In the past decade, China has become virtually synonymous with overconsumption, textile waste, air pollution and environmental decimation. In Hong Kong alone, textile waste accounts for more than 300 tons per day, which amounts to roughly 100 pieces per person per year, or one piece of clothing per week. This waste makes Hong Kong the ideal backdrop for the first annual Fashion Summit, the world’s largest industry-wide sustainable fashion event held in the textile manufacturing capital of the world. Timed in conjunction with the summit, the Eco Chic Design Award and competition has been underway for weeks to highlight a solution to the problem of global textile: upcycled fashion, made from recycled, repurposed or redesigned fabrics or existing garments.
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 this week at the EcoChic Design Award Grand final. British designer Kate Morris won first prize demonstrating the power of the circular economy, where nothing goes to waste.
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.
“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” said Kate.
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.”
The competition and grand finale runway show featured several other talented designers from around the world, including Sung Yi Hsuan (China), Lina Mayorga (USA), Claire Dartigues (USA), Lia Kassif (Israel), Sarah Devina Susanto (Indonesia) and Ayako Yoshida (Japan). The 10 EcoChic Design Award 2017 finalists arrived this month in Hong Kong for an eight-day journey of workshops filled with challenges, exploring issues of uniform waste, customers care and design to manufacturing.
Talented stylist Sean Kunjambu and internationally renowned photographer Wing Shya captured the mood of each of the EcoChic Design Award 2017 finalists’ unique waste reducing designs in a photoshoot to remember. From the offbeat and the eccentric to the overtly playful, the spotlight for the shoot was firmly focused on what can be achieved when you mix boundless creativity, genuine innovation as well as a fresh fight for change in fashion and on the planet with beautiful waste materials. Emphasizing the aims of the competition, the rich, intricate textures of the collections – which use the techniques of up-cycling, reconstruction and zero-waste design – are juxtaposed against everyday items that are often discarded too soon.
In order to demonstrate the detrimental effects of over consumerism and the scale of wastefulness, in Hong Kong and across the world, Sean Kunjambu, Hong Kong-based art director, curator and stylist extraordinaire served as the creative mastermind behind ‘Fresh Fight’ – the EcoChic Design Award 2017 fashion shoot. “I was really inspired by the innovative use of textile waste into fashion and wanted to use every day, disposable objects to strengthen the message and accessorize and bring out the different personalities of each design,” added Wing Shya, world renowned fashion photographer, artist and filmmaker. See for yourself – check out a few of the looks below:
Designer: Sung Yi Hsuan, China | Photo Credit: Wing Shya
Designer: Lina Mayorga, USA | Photo Credit: Wing Shya
Designer: Claire Dartigues, USA | Photo Credit: Wing Shya
Designer: Lia Kassif, Israel | Photo Credit: Wing Shya
Designer: Sarah Devina Susanto, Indonesia | Photo Credit: Wing Shya
Designer: Ayako Yoshida, Japan | Photo Credit: Wing Shya
Sean remarked, “The variety of textures created from multiple sources of clothing waste was beautiful. I was impressed by the uniqueness of this new group of talents when tasked with the job of transformation of what we consider trash.”