Six Inspiring Projects for Sustainable Fashion
6 Inspiring Projects for Sustainable Fashion Designers
on January 15th, 2015, by Feiya Zhang, via GoodOnYou
In today’s fast fashion world, being a sustainable fashion designer is a challenge. The competition is fierce as designers and retailers compete for the attention of fickle consumers hungry for the latest trends at the cheapest price.
But the tide is turning, as customers and designers alike become more aware of their ethical and environmental footprints. Both parties are looking for clothes that are produced with a social and environmental conscience.
And it’s often the small fashion brands leading the way in ethical design. And there is support around the world to promote and support these sustainable designers.
Here are six great initiatives taking place around the world to promote ethical and eco-friendly fashion.
1. Clean Cut
Clean Cut aims to connect Australia to the global ethical and sustainable fashion movement, as well as growing awareness in Australia for designs that not only look good, but are environmentally sustainable and socially aware. The team at Clean cut support the Australia fashion industry through supply chain transparency, fair-working conditions and sustainable materials. By providing industry expertise and resources to consumers and designers, Clean Cut helps Australia make informed fashion choices.
An Australian-based fashion organization, Undress Runways are promoting fashion shows with sustainable and ethical collections from established and emerging designers. With runway shows in Brisbane, Melbourne and the Gold Coast, Undress Runways is on a mission to make sustainable fashion a consumer default by shining the spotlight on ‘no waste’ collections, ethically produced, ‘food dyed’ garments and recycled off-cuts.
Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA) was founded in the 1990s as an industry-union initiative in response to the exploitation of homeworkers. ECA protects workers in Australia in the textiles, clothing and footwear sector from mistreatment and underpayment. The organization also has its own accreditation and labeling program. ECA accredited manufacturers are able to use the ECA label on their Australian-made garments, making it easier for fashion consumers to recognize clothing made with ethical standards. Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, funding to ECA from the Federal Government has halted. Hopefully, this will be just a temporary setback for ECA as it looks elsewhere for funds.
In New York, the Council of Fashion Designers America and Lexus Eco-Fashion challenge recognizes and promotes socially conscious sustainable fashion designers.The award provides a prestigious financial platform, with the winner receiving the prize of $75,000. Designers are judged on their dedication to ecologically responsible design and production, ability to inspire an eco-attitude in consumers and the community, and the presence of eco fabrics and materials. The 2014 CFDA/Lexus Eco-Fashion winner was Brooklyn-based K/ller Collection who specialise in recycled metals. Runners-up were Study NY, a women’s fashion brand based in New York and and LA’sReformation lifestyle brand.
The International Fashion Showcase (IFS), launched in 2012 by the British Council and the British Fashion Council, promotes international fashion and emerging talent.
The IFS is a monumental opportunity for young designers to showcase their works to the public, the international press, potential buyers and established designers from around the world. In 2014, the Manila Wear exhibit from the Philippines made headlines in the press due to the designers’ incorporation of indigenous sustainable materials in their works. Even more encouragingly, each designer is in a partnership with an NGO that puts profits back into the community or is working in collaboration with local craft workers and textile suppliers. These designers don’t see themselves as just fashion designers. They are “social designers” and “educators” with the ability to teach people skills that supports local communities whilst building up an international brand.
In 2014 Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) announced they would launch a new fund to reduce textile waste by encouraging Scottish fashion designers to create clothing and apparel ranges through sustainable design methods. According to ZWS, clothing accounts for more than one million tonnes of wasted materials in the UK. The fund will give Scottish sustainable fashion designers the opportunity to apply for up to $9,000 in financial support to come up with solutions to create a circular textile economy in which fabric is consistently reused rather than wasted.
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