Tess Whitfort wins the Redress Design Award 2018
Following a global search for talent, the world’s largest sustainable fashion design competition culminated in a live Grand Final runway show last night in Hong Kong. Organised by Redress, a pioneering environmental charity working to cut waste out of fashion, the Redress Design Award has grown from strength to strength since its inception in 2011. With major sponsorship from Create HK the competition puts Hong Kong firmly on the map as a sustainable fashion hub whilst proving that waste can be a creative goldmine.
As fashion’s staggering excesses and polluting ways increasingly hit the headlines, these 11 young designers skillfully demonstrated that textile waste is an opportunity not to be missed. Their incredible array of collections based entirely from waste, including secondhand clothing industry surplus, vintage kimonos, umbrellas, sofa fabric and furniture offcuts (transformed to bark lace), impressed the 1000 strong audience of industry elites, influencers and VIPs with a transformational vision of beauty and exponential possibility.
Tess Whitfort won First Prize with her bold, punk inspired collection made from up-cycled industry end-of-rolls and designed with complex zero-waste patterns.
Christina Dean, Founder and Board Chair of Redress and Co-Founder of The R Collective said, “The scale of textile waste across the fashion value chain is staggering…an estimated 92 million tonnes of textile waste is now generated each year. These visionary young designers represent the future of the industry where waste continues to grow as a valuable resource for the industry to embrace rather than hide away as a dirty secret. That future is now and it’s time to embed this new model for design as standard.”
Hailing from Hong Kong, India, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Israel, Denmark, Australia, France, Spain and the UK, the finalists stayed in the lap of luxury at Hong Kong’s newest destination hotel, Hotel VIC, and took part in an intensive 9 day educational bootcamp in the lead up to the Grand Final held at HKTDC’s CENTRESTAGE. Guided by Redress’ Education team, the finalists experienced the in’s and out’s of the supply chain first hand – testing waste fabrics in a state of the art laboratory; staying in dormitories at the TAA’s manufacturing facility alongside garment workers; and learning insider insights from industry professionals as they worked to identify how designers can transform the environmental impact of clothing at every stage of its lifecycle.
Tess will now join The R Collective, a bold new social impact business, to design a capsule collection for retail. With previous collections stocked in Lane Crawford, Hong Kong and Barney’s New York, The R Collective offers a unique springboard to further develop a holistic business experience across all areas from design to marketing in the world of sustainable fashion – a world that is rapidly becoming more mainstream.
Competition judge Roger Lee, CEO of TAL Group said, “I’m pleased to see the growing number of creative talents from around the world who realise that they have the power to make a positive difference to the environment through their designs and through textile waste innovations”.
The amount of clothing produced globally now exceeds 100 billion garments and out of the 53 million tones of material used for clothing production every year, 87% is landfilled or incinerated after its final use. As the world wakes up to the scale of our waste problem, the Redress Design Award represents a shining light of creativity and ingenuity amidst the backdrop of a global environmental crisis. After use, less than 1 percent of material used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothing. This take-make-dispose model leads to an economic value loss of over $500 billion per year. Putting this research into practice, the Redress Design Award finalists are proving that we already have the solutions quite literally at our feet.
Other major prizes awarded include:
The Redress Design Award 2018 Second Prize with Orsola de Castro: Jesse Lee, Hong Kong
The Redress Design Award 2018 Hong Kong Best Prize Winner: Jesse Lee, Hong Kong
The Redress Design Award 2018 Special Prize with Cara G Winner: Sarah Jane Fergusson, Japan
The Redress Design Award 2018 Alumni Prize with kapok Winner: Claire Dartigues, France
The 11 finalists join a talent pool of 157 alumni designers (including 32 emerging brands) from previous competitions, who are leading the charge to put waste at the forefront of design. With major sponsorship from Create HK The Redress Design Award 2019 will open in early January, building on the momentum for change across the fashion industry.
McKinsey & Company (2016), Style that’s sustainable: A new fast-fashion formula
 Ellen Macarthur Foundation (2017), A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning Fashion's Future
 Business of Fashion (2017), The State of Fashion 2018