EcoChic Design Award 2014: Open for Entries
Emerging fashion designers in Asia and Europe are being invited to enter the prestigious EcoChic Design Award. Now in its fifth year, the sustainable fashion design competition recognises up-and-coming designers who combine a passion for reducing textile waste with exceptional creative talent.
The theme for 2014/2015, ‘Modern China Chic’, will see designers taking Shanghai Tang, China’s leading luxury brand, as an influence and designing a collection with their Asian and European markets in mind. The aim is to reduce textile waste and as Raphaël Le Masne de Chermont, Executive Chairman, Shanghai Tang explains, the project 'demonstrates China’s evolution into providing luxury and sustainable designs that are relevant to the world’s high fashion tastes. We hope this will change perceptions about Chinese brands and inspire more sustainable practices’.
The awards, which are sponsored by Hong Kong Government’s Create Hong Kong and Ford Motor Company, are run by NGO Redress whose missions is ‘to promote environmental sustainability in the fashion industry by reducing textile waste, pollution, water and energy consumption’. Christina Dean, Founder and CEO of Redress said of this year’s awards:
‘Textile waste continues to be an urgent environmental problem. China, home to the world’s clothing and textile factories and awash with textile waste, is now taking note and turning waste into opportunity. From our base in Hong Kong, we are witnessing a polluted China activate her creativity, stretch her supply chain and flex her power as China unleashes a positive signal about sustainable fashion innovation. The EcoChic Design Award unites Asian and European designers with the world’s fashion super-power and the world must take note.’
Whilst it’s true that textile waste is an issue that cannot be ignored - China alone produces approximately 20 million tonnes of textile waste every year1 - fashion designers have a huge role to play as it’s estimated they can influence ‘80 to 90 percent of the environmental and economic costs of a product’2 . Emerging designers who think they ‘have what it takes to cut the waste out of fashion’ and wish to enter the awards, must have less than three years’ experience and live in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, UK, France, Germany, Sweden and Denmark.
The ten finalists, one from each region, will show their collections at Hong Kong Fashion Week in January 2015 where they will also benefit from expert workshops on the theory and techniques of zero-waste, upcycling and reconstruction.
The first prize winner will design an upcycled ready-to-wear collection for Shanghai Tang - who boasts an impressive 43 stores worldwide - using the brand’s own textile waste. The second prize is to design textile waste-reducing staff uniforms for legendary five star hotel The Langham, Hong Kong, for their Cantonese restaurant, T’ang Court. An additional special prize winner, chosen by sustainable luxury jewellery brand, John Hardy will visit their design centre and workshop in Bali, to gain first-hand experience of their sustainable luxury business.
In addition to further ‘career boosting’ prizes for the semi-finalists and finalists, Redress are committed to championing the careers of all their EcoChic alumni by offering PR support and industry exposure. One young designer will be selected from the past five year’s alumni by celebrity artist Kary Ng and asked to design a signature sustainable outfit for an upcoming concert and fashion shoot. Kary said of her involvement:
‘I’ve always loved fashion and believe that as global citizens we should integrate our aspirations for a healthy environment in our own clothing choices. I’m excited to select my favourite The EcoChic Design Award Alumni who will transform clothes I no longer wear into a fashion showcase for sustainable chic. As consumers, our love of fashion should not cost the earth’.
To find out more about the EcoChic Design Award and for information on how to enter, watch the teaser video above and visit: www.ecochicdesignaward.com. The website also hosts a wealth of online learning resources and tutorials.
Title image credits:
EcoChic Design Award 2013 Winner Karen Jessen. Photographer Tim Wong
1 China Association of Resource Comprehensive Utilization, 2013
2 Graedel et al, 1995