The fabulous world of fashion usually revolves around staying ‘on-trend’ with the latest styles and away from the dreaded humdrum of hand-me-downs. But what if you had the vision and skills to create something truly chic and unique out of the odds and ends languishing in your closet? Enter the EcoChic Design Awards, where sustainability and style take to the catwalk hand-in-hand.
The eight international finalists of the 2013 Ecochic Design Awards have been trawling the world’s thrifts stores and raiding the closets of family and friends in a bid to claim the crown at the Grand Final at HKTDC Hong Kong Fashion Week on January 15th. As the world’s the first international sustainable fashion design competition, the HKSAR government-sponsored awards aim to educate and enable emerging designers to create mainstream clothing with minimal textile waste.
Top industry judges will pick their three favourite sustainable collections, with the winning designers receiving career-changing prizes from Esprit, John Hardy and Elle. As they put thimble to finger and make their final stitches, we take a look at the finalists and their out-of-the-drawer designs.
Hong Kong graphic designer Alex comes to the competition with one simple goal: to recycle an item of clothing that everyone has but that causes many environmental problems. What is he talking about? Denim. That’s right, Alex will be tackling the dirty secret behind jeans by combining zero-waste, up-cycling and reconstruction design techniques.
Whoever said trousers had to be worn on your legs? Beijing fashion student Xinyan’s designs revolve around combining her friend’s second-hand clothing with textile waste from her own productions and turning them into something new. After all, beauty has no age restrictions, right?
Giving an old garment a new life is an obvious sustainable fashion solution, but how about keeping an element of the past in that new life? Tsung-Chin is on a mission to extend the bond between people and their old clothes by customising their castoffs to make them even more unique the second time round.
Phee Ng, Swee Yee
Sinagpore’s Phee Ng, Swee Yee has focused on reusing and recycling to create everyday fashion that doesn’t compromise on design. She has used discarded clothing and scraps from her own production to create an elegant collection of evening dresses.
Apprentice tailor Catherine is keen to make her mark on the world of sustainable fashion. While her collection is hardly Matrix-esque, her geometric zeo-waste pieces employ layers and undefined outlines to fully utilise new textiles to futuristic effect.
If the little mermaid was your favourite Disney princess, you’ll love Clémentine Sander’s EcoChic collection. She has taken sustainable fashion under the sea, using corals and stones as the inspiration behind her delicately colourful designs. But of course, let’s not forget that all this loveliness comes from leftover fabrics and secondhand gems sourced from charity stores in France.
Louise de Testa
As Louise works on her own label, she brings the insights she gained on previous internships at Vivienne Westwood, Alexander Wang and US Vogue to the EcoChic Awards. Blending scrap fabric with French flea market favourites to create a casual up-cycled collection, this young designer insists that sustainability is the future of long-lasting fashion.
If you’ve cleaned out your closet recently, you probably noticed an abundance of t-shirts and jeans. But they don’t always have to be cast aside and replaced according to Karen Jessen, who has transformed both into incredibly intricate creations for her EcoChic collection.
What: The EcoChic Awards 2013 Grand Finals
When: January 15th, 8pm
Where: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai
Info: Visit the EcoChic Design Awards website