Environmental NGO Redress concluded their week long programme of sustainable fashion activities in Hong Kong, the epicentre of Asia’s fashion industry, further cementing emerging designers’ power to drive positive change and pushing the global agenda to reduce waste in the fashion industry.
The week included a design challenge, two workshops and an industry seminar before culminating at the grand final fashion show of the world’s largest sustainable design competition for emerging designers, The EcoChic Design Award 2015/16.
Here ten finalists from Asia and Europe united to command Hong Kong Fashion Week’s runway, and the influential industry onlookers, with their textile-waste-reducing collections, having already out-designed an unprecedented level of competition entries from designers living in 40 countries across Asia and Europe. Two winners, from Poland and Spain, were crowned winners.
Christina Dean, Founder of Redress said, “We must face the pressing reality that the fashion and textile industry, as the world’s second biggest global polluter, can’t carry on as-is without crippling our planet. Change is not happening fast enough. In contrast to the majority of the industry, emerging fashion designers are demonstrating that they, as tomorrow’s leaders, are more in tune with solutions and they are creatively cashing in on the environmental and economic opportunities within reducing and re-using textile waste. These designers are cementing a positive future for fashion”.
Leading up to the grand final, the ten finalists collaborated with multi-stakeholders to the find collaborative solutions and to share their expertise in sustainable design techniques.
The Redress Forum: Ford Design Challenge saw them up-cycle Ford’s sustainable materials into statement pieces for the runway; the reconstruction workshop set their creativity free in a huge discarded clothing warehouse; and their zero-waste workshop saw them travel to China to rub shoulders and share ideas with one of the region’s pioneering apparel manufacturers.
Further influencing, Redress co-organised a widely-attended panel discussion on circular business models with HKTDC.
Mr Jerry Liu Wing-leung, Head of Create Hong Kong, the competition’s major sponsor, said, “Sustainability is a global issue, and with a global perspective sustainable fashion design can transcend technicalities and become a way to the future. The EcoChic Design Award makes a significant impact on the way people view fashion.”
Prizes to fuel the new force of design talent
Three panels of judges, including influential personalities Susie Lau, Orsola de Castro, Johanna Ho and Nadya Hutagalung, were tasked to shortlist and identify the competition’s fifth cycle winners, which had neck-to-neck scores, the closest in the competition’s history.
Patrycja Guzik won the 1st Prize: The EcoChic Design Award 2015/16 with Shanghai Tang and she will spend three months in Hong Kong designing an up-cycled collection for China’s leading luxury brand’s global retail using their surplus textiles. Her winning collection was created using the up-cycling and reconstruction design techniques and she made her fabrics by tufting damaged textiles and unraveled secondhand garments.
“As the curators of modern China chic, it says a lot to the rest of the industry and our consumers that Shanghai Tang is translating Redress’ international search for emerging sustainable design talent into an up-cycled collection for our global customers. Our experience working with the last cycle’s winner inspired us about how business can do the right thing”, said Raphael le Manse de Charmont, Executive Chairman, Shanghai Tang.
“This week has been life changing and a real eye-opener for me that us designers really can design the future we want! Winning amplifies everything I’ve dreamt of about using my passions to prove that a more sustainable fashion industry can be a reality,” said Patrycja.
Cora Maria Bellotto won 2nd Prize: The EcoChic Design Award 2015/16 with Orsola de Castro and she will receive a tailored mentorship to propel his/her career in sustainable fashion design forwards.
Judged solely by supermodel Janet Ma, Patrycja also won The EcoChic Design Award 2015/16 Special Prize and she will design a sustainable outfit for Janet to reveal at a high profile public event and in a fashion photoshoot to redress consumers’ attitudes towards sustainable fashion.
In addition, a ‘Hong Kong’s Best’ recognition was given to Esther Lui to commend her achievements for leading Hong Kong’s pool of creative emerging designers.
Competition legacy lives on
With five cycles already behind them, Redress now celebrates over 100 talented alumni, who are previous semi-finalists and finalists, who are increasingly forging sustainable fashion careers, with some expanding their sustainable brands’ retail footprint.
As part of the week’s activities, Redress exhibited five alumni’s sustainable brands in The EcoChic Design Award Alumni Booths at HKTDC Hong Kong Fashion Week, attracting some of the region’s top buyers and driving more orders and expansion of the alumni’s stockists.
The booths form part of Redress’ over-arching The EcoChic Design Award Alumni Network, a platform to support this growing collective of sustainable designers with industry collaborations so as to magnify the designers’ momentum way beyond the runway. An additional retail and business development prize was awarded to Wan and Wong Fashion and Clémentine Sandner by Hong Kong’s retail store, kapok.
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- Select The EcoChic Design Award 2015/16 finalists’ designs will be exhibited in Asia and Europe in early 2016, supported by logistics partner, UPS.
- The EcoChic Design Award 2015/16 International judges were Orsola de Castro, Fashion Designer, Co-founder of Estethica and Co-founder of Fashion Revolution; Raffaele Borriello, Creative Consigliere, Shanghai Tang; Susie Lau, Fashion Writer and Editor; Anderson Lee, Vice Chairman of the Sustainable Fashion Business Consortium (SFBC); Stephanie Zhuge,Fashion Editor, ELLE China. Two additional regional judging panels included other industry leaders.
- In addition to the main prizes above, the 1st prize winner received a year long subscription to Bloomsbury Fashion Central, the 2nd prize winner received books from the Fairchild Fashion Design series and all ten finalists received a six-month subscription to the online portal The Berg Fashion Library, fashion design books from Bloomsbury Publishing, mentorships with sustainable design experts and membership to The Ethical Fashion Forum’s SOURCE Intelligence platform.
- Supermodel Bonnie Chen was The EcoChic Design Award 2015/16 Ambassador. She modeled select of the finalists’ competition designs in a fashion shoot before attending the grand final.
- The Redress Forum: Ford Design Challenge winning duo of finalists were UK’s Amy Ward and Mainland China’s Pan Wen for their sustainably-considered design made by up-cycling sustainable fabrics used in Ford’s vehicles. They shared a HKD10,000 educational grant.
- The competition has wide industry support from an advisory group across Asia and Europe.
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 high appeal clothing via the sustainable design techniques of zero-waste, up-cycling and reconstruction, and they are inspired to source textile waste for their collections. 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 EcoChic Design Award launched in Hong Kong in 2011 and 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 cycle that is open to designers in all of Asia and Europe.
About Redress (www.redress.com.hk)
Redress is an environmental NGO working to reduce waste in the fashion industry. They achieve this through a variety of programmes, initiatives and campaigns. Redress aims to enhance, educate and enable the adoption of a more sustainable fashion industry that helps to minimise the negative and maximise the positive impacts of the fashion industry on society and the environment. Collectively, Redress collaborates with a wide range of stakeholders, including fashion designers, textile and garment manufacturers, brands and retailers, schools and universities, private sector organisations, multilateral organisations, governments, NGOs, media organisations and consumers.
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 2009 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 Communications and Creative Industries Branch of the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, Create Hong Kong, the CreateSmart Initiative Secretariat or the CreateSmart Initiative Vetting Committee.”
About Ford Motor Company (www.corporate.ford.com)
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 183,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company.
Ford Motor Company Asia Pacific is responsible for producing, selling and servicing Ford brand vehicles in 12 markets including China, India, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, and 31 emerging markets across the region. In October 2009, Ford Motor Company moved its Asia Pacific regional headquarters to China. Ford is bringing more than 50 new vehicles and powertrains to Asia Pacific by 2015, and sixty to seventy percent of Ford’s growth will come from this region in the next ten years.
About Shanghai Tang (www.shanghaitang.com)
Since its inception in 1994, Shanghai Tang has been the pioneering luxury lifestyle brand from China. With its mission as the global curator of modern Chinese aesthetics, Shanghai Tang interprets Chinese culture and craftsmanship with vibrant sophistication and relevance. Offering ready-to-wear for women, men and children, as well as accessories and homeware, Shanghai Tang supports an international network of 43 boutiques, including the world’s largest lifestyle flagship – The Shanghai Tang Mansion, at 1 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong and its largest flagship boutique, The Cathay Mansion in Shanghai, China.