Hong Kong drives future of sustainable fashion

The EcoChic Design Award 2013 Grand Final fashion showconcluded three days of international multi-stakeholder dialogue and discovery to drive the fashion industry towards a more sustainable future.

Redress organised the diverse events between 13-15 January in Hong Kong, starting with The Redress Forum 2014, an original hands-on designer challenge and impactful industry seminar, and culminating with The EcoChic Design Award 2013 winners being announced on the runway at Hong Kong Fashion Week World Boutique.

‘We united East and West and connected today’s leaders with tomorrow’s innovators to spotlight the urgent environmental issues caused by the fashion industry that must be addressed and catalyse lasting change. We can’t be complacent whilst waste and pollution accumulates and natural resources are depleted. The industry must accelerate action to harvest the rewards,’ said Christina Dean, Founder and CEO of Redress.

The fashion industry currently relies on heavy use of resources. It is estimated that the natural resources that go into fibre production every year now demand approximately 132 million tonnes of coal and between six-and-nine trillion litres of water.[1] Meanwhile textile waste continues to be a growing concern worldwide; in Mainland China, the total annual production of pre and post-consumer textile waste is estimated to be more than 20 million tonnes.[2]

With the severity of these environmental impacts comes an urgent need for comprehensive global approaches from multi-stakeholders. Fashion designers play a pivotal part; it is thought that decisions made in design are responsible for 80-90 percent of a product’s environmental and economic costs[3].

Designers transform waste to runway showstoppers

The EcoChic Design Award is a sustainable fashion design competition challenging emerging fashion designers with less than three years’ experience to create mainstream appeal clothing with minimal textile waste. This fourth cycle, with major sponsorship from the HKSAR government agency Create Hong Kong, brought together eight finalists from Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, UK, France and Germany to present their sustainable collections to an influential audience at Hong Kong Fashion Week World Boutique.

The judges were Orsola de Castro, Co-founder ofFrom Somewhere and Co-founder and Curator ofEstethica, Johanna Ho, Fashion Designer, Margaret Kutt, Division Manager Woman Collection & Trend, Gloria Lam, Editor-in-Chief of ELLE Hong Kong and Anderson Lee, Vice Chairman of the Sustainable Fashion Business Consortium.

First prize: The EcoChic Design Award 2013 in Partnership with Esprit Winner was Karen Jessen from Germany with her innovative use of the reconstruction design technique. Karen will now design the 2014 ‘Recycled Collection by Esprit’ for Esprit’s global retail in mid 2014.

‘This eye-opening experience sharpened my perspective about the powerful position I have as a designer. This week has made me more determined to have a sustainable influence on the fashion industry,’ said Karen Jessen.

‘We welcome emerging designer, Karen’s fresh perspective into Esprit’s design team. As one of the worlds’ leading fashion retailers, Esprit will pair our market force with Karen’s innovation to drive our sustainable fashion imprint in our global stores,’ said Charles Dickinson, Head of Global Quality Management and Sustainability,Esprit

Second prize: The EcoChic Design Award 2013 in Partnership with John Hardy was awarded to Louise de Testa from France. She will go on an educational trip to leading sustainable jewellery brand, John Hardy’s design and production facilities in Bali to experience their design, production and business philosophies.

The EcoChic Design Award 2013 Special Prize Winner was selected by renowned Artist, Sandy Lam, who also picked Karen Jessen from Germany. She will reconstruct a used outfit from Sandy’s wardrobe for her to wear to ‘redress’ consumers’ attitudes towards sustainable fashion.

‘I’m proud to support the next generation of fashion designers in The EcoChic Design Award. They hold the power and passion to re-design the future of the industry so that fashion becomes more conscious and considerate towards the environment,’ said Sandy Lam.

Redressing the Industry

Further underpinning this competition’s ability to drive change, Redress organised an intensive two-day sustainable fashion seminar called The Redress Forum 2014. On day one, the eight The EcoChic Design Award finalists and ten local Hong Kong designers were challenged to address sustainable consumer care through their design choices looking at the sustainability, usability and recyclability of clothing.

Together with Miele and UK’s Textile Environmental Design, participants ‘re-designed’ discarded clothes sourced from a giant used clothing recycling warehouse. On day two, Redress brought together 100+ industry professionals to discuss the future of fashion, taking place at Hong Kong Fashion Week and supported by the Hong Kong Trade and Development Council. Notable speakers included Rebecca Earley, Professor in Sustainable Textile and Fashion Design, Textiles Environment Design at Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London, Hon Felix Chung Kwok Pan, Member of Legislative Council (Textiles and Garment Functional Constituency), Pat-Nie Woo, Chairman, Sustainable Fashion Business Consortium (SFBC) and Kate Lin, Campaigner, Greenpeace.

‘The Redress Forum comes at a significant time for the fashion industry and brings an international perspective to Hong Kong, Asia’s most influential fashion hub, about the need for collaborative change,’ said Jerry Liu Wing-leung, Head of Create Hong Kong.

Growing Impact

The EcoChic Design Award’s positive legacy is demonstrated by the growing competition’s alumni, whose success as sustainable designers confirms a shift in their design mentality and practices. To support this, Redress presented notable alumni, Wan & Wong Fashion and Absurd Laboratory’s sustainable collections at the World Boutique International Fashion Designers’ Showcase, during the series of events.

The EcoChic Design Award’s fifth cycle will open in April/May 2014 for designers living in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, UK, France and Germany. Malaysia, Denmark and Sweden.

Highlights from The EcoChic Design Award 2013 will tour the competition regions in early 2014.

Please see the full media kit containing statistics, photos, event details and quotes for all activities: http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=0208d355ae4e22f1b6d46dc88&id=70b7b78309

Media Enquiries
Hannah Lane
Email: hannah@redress.com.hk
UK mobile: +44 7974 937535

About Redress (www.redress.com.hk)
Redress is an NGO with a mission to promote environmental sustainability in the fashion industry by reducing textile waste, pollution, water and energy consumption. They achieve this via educational sustainable fashion competitions, shows, exhibitions, seminars, research and by a recycled textile clothing standard. They collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders, including multiple fashion designers, textile and garment manufacturers, brands, schools and universities, multilateral organisations, governments, NGOs, financial institutions and media organisations.

About The EcoChic Design Award (www.ecochicdesignaward.com)
The EcoChic Design Award is a sustainable fashion design competition inspiring emerging fashion designers to create mainstream clothing with minimal 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 and previous cycles include Hong Kong 2012 and China 2012.

About Create Hong Kong (www.createhk.gov.hk)
The Create Hong Kong is a dedicated agency set up under the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, of the HKSAR, on 1 June 2009 to lead, champion and drive the development of the creative economy in Hong Kong. It co-ordinates Government 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) do not reflect the views of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

About Esprit (www.esprit.com)
Esprit – a homage to the relaxed, sunny Californian attitude towards life. And the free spirit of 1968, the year it was founded. For women, men and kids, Esprit creates inspiring styles made from high-quality materials with great attention to detail. Each piece shows just how much effort Esprit puts into its creations.

Making the Esprit spirit tangible as part of a transformation program launched in September 2011, the international fashion brand will invest a total of over 280 million euros into redesigning its own and operated retail stores. This program will run until 2015 and is designed to sustainably strengthen the brand.

Esprit’s collections are worldwide available in more than 40 countries, in more than 1,000 owned and operated retail stores, as well as in more than 10,000 wholesale POS. This includes franchise partners and sales space in department stores. The company is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, has over 12,000 employees and achieved a turnover of 3.2 billion euros in 2011/12.

About John Hardy (www.johnhardy.com)
John Hardy is a luxury handmade jewelry brand, founded in Bali in 1989. The company’s collaboration between designers and artisans yields jewelry that unites the mastery of the talented jewelers who served Balinese kings with modern design interpretations. The company adheres to a strict policy of “greener every day” - the belief that a business can prosper with respect to the people, while preserving nature and the environment.

John Hardy collections are sold widely around the U.S. in high-end department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. John Hardy Collections are also available in Hong Kong (Lane Crawford), United Kingdom (Harrods and Net-a-Porter), Japan (Isetan), France (Le Bon Marche) and other countries worldwide. Headquartered in Hong Kong with offices in New York, Bangkok and Bali, the company employs around 1000 people worldwide.

[1]Lucy Siegle’s ‘To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World?’

[2] China Association of Resource Comprehensive Utilization (2013). Available: http://www.cnga.org.cn/news/View.asp?NewsID=42003

[3] Graedel, T.E., Reaves Comrie, P. and Sekutowski, J.C. (1995), Green Product Design, AT&T Technical Journal. November/December, pp.18-25, as cited in Fletcher, K. T. (1999), ibid

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