&M. Its mission is to create long-lasting positive change and improve living conditions by investing in communities, people and innovative ideas. Through partnerships with prominent organizations around the globe, H&M Foundation drives change within four focus areas; Education, Clean water, Equality and Protecting the planet. In addition, H&M Foundation can also provide emergency relief. H&M Foundation has been working with UNHCR since 2015, when it donated US$500,000 in support of UNHCR’s response to the Europe emergency, helping to provide much-needed food, shelter, medical care as well as registration services and special support for children. For more info about H&M Foundation: http://www.hmfoundation.com