Addressing sustainable fashion is awarding business

Tan Weiyun
Environmental charity Redress has concluded its Redress Design Award 2020 Grand Final, the world's largest sustainable fashion design competition.
Tan Weiyun
SSI ļʱ

Environmental charity Redress has concluded its Redress Design Award 2020 Grand Final, the world’s largest sustainable fashion design competition. 

It catapulted bold new sustainable fashion talent into the spotlight as fashion’s waste crisis mounts due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Menswear designer Le Ngoc Ha Thu from Vietnam and womenswear designer Juliana Garcia Bello of Argentina won significant sustainable design collaboration prizes from global leaders, VF Corp’s Timberland and award-winning up-cycled brand The R Collective.

“Fashion’s waste crisis can’t be swept under the carpet any longer,” said Christina Dean, founder of Redress and The R Collective. 

“The COVID-19’s retail and supply chain disruptions have stranded materials in warehouses, factories and stores globally. Now is the time to catalyze the circular economy. The Redress Design Award has for 10 years educated designers about circular design.”

Fashion waste is a significant challenge. The industry is estimated to generate 92 million tons of textile waste annually, and the COVID-19 is set to increase this. Sixty percent of textile and clothing companies expect their sales to drop by half in the short term. The Redress Design Award 2020 finalists’ collections demonstrate numerous solutions to reduce waste throughout the entire fashion supply chain and also across industries.

The two winners out-designed hundreds of applicants from 48 countries and regions. 

“I have learned so much during my participation in the Redress Design Award and have definitely come out of this with a reinforced feeling that collaboration is the key," womenswear winner Juliana Garcia Bello said. "We designers need to share our strengths and be inspired by each other to keep finding solutions to the mounting levels of textile waste."

Addressing sustainable fashion is awarding business
Ti Gong

Womenswear winner Juliana Garcia Bello's design 

In the past two weeks leading up to the Grand Final, which was livestreamed, the 10 finalists from 10 regions successfully completed a grueling series of virtual design and business challenges. They focused on real life sustainability business cases with a spotlight on COVID-19 impacted waste, supported by VF Corp and TAL Group, makers of one in six dress shirts in the US.

The “Digital Up-cycling Challenge” saw the finalists use Browzwear digital design and sampling software to create up-cycled concepts to turn TAL’s COVID-19-impacted deadstock garment waste into new products for retail. 

The “Made for Change Timberland Challenge” saw the finalists develop sustainable and scalable business concepts, focusing on responsible design and re-manufacturing fabric deadstock.

“Our collaboration with Redress, now in its second year, connects us to talented, emerging designers who are passionate about creating fashionable, compelling designs with environmental responsibility in mind,” said competition judge Kevin Bailey, VF’s executive vice president. 

“We are constantly inspired by their commitment to circular design and creativity. These are the future leaders who are going to help drive lasting and positive change throughout our global industry, and we are proud to be part of their journey.”

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