8th September 2017 – Hong Kong – Redress, a pioneering environmental NGO, last night announced the winners of the world’s largest sustainable fashion competition. The EcoChic Design Award 2017, sponsored by Create HK, drew applications from 46 countries, culminating in a runway finale in Hong Kong. This followed a week-long intensive design exploration to prove there are already exciting solutions to change the face of fashion – one of the world’s most wasteful industries.
Fierce aesthetic and innovative techniques applied to a range of unusual and sometimes surprising materials, combined to impress the distinguished judges, and dazzle 600 of the region’s most influential industry players and VIP onlookers. British designer Kate Morris won first prize demonstrating the power of the circular economy, where nothing goes to waste. All collections were made from textile waste, ranging from bridal wear offcuts mixed with military uniforms to abandoned umbrellas and damaged yarns.
Christina Dean, Founder of Redress and Co-founder of BYT said, “As one of the biggest global polluters that is rapidly draining natural resources, Redress has been battling fashion’s growing problems for 10 years. Our unique EcoChic Design Award competition solidifies that the change is here, it’s happening now. There’s no time for complacency – whether from industry or consumers – it’s time to face the bitter reality that it’s our time to act. Our 10 finalists represent a small snapshot of the creativity that can drive us out of crisis.”
Kate will now join a team of fashion game-changers to create a collection for BYT, a new Hong Kong affordable luxury brand born from Redress. BYT’s inaugural up-cycled collection, which was designed by previous EcoChic Design Award competition winners, will retail in Lane Crawford and Barneys in New York, demonstrating Asia as a leading fashion powerhouse, and the changing ethical tastes of luxury consumers worldwide.
Kate said, “I believe the fashion industry has reached a critical point and I want to part of the change – designing sustainable items of beauty for the masses is my dream and I am excited about winning this competition as it will me enable to contribute to a better future.”
Kate will also see her winning collection, a bright and playful knitwear collection which mixed handcraft with technology, and focused on the three design techniques of the collection – zero-waste, up-cycling and reconstruction – in an installation at Lane Crawford, Asia’s leading iconic luxury department store.
Competition judge, Joanna Gunn, Chief Brand Officer, Lane Crawford, said “As part of Lane Crawford’s commitment to supporting young emerging talent, we are pleased to support the EcoChic Design Award and its cause of promoting sustainability in fashion with the next generation of designers.”
TACKLING INDUSTRY CHALLENGES
In the run up to the Grand Final, and hosted in luxury by hotel partner The Langham, Hong Kong, the ten finalists united to explore numerous possibilities to tackle real-life waste scenarios. They created a reproducible product from Cathay Pacific’s uniform waste; rescued discarded clothes from Hong Kong’s clothing bins using simple care techniques with Miele; and had a taste of the production line with TAL Group, producers of 123,000 garments per day. These challenges showed first-hand how improved interactions between designers, manufacturers and consumers can significantly alter the overall environmental impact of every single piece of clothing.
Other major prizes were awarded:
The EcoChic Design Award 2017 second prize winner was Lia Kassif who will receive a tailored mentorship with distinguished sustainable fashion designer, Orsola de Castro.
The EcoChic Design Award 2017 Special prize with Ellen Loo was also awarded to Lia Kassif, who will now have the opportunity to design a show-stopping sustainable outfit for the Hong Kong indie singer-songwriter to wear at a public event.
Redress continues to create a groundswell for positive change in the fashion industry and now boasts 23 sustainable brands within its alumni – previous competition finalists – with many past competitors going on to ultimately change the face of fashion. The EcoChic Design Award 2018 will open in early January 2018 with major sponsorship from Create HK. This cycle will be truly global for the first time, accepting entries from all countries across the world.