Environmental charity Redress concluded the Redress Design Award 2020 Grand Final of the world’s largest sustainable fashion design competition with menswear designer Le Ngoc Ha Thu from Vietnam and womenswear designer Juliana Garcia Bello of Argentina winning significant sustainable design collaboration prizes with global leaders, VF Corporation’s Timberland and award-winning upcycled brand, The R Collective respectively. Redress’ 10th anniversary competition cycle, with lead sponsorship from Create Hong Kong of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, catapults bold new sustainable fashion talent into the spotlight as fashion’s waste crisis mounts due to Covid-19.
“Fashion’s waste crisis can’t be swept under the carpet any longer,” says Christina Dean, Founder of Redress and The R Collective. “Covid-19’s retail and supply chain disruptions have stranded materials in warehouses, factories and stores globally. Now is the time to catalyse the circular economy – and this is Redress’ focus. The Redress Design Award has for 10 years educated designers about circular design. The industry must not waste the opportunities that Covid-19’s crisis is offering.”
The two winners out-designed hundreds of applicants from 48 countries. Menswear winner Le Ngoc Ha Thu shared, “These last few weeks with the Redress Design Award has been such a nourishing and beneficial experience and joining the Timberland and VF teams is going to be an honour. They are such an amazing brand when it comes to sustainability – I am ready to learn everything I can from them.”
“I have learned so much during my participation in the Redress Design Award and have definitely come out of this with a reinforced feeling that collaboration is the key. We designers need to share our strengths and be inspired by each other to keep finding solutions to the mounting levels of textile waste,” womenswear winner Juliana Garcia Bello added.
Victor Tsang, Head of CreateHK, shared his congratulations to the awardees of the competition, “The Redress Design Award has established as a recognised brand in the sustainable fashion design community over the past years by educating emerging fashion designers in order to drive growth towards a circular fashion system”.
Fast tracking solutions
In the two weeks leading up to the live Grand Final, the 10 finalists, from 10 regions, successfully completed a gruelling series of virtual design and business challenges, which focused on real life sustainability business cases with a spotlight on Covid-19 impacted waste, supported by VF Corporation and TAL Group, makers of one in six dress shirts in the US. The ‘Digital Up-cycling Challenge’ saw the finalists using Browzwear digital design and sampling software to create up-cycled concepts to turn TAL’s Covid-19-impacted deadstock garment waste into new products for retail. The ‘Made for Change Timberland Challenge’ saw the finalists develop sustainable and scalable business concepts, focusing on responsible design and re-manufacturing fabric deadstock.
“Our collaboration with Redress, now in its second year, connects us to talented, emerging designers who are passionate about creating fashionable, compelling designs with environmental responsibility in mind,” said competition judge Kevin Bailey, VF’s Executive Vice President and Group President, Asia Pacific Region and Emerging Brands. “We are constantly inspired by their commitment to circular design and creativity. These are the future leaders who are going to help drive lasting and positive change throughout our global industry and we are proud to be part of their journey.
Education forms the Redress Design Award’s core with sustainable and circular design content delivered to more than 50,000 designers since the inaugural cycle through in-person lectures and academies, and online materials available in a combination of English, Chinese, and French. The competition has the support of 140+ universities worldwide.
Celebrating a decade of impact
To mark Redress’ decade of impact, the Grand Final also celebrated the Redress Design Award 2020 Alumni All Stars. This accolade was awarded to highest-achieving competition alumni, who were shortlisted from over 200 designers from 37 regions. Pat Guzik (Poland) and Annaiss Yukra (Peru) were awarded the All Star Prize, each receiving a retail partnership for their brands with sustainable marketplace, Staiy, and all seven All Star Alumni were awarded a significant showcase at Galeries Lafayette Shanghai forming part of the ‘Fashioning Change, Today and Tomorrow’ campaign and gaining brand promotion within China’s fast-growing fashion market.
Urgent need to find solutions for worsening waste crisis
Fashion’s waste is a significant challenge. The industry is estimated to generate 92 million tons of textile waste annually worldwide . Covid-19 is set to increase this; 60% of textile and clothing companies expect their sales to 1 drop by half in the short term and with this deadstock and cancelled orders. The Redress Design Award 2020 2 finalists’ collections demonstrate numerous solutions to reduce waste throughout the entire fashion supply chain and also across industries. The appetite for change and collaboration has never been greater.
The Redress Design Award 2020 Prizewinners are:
● The Redress Design Award 2020 Womenswear Prize with The R Collective: Juliana Garcia Bello, Argentina
● The Redress Design Award 2020 Menswear Prize with VF Corporation and Timberland: Le Ngoc Ha Thu, Vietnam
● The Redress Design Award 2020 Runner-up Prize with Orsola de Castro: Ruth Weerasinghe, Sri Lanka
● The Redress Design Award 2020 Hong Kong Best Prize Winner: Grace Lant, Hong Kong