Designing for the future I
The number of fashion brands operating sustainably is on the rise, as understanding of the ethical, environmental and waste issues facing the industry deepens. The 157 alumni of the Redress Design Award are at the forefront of this pioneering movement. Representing 24 countries and over 32 emerging brands - with 36 alumni coming from Redress’ home turf in Hong Kong - the learning and inspiration acquired by these designers is being applied in imaginative, innovative ways across the globe, changing the face of fashion forever.
Life has moved quickly for Kate Morris since winning the Redress Design Award 2017 First Prize with her fun, food and pop-art inspired cruelty-free knitwear. Her vegan label CROP, which uses plant fibres such as organic cotton, was recognised as ‘Best Wool-Free Brand’ in the 2017 PETA Fashion Awards. Zero-waste and minimal seam production techniques characterise the work, and a preference for mono-materials rather than blends means that after use recycling is more straightforward. Care labels integrated into the knitwear highlight the item’s story and low impact origins.
Kate has since returned to Hong Kong to claim her prize - creating her capsule knitwear collection for Hong Kong up-cycled luxury brand, The R Collective. “My journey into fashion has been led by the desire to create functional items of beauty that can contribute to changing behaviour and attitudes towards fast fashion,” says Kate. “For me, sustainable fashion is about each part of the supply chain working together, starting with the designer, to make informed decisions that will have minimum impact on the planet and its people.”
THE SUSTAINABLE SEQUIN COMPANY
Few people realise that sequins are often made from virgin plastics, including PVC. To answer this problem, semi-finalist of the Redress Design Award 2017 Rachel Clowes launched The Sustainable Sequin Company, offering colourful alternatives made from recycled PET plastic. Alongside the standard range, Rachel focuses on small productions, working with designers to create custom shapes to prevent excess and waste. Biodegradable sequins are currently in development with plans to launch in 2019. Her hard work is paying off - her sequins have already adorned collections by Arizona Muse x Georgie MacIntyre and Gucci.
Finalist of the Redress Design Award 2017, Parsons School of Design graduate Claire Dartigues launched her eponymous brand the same year, using up-cycled materials and zero-waste patterns to construct unique womenswear for the brand’s three lines. Multi-functional and reversible pieces feature heavily in the collections. This year, a collaboration with Vent de Voyage, a Brittany based brand that up-cycles boat sails into bags, produced a dramatic cape/bag.
The career of 2014/15 Redress Design Award Winner Kévin Germanier goes from strength to strength, proving that sustainable fashion can be gloriously beautiful and extravagant. After collaborating with Shanghai Tang and The R Collective - and completing his BA at Central Saint Martins – earlier this year Kévin left his role as junior designer for Louis Vuitton to launch his own namesake brand, Germanier.
Debuting at Paris Fashion Week in early 2018, the collection, which melds up-cycled materials including broken, imperfect beads applied in a silicon embroidery technique, was snapped up exclusively by matchesfashion.com to be online in late 2018. Germanier’s glittering, sculptural, glamorous work has been sported by Björk and Lady Gaga, both performers known for a passion for experimental style. Profiles by both Vogue and The Business of Fashion take Kévin’s passionate belief in power and possibilities of sustainable fashion into new arenas. Since launching his brand Kévin has been a finalist in both the H&M Design Award along with the prestigious ANDAM Prize.
Enugo, brainchild of Redress Design Award 2017 semi-finalist Natalia Golec, specialises in up-cycled and zero-waste women’s shirts and suits with a twist on classics through multi-layered, asymmetrical collections. Natalia also strives to keep production local in Polish Pomerania, allowing her to ensure the workers are fairly compensated.
UNDER THY SKIN
2017 semi-finalist Neri De Meester balances working as a vegan chef with managing her own sustainable lingerie label ‘Under Thy Skin’. Her collections, made of up-cycled end-of-stock and recycled materials, are designed and handmade in Belgium in limited quantities. Plans to create a line of sustainable swimwear are in the pipeline.
Candle Ray Torreverde was Runner-up in the Redress Design Award 2017. The same year, he founded his sustainable brand, CANDLE RAY, with a debut at Manila Fashion Festival, showcasing his signature modern architecture-influenced designs. Made-to-order pieces are made from up-cycled and reconstructed materials and incorporate zero-waste design methods.
This article originally appeared in the Redress Design Award 2018 Magazine.