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!”
International judge Tillmann Lauterbach, Creative Director, REVERB of JNBY Group, said “REVERB is committed to making sustainable fashion go mainstream. Working with Maddie, we want to give consumers more access to desirable sustainable fashion, particularly in Asia, where waste is a tremendous issue that needs to be addressed immediately.”
Redress focuses on educating designers because 80 percent of a product’s environmental impact is laid down at the design stage. 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.