The movement of emerging sustainable fashion designers with a determination to change the fashion industry is strengthening.
NGO Redress, an organisation with a mission to reduce waste in the fashion industry, is propelling these designers forward with the launch of The EcoChic Design Award Alumni Network; a platform to connect designers with industry opportunities to further support their growth and impact.
Designers within the network are all alumni of The EcoChic Design Award, the world’s largest sustainable fashion design competition.
Over the past five years, since its inception in 2011, Redress’ The EcoChic Design Award has gathered over 100 talented alumni from across Asia and Europe who continue to practice sustainable fashion design. Now, from showcasing waste reducing collections on catwalks across the world; launching their own sustainable brands; to passing on knowledge to their peers, these previous competitors are becoming a catalyst for change and evidence of the competitions’ positive impact.
“We are witnessing an appetite among our alumni to take an active role in transforming the fashion industry to be more environmentally conscious. It is crucial that they get the support they need to enable them to make lasting change and the Alumni Network has been created to do exactly that – these designers are passionate and open for business!”, said Christina Dean, Founder of Redress.
Driving the official launch of the network is a survey Redress recently conducted among the alumni to better understand the needs of these designers in further developing their careers in sustainable fashion. Findings included an increasing need for connectivity with retailers, brands and other organisations to partner with, finding funding to promote their work and deepening their knowledge of sustainability in order to succeed in sustainable design.
Offering education and a global platform for designers’ innovative designs, The EcoChic Design Award programme is a springboard into sustainable design, but Redress believe it is as essential to support the competitors onwards into their careers. Over the years Redress has worked closely with the alumni on projects with a number of partners including Yahoo, Ford Motor Company, Messe Frankfurt and celebrity artist Kary Ng. But as the competition experiences more cycles, the network is growing and with it the hunger and passion for a better future for the fashion industry. Now is the prime time to launch an official platform.
“Over the past five years The EcoChic Design Award has provided support and inspiration for a new generation of fashion designers, paving the way for creative and environmental innovation. It has inspired and encouraged a shifting of attitudes towards a better way to redesign our fashion future. I am proud and honoured to have been a part of it since inception: it has changed my life as much as the lives of the young designers it has supported,” said Orsola de Castro, international judge of The EcoChic Design Award.
A network to drive success
The EcoChic Design Award Alumni Network is a new community of sustainable fashion designer game-changers wanting to influence positive change within the industry. It exists to channel exciting industry opportunities, brand collaborations, learning opportunities and provides a cohesive sharing space for emerging sustainable fashion designers to take their careers forwards.
In addition to supporting the development of emerging designers, it also provides mutual benefit to the broader industry as a go-to resource for talent. The network exists both online, through a LinkedIn group to drive discussion and open up new opportunities for collaboration; and offline through networking events and promotional activities.
The EcoChic Design Award Alumni Network will support its members by providing:
- Networking opportunities with industry professionals and other alumni
- Promotion of alumni’s work/designs to targeted industry professionals
- Career and brand opportunities including retail collaborations, jobs and textile waste sourcing opportunities
- Expert advice on designing, sourcing, marketing and selling sustainable fashion
- Learning opportunities including the latest developments in sustainable fashion
The Alumni Network Launched in Hong Kong in early October with a networking event gathering industry professionals and a selection of alumni and included a panel discussion on the how to enable emerging sustainable fashion designers to impact the broader fashion.
Panel speakers were Cherry Wong (Project Manager The Office of Hon Felix Chung Kwok-pan, Member of Legislative Council), Anderson Lee (Chairman, Sustainable Fashion Business Consortium), Tania Reinert (Co-founder, A Boy Named Sue) and Arnault Castel (Founder, kapok).
To further drive the establishment of the network in the coming months, The EcoChic Design Award will again be supporting alumni booths at Hong Kong Fashion Week in January 2016 for the promotion of their sustainable brands to buyers across Asia. The selected alumni brands are Windauswister, Alex Leau, Angus Tsui, Clementine Sandner and Wan & Wong Fashion.
In addition, a SOURCE full access membership has been sponsored by The Ethical Fashion Forum which supports fashion professionals to build successful, sustainable businesses by providing members with business intelligence, training, and networking opportunities. The organisation has selected Sophia Heussner and her brand ï Miss Sophïe as the winner of this prize for her strong commitment and well-rounded approach to building a sustainable brand.
Visit the LinkedIn Group: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/EcoChic-Design-Award-Alumni-Network-8360064/about
Find out more about The EcoChic Design Award Alumni here: http://www.ecochicdesignaward.com/alumni/
Tel: +852 2861 0360
About The EcoChic Design Award (www.ecochicdesignaward.com)
The EcoChic Design Award is a sustainable fashion design competition inspiring emerging fashion designers and students to create high appeal clothing with minimal textile waste. Designers are educated with the theory and techniques to enable them to create sustainable clothing via zero-waste, up-cycling and reconstruction. The competition puts emerging sustainable design talent in the spotlight, creating a platform for the next generation of designers to cut waste out of fashion. The inaugural The EcoChic Design Award was launched in Hong Kong in 2011. Previous cycles include Hong Kong 2012, China 2012 and the 2013 and 2014/15 cycles, which were open to eight and ten regions across Asia and Europe respectively. The 2015/16 cycle is the first open cycle to all of Asia and Europe.
About Redress (www.redress.com.hk)
Redress is the NGO with a mission to promote environmental sustainability in the fashion industry by reducing textile waste, pollution, water and energy consumption. Redress achieves this via educational sustainable fashion design competitions, shows, exhibitions, seminars, research and by a recycled textile clothing standard. Redress also engages in various consumer campaigns to educate consumers about clothing consumption and waste. Collectively, Redress collaborates with a wide range of stakeholders, including multiple fashion designers, textile and garment manufacturers, brands and retailers, schools and universities, private sector organisations, multilateral organisations, governments, NGOs, financial institutions and media organisations.
About The Create Hong Kong (www.createhk.gov.hk)
The Create Hong Kong is a dedicated agency set up under the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau on 1 June 2001 to lead, champion and drive the development of the creative economy in Hong Kong. It co-ordinates Government policy and effort regarding creative industries, focuses Government’s resources catering for the promotion and speeding up the development of creative industries in Hong Kong, and works closely with the trade to boost the development of creative industries.
“The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region provides funding support to the project only, and does not otherwise take part in the project. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in these materials/events (or by members of the project team) are those of the project organizers only and do not reflect the views of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Communication and Technology Branch of the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, Create Hong Kong, the CreateSmart Initiative Secretariat or the CreateSmart Initiative Vetting Committee.”