Edinburgh College of Art graduate Maddie Williams took home First Prize in the Redress Design Award 2019.
Environmental charity, Redress presented the finale of The Redress Design Award 2019 (the world’s largest sustainable fashion design competition)where Maddie Williams from the UK won first prize and with this, the opportunity to create an up-cycled retail collection for sustainable fashion brand REVERB, under the JNBY Group, one of Mainland China’s largest fashion houses. Focusing on Redress’ mission to reduce waste in fashion, the high-spectacle event, attended by 1,000 fashion VIPs and industry experts, served to spotlight the critical need to educate designers to address the global textile waste crisis.
Winning designer Maddie Williams applies up-cycling and reconstruction techniques to reclaimed textiles, yarns and secondhand clothing, weaving them into zero-waste pieces that she constructs into her garments. Maddie draws on the vast loss of biodiversity, planetary health and our humanity in her winning collection. “Taking my catwalk competition collection into a commercial up-cycled collection will be a steep learning curve and I’ll be trying my best to keep sustainable, circular principles at the core of what I do! This is our time to tackle the environmental problems that we have inherited – we won’t get another chance!”
Now in its 9th cycle, the Redress competition aims to celebrate the work of sustainable designers and address the growing textile waste issue. According to the charity, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned globally every second, a practice that needs to stop if the fashion industry wants to be more sustainable.
“Curbing waste and carbon is critical. Waste is an urgent concern, especially in Asia, which is home to one of the fastest growing fashion consumer markets and where 50 percent of the world’s clothes are made. Redress is uniquely positioned to galvanise change and to inform the public about the dire need to make drastic changes in the fashion industry,” said Christina Dean, Redress Founder and Board Chair.
Redress focuses on educating designers because 80 percent of a product’s environmental impact is laid down at the design stage.4 This ninth competition cycle, with Create Hong Kong (CreateHK) of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region as the Lead Sponsor, attracted hundreds of applications from designers in 43 countries and builds upon Redress’ 120 global fashion university partnerships, and 186 Alumni designers from 27 countries, of which 50 have launched their sustainable brands. Redress’ work continues to cement Hong Kong’s leading position in driving sustainability in fashion.
This year’s finalists, from Hong Kong, India, Australia, Canada, UK, Israel, Spain and Germany, created collections using sustainable and circular design techniques, up-cycling widely-available waste materials, from unwanted workers’ uniforms and saris to defective camping gear and bedsheets. With a new educational focus on innovation in raw materials, the finalists also incorporated sustainable fabrics from Eastman Naia™ into their Grand Final collections.
Joining Lauterbach on the international judging panel were Ruth Farrell (Global Marketing Director, Textiles, Eastman), Leaf Greener (Fashion Journalist), Orsola de Castro ( Co-Founder of Estethica and Co-Founder of Fashion Revolution ), Denise Ho (Fashion Director, The R Collective),Roger Lee (CEO, TAL Group) and Clare Press (Podcaster and Sustainability Editor-at-Large, Vogue Australia).
“As an ‘Innofacturer’, TAL believes that innovation is key to the future of fashion,” said Lee. “This competition offers next-generation designers the opportunity to develop a deep understanding of the environmental impact of the fashion supply chain and provides a platform to devise new sustainable models for the industry. Only through collaborations such as this can we collectively solve the issues facing fashion today.”
The finalists visited Hong Kong for 10 days leading up to the Grand Final, during which they were immersed in the fashion supply chain to examine potential disruption points and learn about new innovations from TAL Apparel’s manufacturing expertise and VF Corporation, one of the world’s largest fashion businesses with socially and environmentally responsible operations, to The Mills, Hong Kong’s business incubator for techstyle startups, experiential retail and non-profit cultural institution . Highlights of the trip included the Fashion Summit, Asia’s leading sustainable fashion event, co-organised by Redress, which saw several key businesses (including TAL Apparel) sign the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Chang e Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action.
Other major prizes were awarded at the Grand Final Show, including The Redress Design Award 2019 Runner-up Prize with Orsola de Castro, which was taken home by Carina Roca Portella from Spain; Hong Kong Best Prize Winner which went to Keith Chan; the People’s Choice Prize, which went to Israel’s Moriah Ardila; and the Alumni Prize with Vancouver Fashion Week and Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong, which was nabbed by Germany’s Julia Tolita Pagenkopf, who was a Semi-Finalist in this cycle.
With an action-packed agenda, the entire experience was captured for Frontline Fashion 4, Redress’ documentary series hosted by celebrity Cara G McIlroy, to bring Redress’ work to broader audiences and incite positive change in consumer behaviour. After long days and challenges, the finalists retreated to the Kerry Hotel to finesse their Grand Final collections, which will be on display in the lobby from 9-15 September 2019.
The 10 th cycle of The Redress Design Award competition opens in January 2020. Further details to be announced- www.redressdesignaward.com