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Calling on today’s real role models: kids

Kids are more informed, engaged, and capable than ever before. There are countless examples of youth taking action to make our world a better place, filling a vacuum left by those who we’d normally look to: adults. At a time of social and environmental upheaval, leadership has never been more paramount. This fundamental need inspired H&M to explore how it could play a part in supporting the role models who are right in front of us and are shaping our future. 

It’s something that Annie Wu, H&M’s Chief Diversity Officer — Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, has given a lot of thought to:

“We know that in order to inspire and engage people – especially the young generation – they need to see that someone who looks, speaks and thinks like them can become a role model. Representation makes a difference. We want to amplify the voices of the incredibly inspiring young role models out there to show that every single one of them can make a difference and can contribute to a better future.” 

Through a new digital platform launching 29 April, H&M will bring forward, champion and tell the stories of young changemakers from around the world — social, environmental and civic role models. H&M wants to support, improve and contribute to a better future for children and parents alike. We believe that the world needs to embrace the optimistic, collaborative, free-thinking spirit of kids. 

“Children approach things with a completely different mindset. They are not as biased or influenced by assumptions or prejudices as most adults are. They don’t let themselves become hindered by potential hurdles; they rather focus on getting things done. We should all be inspired by this to question our own mindset and biases,” says Annie Wu. 

For the launch, H&M also worked with double Oscar-nominated director Bryan Buckley and crafted a short-film to make the world talk and rethink the role models we have been looking up to. The film highlights initiatives big and small that improve our world and illustrates how young people view adults today, while evoking the central idea that the leadership and the urgency for change we need is within them. 

In order to progress, H&M asks if we need to rethink our role models, and then also puts out the call for others to join the movement, lifting kids as the role models we all truly need — those we can learn something from. We want to encourage people to share their own role model story as inspiration to others and bring forward kids with the potential and purpose to make us grownups feel small. To join the movement, go to hm.com/kids and nominate a remarkable role model. Later this year, H&M will spotlight their efforts and create awareness for how the broader community can join in their work.

“We have a responsibility as the big global company to represent what kind of world we want to see. H&M Group is fully committed to playing its part in addressing society’s issues and problems, and we hope that this is something our customers can see and feel around the world. Personally, I get goosebumps when I hear how much passion, energy and earnestness these kids have when raising important questions of our time. And as adults, we owe it to the younger generation, and the ones to come, to keep working on these things with full determination,”says Annie Wu.

You can visit the Role Models digital platform here.