China EcoChic Fashion

Shanghai Fashion Week launched The EcoChic Design Award China 2012 to inspire China’s emerging designers to make clothing with minimal environmental impact. This event was inspired a jaw dropping statistic: In 2010, 234 tons of textiles ended up in Hong Kong’s landfills.

This marks China‘s first attempt to inhibit text waste by forming a fashion design competition. The mission, as stated on their website, is clear:

The EcoChic Design Award is a sustainable fashion design competition inspiring Asia’s emerging fashion designers to create mass-market clothing with minimal textile waste. Designers are educated with the theory and techniques to enable them to create desirable sustainable clothing via reconstruction, up-cycling and zero waste design techniques. The competition puts Asia’s emerging sustainable design talent in the spotlight, creating a platform for the next generation of designers to break the boundaries of conventional fashion forever.

The competition was produced and launched by the NGO Redress, who supports sustainable fashion and have been educating Chinese fashion designers to create more sustainable fashion for China, as the country is the world’s largest garment and textile manufacturer.

“The fashion industry creates excessive amounts of waste that causes environmental pollution. With China manufacturing approximately 40 percent of the world’s textiles and 30 percent of the world’s apparel, these negative impacts are all too close to home,” said Dr. Christina Dean, founder of Redress.

All of the looks presented in the competition were created using textile waste and one or more of sustainable design techniques, such as zero-waste, up-cycling and reconstruction. Ten finalists competed in the Grand Final, where the emerging fashion designers showcased their designs to an audience of over 500 industry representatives.

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Two rounds of judging left designer Gong Jia Qi victorious. Qi, The EcoChic Design Award China 2012 winner, focused on reconstruction by creating new garments from previously owned clothes. Her reward for winning the competition is to design a collection for Espirit that will be retailed in China in 2013. Needless to say, the line must be sustainable and use recycled textiles only.

“I think sustainable fashion is something more than just the expression of beauty or satisfying consumer demand. It transforms design into a strategy that can help solve environmental problems,” says winner Gong Jia Qi.

Aside from promoting sustainable practices in the textile manufacturing filed and being better for the environment, this event can help induce positive changes in reusing garments. With so many people in the world without clothing, designing clothes from old clothing is a great way to help those in need.

Susmita is a writer and editor in the Greater New York City area. In her spare time, Susmita enjoys cooking, traveling, dappling in photography, art history and interior design, and moonlighting as a therapist for her loved ones.

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