Is H&M Taking Advantage of Canadian Students?

Is H&M taking advantage of Canadian students? That is what some people are speculating. The Swedish retailer recently teamed up with OCAD U to launch an unpaid design competition.

Work isn’t hard to come by, in fact it seems like if you’re in a creative field of any sort, it’s only paid work that is hard to come by.

Recently, OCAD University – the largest and most comprehensive art, design and media university in Canada – teamed up with H&M for the Toronto Loves Fashion! Fashion Loves Toronto! competition. The competition asks 3rd and 4th year OCAD students to submit their original artwork for consideration. Up to 8 artists will be chosen to have their work displayed on the temporary construction hoarding at H&M’s Toronto flagship store in the Eaton Centre. Aside from having their art work displayed on the temporary walls of one of the busiest intersections in Toronto, winners will receive a $500 H&M gift card and an invitation to H&M’s re-launch event. Sounds pretty sweet, right? Wrong.

While some people may be content with a $500 gift card, others need money for rent, food and those hefty university tuitions. Typically in a scenario like this, industry professionals would be called on to make those temporary wall graphics and they’d be getting paid a fat paycheque too! This competition has many speculating that H&M is taking advantage of the talents of OCAD U students in lieu of having to pay a substantial design fee elsewhere.

According to Forbes, H&M is worth over $70 billion and pulls in over $20 billion in sales annually. Seems like they definitely have enough dough to offer up students more than “exposure” and a new wardrobe.

Do you think what H&M is doing is unfair? Let us know in the comments below!

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