Back on the frontline
Entering the Redress Design Award is an exciting and formative experience for any emerging designer. But reaching the finals – and coming to Hong Kong for their whirlwind exploration of the local and lively sustainability scene - is another thing altogether, which Redress captures on film in our Frontline Fashion documentary series.
Frontline Fashion shows the world what it is really like for our finalists as they battle not just to win the competition but also to prove that fashion can come with heart and soul.
With Frontline Fashion Season 3 now underway, we reflect on Season 2, illustrating the 2017 finalists’ powerful and personal journeys during the competition’s final stages, where the Grand Final runway show became their home-straight to victory. This one-hour documentary, which debuted on AETN’s Lifetime Asia TV channel, also gave our global audiences a lens into the finalists’ design challenges, while giving the finalists an opportunity to show off their design cachet, together with their creative capacity to transform the industry.
The finalists were first challenged to turn dumped clothes, which Hong Kongers had tossed into bins, into red carpet-worthy outfits for their muses, Actress and former Miss Hong Kong Kate Tsui and entrepreneur Kayla Wong. Proving riveting TV, as the designers rifled through the clothing cast-offs a shocking amount of high-fashion, high-price and high-quality pieces tumbled out of stuffed bags, serving as reminders of consumers’ high waste rates.
“There were garments in the dumped bags that were never even worn,” said Dutch designer, Joëlle van de Pavert. “It’s surprising to see what people throw away.”
Next up, the finalists were transported to a whole new world at sustainable manufacturer, TAL Apparel’s Guangdong factory. It was an eye-opening experience, with many finalists having never even set foot inside a factory. Behind this one factory’s closed doors, where around 23,000 garments are made daily, the finalists learnt how efficient pattern-cutting can drastically reduce textile waste, particularly at such mammoth scale.
“I’d never thought how such small things can change things on a large scale,” added Israeli, Lia Kassif when speaking of the vast fabric savings that can be achieved by optimising patterns.
Away from the adrenaline-fuelled design challenges in each cycle, Frontline Fashion gives context to each cycle’s talented finalists’ backgrounds. We visit the homes of the designers, whether in New York, London or Hong Kong, to get a truer sense of what inspires them. We also take our audiences backstage on the finalists’ nailbiting judging process, where they meet head-to-head with industry bigwigs, including Fashion Revolution Co-Founder, Orsola de Castro, Designer Johanna Ho and Lane Crawford’s Chief Brand Officer, Joanna Gunn.
Frontline Fashion makes sustainability accessible for consumers by creating a tangible bridge into what’s happening within the industry. “No one wants to be preached to about their closets. Instead, Frontline Fashion helps to intrigue mainstream audiences and inspire a love of fashion. If people can fall in love with the creativity of fashion, then ultimately they will also dress more sustainably,” said Redress Founder, Christina Dean.
This article originally appeared in the Redress Design Award 2018 Magazine.