The quest to create positive change in fashion just moved one stylish step forward. Enter The R Collective, the pioneering new designer up-cycled brand born from Redress’ 10-year history.
“Confidence is so important. It’s so vital to be confident in your work and speak with authority. Giving yourself time to learn your medium from A-Z will definitely help with that. Because at the end of the day, you are your business.”
Entering the EcoChic Design Award 2014/15 was finalist Catherine Hudson’s first step into sustainable fashion: “I was shown the effects of throwaway fashion and how damaging it was to the environment,” she recalls. “And I wanted to be part of the solution - to be fashion forward in my work ethic as well as in my design execution.”
Can rethinking energy, disruptive reduction and design for the future provide the necessary levers for change? Redress believes so, and so do the US NGO ClimateWorks Foundation and environmental sustainability experts Quantis, who have recently released the Measuring Fashion 2018 report, which provides a holistic assessment of the environmental impacts of the global apparel and footwear industries. The report considered the industries’ value chains across seven stages – from fibre production and material extraction to end-of-life – and looked at different environmental indicators including climate change, resources, freshwater withdrawal, ecosystem quality and human health. The research reveals that the apparel industry alone accounts for a shocking 6.7% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Catch the broadcast debut of Frontline Fashion 2 on Lifetime Asia at 8pm (Singapore time), 23 March 2018.
Frontline Fashion 2 follows 10 emerging designers from across the globe who are determined to change the future of fashion – one of the most polluting industries imaginable. Battling to win the Redress Design Award, the world's largest sustainable design competition, the 10 finalists descend into Hong Kong - the epicentre of Asia's fashion scene - to showcase their collections, together with their hopes and dreams in a live Grand Final.
The applications are in!
The first truly global cycle of the Redress Design Award has been an overwhelming success. Expanding beyond Asia, Europe and the USA for the first time, our sustainable fashion design competition has attracted a record number of applications from designers living in more than 50 countries around the globe, including first time applications from countries such as Bolivia, Estonia, Australia and Kenya.
My mother always told me “What goes around comes around”. I’ve carried this philosophy through life; even into how I think about how we make and dispose of clothes and how I imagine the circular economy.
The circular economy can sometimes seem confusing. But it’s simple. Think of how Mother Nature does it, she’s the circular economy master. When a tree falls over and decomposes, every part of that tree is put to good use feeding the forest floor and enriching all biodiversity, soil, slugs, fungi and fauna included.
The original documentary Frontline Fashion was seen by millions but this year’s TV special edition is set to broadcast the competition and its aims even further afield. Bel Jacobs reports.
In 2005, Dame Ellen McArthur became the fastest solo sailor to circumnavigate the globe. During her journey, she realised just how important her resources were to survival: “Suddenly I realised our global economy is no different,” she told sustainable consultants McKinsey.
Today, Dame Ellen is one of the world’s most high profile proponents of a circular economy, in which waste is no longer discarded but becomes, instead, another precious resource.
The discussion around the principles and practices of the circular economy is growing - precisely the principles on which Redress has been working since its foundation in 2007. Through the EcoChic Design Award, Redress has reached thousands of emerging fashion designers, raising the awareness of sustainable alternatives in the industry.
First prizewinner of the Redress Design Award 2017 (formerly the EcoChic Design Award), Kate Morris’ sustainable knitwear Pop Collection launches with The R Collective, the pioneering up-cycled fashion brand and social impact business. Born from NGO Redress, The R Collective is determined to change wasteful practices in the fashion industry. Kate’s playful, pop-art inspired limited collection consists of 8 knitwear styles, including reversible coatigans, sweaters and turtle necks, all of which were created by up-cycling luxury yarn waste in a design collaboration with knitwear brand, 22 Factor.
We all know someone like my friend Grace. She’s fair and focused and her actions are laden with her genuine personal values in which honesty, kindness and generally ‘doing the right thing’ rule supreme, even after a slog of a week, bad PMT or if her boss or boyfriend (or both) are getting her down. She’s insightful about most things - from the healthiest food, fashion to fitness and she’s always got something to say about feminism - and this all makes her so damned attractive (on the inside and outside) that people can’t help but be drawn to her - perhaps hoping that her original and authentic personality is contagious and that some of it will rub off on us. Quite honestly, we’d all like to be more like Grace.
We celebrated the launch of the eighth cycle of our flagship programme, the Redress Design Award (formerly the EcoChic Design Award) – the world’s largest sustainable fashion design competition - with an event underpinning our mission at Eaton House in Hong Kong on January 19th. A panel of industry experts reflected on the current state of sustainable fashion and why 2018 represents a critical tipping point for consumers, designers and brands to incorporate sustainability across the supply chain. We also heard from Redress Design Award Alumni designer Victor Chu on his experiences participating in the competition and his latest design collaboration with new up-cycling brand, The R Collective, which was on display.
It’s not everyday that you have an ethical fashion and style epiphany whilst standing on top of a filthy Hong Kong landfill watching a queue of rubbish trucks dump their trash out. But this happened to me. This unlikely, and somewhat smelly, moment gave me such a seismic wake up call about my relationship with my clothes and how much rubbish I created that my entire appreciation of fashion was whiplashed into radical change. In that moment, with countless birds flying afoot and swooping down to eat scraps, I became an ethical fashion consumer and I committed to only wearing secondhand, vintage, upcycled or recycled clothes for the rest of my days. I have never looked back, or looked or felt better, since.
Few fibres tick as many eco-boxes as Lyocell. Made from wood cellulose, production is clean and resource-efficient; and the product Lyocell itself, recyclable and biodegradable. Now, in a leap towards circular practices in textiles, the world’s leading producer Lenzing, introduces Refibra™, fibres made from cotton scraps. With almost 15% of fabric typically ending up on cutting room floors, closing the loop is most certainly music to our ears.
Read about more industry innovations in our magazine.
When it comes to writing about fashion, I’m probably not your typical columnist. I’m an ex-dentist (I’ve drilled and filled my way through London’s well-heeled Harley Street jet setters before moving to Hong Kong 11 years ago) and an ex-journalist (I’ve written about anything from the state of my sex life at eight months of pregnancy to how to spend the entire weekend naked in Tokyo). When not authoring carnally focussed articles, I’ve also written extensively about environmental matters; from China’s rampant environmental crisis to the appalling eco-footprint that the fashion and textile industry is tramping across the planet. Naturally, it was this line of journalism that led me 10 years ago to start Redress, a Hong Kong-based NGO with a mission to reduce waste in the fashion industry. I’ve never looked back.
I’ve just recovered from my December’s whistle-stop travel schedule. This saw me brave the snow as New York’s twinkling Christmas lights winked at Christmas shoppers; cut through Hong Kong’s haze whilst being lured by exuberant mall displays that look more Hollywood than Hong Kong: to cozying up by warm pub fires in Britain oldest villages, where short days and long nights put you in the festive spirit. And I assure you; the party season is here. From the city to the country, whether you’re in the mood for it or not, the world is calling out for celebrations, from office parties, Christmas, New Year’s eve, family occasions to Chinese New Year.
After seven highly successful years, we are rebranding the EcoChic Design Award to the Redress Design Award. This exciting move coincides with the cycle becoming truly global in 2018 and will further align the competition with Redress and our overarching vision to reduce waste and fuel a new circular system for fashion.
We're leading the charge in helping the Hong Kong public rethink their wardrobe waste. In partnership with laundry experts, Miele, 4.5 tonnes of clothing were collected this week after a short citywide campaign proving that consumers have no desire to throw away their unwanted clothing – of which almost 100% can be recycled. Engaging consumers on the value of keeping clothing in action for longer through better care, the clothing drive is part of our mission to expand our work to save more clothing from landfills.
25,000+ people reached through our educational materials, 1,700 witnessed our Grand Final live, 139 sponsors and supporting partners – these are just a few highlights from our last EcoChic Design Award cycle – and we want you to be a part of the action! We’re looking for passionate individuals to join our growing Hong Kong team! Find out about our available roles here and don't forget to share this link with your friends! In the meantime the team are gearing up for the next cycle launch in January 2018 when we will be accepting applications globally for the first time ever - watch this space!