In Hong Kong, the epicentre of Asia’s fashion industry, the environmental NGO Redress has named the winners of the world’s largest sustainable design competition for emerging designers, The EcoChic Design Award 2015/16. 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.
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.”
First prize winner Patrycja Guzik will spend three months in Hong Kong designing an up-cycled collection for China’s leading luxury brand’s global retail Shanghai Tang using their surplus textiles. Her winning collection was created using up-cycling and reconstruction design techniques. She made her fabrics by tufting damaged textiles and unraveled secondhand garments. “This week has been life-changing and a real eye-opener for me that we 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.
Second prize winner Cora Maria Bellotto will receive a tailored mentorship with Orsola Di Castro, Fashion Designer, Co-founder of Esthetica and Cofounder of Fashion Revolution.
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.
Select finalists’ designs will be exhibited in Asia and Europe in early 2016, supported by logistics partner, UPS.
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.
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.