Green is SO the new black
Here at Sassy HQ, we do our best to be mindful of the environment’s well being. So when we discovered the fashion industry is the world’s second largest polluter (coming in just after oil), we sat up and took notice. According to a study conducted by MIT, the global apparel industry produces more than 400 billion square meters of fabric per year; that’s nearly enough material to cover the whole state of California, annually.
Which is why we were honoured to attend (and support!) The Eco Chic Design Awards 2017, the world’s largest sustainable Fashion Design competition organised by Redress, an environmental NGO working to reduce waste in the Fashion Industry. The mission of the Eco Chic Design Awards is to create fashion using minimal textile waste. This is the seventh cycle of the competition and Redress received applications from 46 countries worldwide, out of which 10 finalists were selected. The contestants were educated about the fashion industry’s negative impacts and taught to incorporate sustainable fashion design techniques – such as zero-waste, upcycling and reconstruction – into their pieces. They were then challenged to source textile waste and create statement fashion pieces for the runway finale.
This year the Eco Chic Design awards was extra special because of the launch of BYT. A Redress baby, this affordable luxury fashion brand creates garments through upcycling waste. Founded by Michelle Bang, Redress’s former COO and a Chivas Regal Venture finalist, BYT uses social enterprise and is working with Asia’s largest sustainable manufacturers to create unique, stylish pieces. Slowly but surely the industry is changing, and sustainable fashion is becoming more accessible to consumers.
We absolutely loved all the pieces from the show. We definitely didn’t expect to see pieces that we would actually wear and, more importantly, we couldn’t believe it was all constructed from WASTE! Creativity beamed in every collection, but we could totally see why two special designers won first and second place.
Second prize went to Lia Kassif, an Israeli designer who upcycled and reconstructed old military uniforms and scraps from Israel’s bridal wear industry for her collection. Her message was to bring together the notion of love and war, and this could be clearly seen in her creations. First prize went to Kate Morris, a British designer who got her inspiration from Pop Art and 1960s psychedelia. Her collection included many variations and elements of knitwear using upcycled yarns.
These two talented designers won extremely special prizes; Kate Morris will have the opportunity to create a capsule collection with BYT. Her runway collection will also be showcased at Lane Crawford. Lia Kassif will receive a tailored mentorship with renowned designer Orsola De Castro. Kassif also won the special prize, which was to create a show-stopping outfit for Hong Kong based Indie singer Ellen Loo, to wear at a public event!! We are so exited to see where these career-changing prizes will take these talented ladies. (We’d even rock an outfit or two ourselves if we could!)
Apart from all the fun stuff, we love seeing a strong message of sustainability coming from the top, directly from renowned and emerging designers. It gives us hope that it will trickle down to consumers, and we can start to think twice about the environmental impacts of the ‘fast’ fashion industry and our buying habits. The collective effect can be massive, and we can all make a real difference in our world through the positive power of fashion. Ladies, green is SO the new black!!