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Contest invites sustainable fashion designs from the world

By Xu Junqian in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-03 11:07

Sustainable fashion design competition Ecochic Design Award 2013 kicked off in Shanghai on May 24.

In its fourth cycle this year, the competition is expanding its search for creative design talents from eight countries and regions to "further ignite positive change" in what's believed to be one of the world's most polluting industries.

"Sustainability in the fashion industry is an over-discussed but under-actioned issue," says Christina Dean, CEO and founder of the NGO Redress, Hong Kong, the initiator of the competition.

Founded in 2007, Redress is an organization with a mission to promote environmental sustainability in the fashion industry by reducing textile waste, pollution, water and energy consumption. In 2010, the organization launched the award in Hong Kong and later expanded it into Chinese mainland with growing popularity.

"Not enough focus is being put on reducing waste. We must crack the industry's problem of excessive waste production and lost economic value," Dean says.

It is estimated that today's global fashion industry is worth $500 billion. Every year, 80 billion garments are produced, the equivalent of about 11 new garments a year for every person on the planet, according to Greenpeace.

Meanwhile, statistics from World Bank showed that 17 to 20 percent of industrial water pollution comes from textile dyeing and treatment. A single pair of jeans, for example, could cost about 3,000 liters of water for growing the cottons needed, washing the jeans and the manufacturing.

Dean says she expects the competition to educate and enable emerging designers and students to minimize wastage and utilize textile wastes in their competition outfits, and hopefully, future works. Designers are challenged to use sustainable design techniques - zero-waste, up-cycling and reconstruction.

Designers from China, Singapore, United Kingdom, France, Belgium and Germany are invited to send in their application from now until Aug 15, 2013.

Eight finalists will be invited to Hong Kong for a two-day seminar and present their creation at Hong Kong Fashion Week in January 2014. The first winner will also be asked to design a textile recycled collection for Esprit.

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