How did it all start

The partnership of Nick and Jose started with a simple enough premise. Take an innovative and educational television drama series and repeat its success in a comic book format. Simple enough right? Well this was our first challenge and our aim was to meet it head-on and surpass our client’s expectations. “At the Factory Gates” was the series created by Nick and the ILO to help young garment workers entering Cambodia’s garment sector understand their rights and responsibilities. A huge success in Cambodia the TV series was subsequently produced in Vietnam by the ILO’s Better Work Vietnam programme.


Searching for a way to drive home the messages after the series had been viewed the ILO, along with Nick came up with the idea of serializing in comic book format each of the eight episodes. In effect creating individual mini-comic books which had all the key scenes and, importantly, all the key messages from the series.


The booklets became a hit in their own right and pretty soon after led to a second commission from Better Factories Cambodia who wanted to highlight the achievements of their groundbreaking monitoring and remediation programme set up by the ILO ten years before. The history of 10 years of BFC is told through a storyline that sets up a celebratory party. It’s full of insider jokes from the people who were there – and we poked fun at quite a few of them – but really what brought it all together is Jose’s incredible drawings that took the storyline into the realm of a true comic book.


Once the party was over and, all the back-slapping complete, the ILO came up with another idea. How about a comic book which looked at the life-skills necessary to help move the thousands of young garment sector workers who each year leave the relatively safe confines of their villages to take up employment in the big city – Phnom Penh – and its hundreds of factories producing clothes for its ever growing export led economy. “Threading the Needle” is a story of a young woman who has made good in the garment sector – good enough that she has returned to her home village and started her own business producing fashionable bags made from rice sacks. Check it out for yourself and we think you’ll find a story that engages and cares deeply about its audience.


So after our collaboration to produce all of these comic books for the International Labour Organisation, Better Factories Cambodia and the Levi Strauss Foundation, we decided to join forces and set out to create a dedicated company to help develop this unique and effective tool. Partizan Creatives was born.

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