Emerging Fashion Designers Activate Local Circular Economies as Global Competition Fights Textile Waste
Redress, the world-leading NGO working to reduce fashion’s waste, announces the winners of the Redress Design Award 2021, the world’s largest sustainable fashion design competition that urgently seeks to catalyse multiple micro-circular economies around the world to reduce fashion’s negative environmental impacts, following the Grand Final fashion show that featured real and virtual models that took place in Hong Kong on 11 September. The Redress Design Award 2021 is supported by Create Hong Kong (CreateHK) of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region as the lead sponsor. Emerging designer Jessica Chang from Taiwan won First Prize securing an unparalleled sustainable design collaboration with global outdoor lifestyle leader, Timberland (a VF Corp brand).
“The Redress Design Award showcases what is possible when emerging designs are given an opportunity to innovate around sustainability. We believe fostering talent and innovation is both good for business and a necessity for the future for our planet,” said Sean Cady, Vice President, Global Sustainability and Responsibility, VF Corporation, who served as one of the judges. “Sustainable fashion and circular design align with our purpose of bettering both people and the planet. Watching our global teams embrace this sustainability competition to mentor the next generation of designers is incredibly rewarding.”
Redress’ mission is to reduce fashion’s waste and the competition’s core criteria is to source and design into various waste materials to activate circular fashion. Following the open call that drew applications from designers in 58 countries and regions, the resulting 10 finalists then sourced local waste – including end-of-roll, samples, secondhand clothing, school uniforms, boat covers, damaged camping equipment to place mats – to create their menswear and womenswear competition collections.
Redress’ Founder, Christina Dean said, “Fashion’s waste rates are unacceptable and change is not happening fast enough. Whilst recycling technology engineers search in labs for breakthrough recycling solutions and the finance community dither about financing much-needed recycling start-ups, Redress is increasingly promoting hyper-local waste sourcing solutions, spearheaded by fashion designers. Every textile deserves a second life.”
Every second, the equivalent of one rubbish truck of textiles is landfilled or incinerated globally, and textile waste is estimated to increase by 60% by 2030. Designers are said to influence around 80% of a product’s environmental impact, which is why education is core to each Redress Design Award cycle. As such, the finalists also took part in 10 days’ of digital immersive educational challenges and masterclasses in the lead up to the Grand Final fashion show, including the ‘Digital Zero-Waste Challenge with TAL Group and Browzwear’, and ‘Icebreaker Move to Natural Challenge’ in the lead up to the Grand Final.
WINNER JOINS TIMBERLAND FOR EXCLUSIVE COLLABORATION
The Redress Design Award 2021 First Prize Winner Jessica Chang whose winning collection wowed the judges due to its strong marketability, commerciality whilst bringing waste back into designs that connect with and inspire consumers, now joins Timberland’s team to collaborate on an exclusive sustainable design project, during which Jessica will also work closely with VF’s Sustainability and Responsibility team to gain valuable insights from across the supply chain, including responsible design and marketing.
“Winning this chance to work with Timberland is a life-changer for me,” said Jessica Chang. “Entering this complex industry as an emerging designer is daunting because, so often, everywhere we look we see bad news and complexity. We know we can bring change. Yet it is hard to magnify our big ideas as start-up designers. The Redress Design Award has given me confidence – we are all in this together to make a positive change!”
Victor Tsang, Head of CreateHK, shared his congratulations with the awardees. “The Redress Design Award has not only become an important brand in the sustainable fashion design community that recognises talented emerging fashion designers around the world, but is also an extensive educational platform that equips them with sustainable design theories and techniques”.
BUILDING ON THE COMPETITION’S LEGACY
Following this 11th competition cycle, all 2021 finalists and semi-finalists are welcomed into the Redress Design Award Alumni Network, which now includes over 200 talented designers globally, over 60 of whom have since started their own successful brands. These trailblazing designers continue to act as international ambassadors to promote the competition’s powerful legacy.
Redress, with the sponsorship of Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong, showcased six talented alumni sustainable fashion brands to global buyers and the fashion community at CENTRESTAGE, Asia’s Fashion Spotlight event, including two brands home grown in Hong Kong. In partnership with accessories brand, Kipling, two Redress Design Award Alumni are collaborating to upcycle deadstock fabrics back to life for commercial collections
CALL FOR CONSUMER ACTION
The Redress Design Award 2021 Grand Final was livestreamed, in partnership with TENCEL™, to global audiences with a specific call out to consumers to act now to transform fashion so as to signal stronger intent and demand to the industry. Consumer surveys consistently show that people are becoming more aware of fashion’s negative environmental impacts, particularly post-Covid. Key actions that Redress is promoting are; ‘Shop Better’ – look for sustainable designers, sustainable collections or secondhand clothing – and ‘Wear Longer’ – to keep clothing in use.
FULL LIST OF REDRESS DESIGN AWARD 2021 CYCLE WINNERS
- Redress Design Award 2021 First Prize with Timberland Winner: Jessica Chang (Taiwan)
- Redress Design Award 2021 Runner-Up Prize Mentorship with Orsola De Castro Winner: Jin Pei-Wen (Taiwan)
- Redress Design Award 2021 Hong Kong Best Prize Winner: Lau Sin Yi (Hong Kong)
- Redress Design Award 2021 People’s Choice Winner: Tulika Ranjan (India)
- Redress Design Award 2021 Alumni Prize with Kipling Winners: Beatrice Bocconi (Italy – Redress Design Award 2020 Finalist); and Grace Lant (Hong Kong – Redress Design Award 2020 Finalist and Hong Kong Best Prize Winner)