HONG KONG — Environmental non-government organization Redress opened the Redress Design Award 2023, the 13th cycle of the world’s largest sustainable fashion design competition at a prominent industry gathering in Hong Kong on January 11, where fashion industry leaders with global influence gathered, just days after the resumption of normal travel between Hong Kong and the Mainland, to discuss the region’s opportunity to drive circular fashion globally.
The Redress Design Award, which is supported by Create Hong Kong (CreateHK) of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) as the lead sponsor, educates and empowers emerging fashion designers about circular fashion, against the background that 80% of a product’s environmental impact is laid down at the design stage. Homegrown in Hong Kong since 2011, the educational competition’s global footprint attracts applicants from over 50 countries and enjoys support from over 150 universities globally, with thousands of hopeful designers over the competition’s history battling to finesse and showcase their innovative design skills on the global stage to win the chance of collaborating with leading fashion businesses.
Speaking at the Redress Design Award 2023 launch event in Hong Kong, Lowell Cho, Assistant Head of Create Hong Kong, thanked Redress for organizing the competition again and looked forward to seeing the 10 international finalists meeting in Hong Kong in person, which would be the first time after the outbreak of the pandemic.
The 2023 competition cycle is again partnering with VF Corporation, one of the world’s largest apparel, footwear, and accessories companies of iconic brands including Timberland and The North Face. Following the Grand Final Fashion Presentation in September in Hong Kong, the first prize winner will join VF Corporation’s innovative business for sustainable design collaboration.
Meanwhile, Timberland of VF Corporation is unveiling their sustainable Lunar New Year 2023 collection designed in collaboration with the previous winner, Taiwan designer Jessica Chang. Among the collection pieces, Jessica’s two-in-one jacket design features a workwear-inspired inner jacket and an all-over printed vest that can be worn in multiple ways, offering a versatile design with longevity in mind for consumers.
“Redress is galvanizing the emerging designer sustainable design movement, creating change at the drawing board,” shared Sean Cady, Vice President of Global Sustainability and Responsibility, VF Corporation. “VF is passionate about magnifying the impacts of the Redress Design Award winners, and Timberland’s recent collaboration with Jessica demonstrates how the competition is positively influencing what’s available for consumers.”
“Redress has a bold vision: to build a world in which fashion is circular,” said Dr. Christina Dean, Founder of Redress. “Whilst the fashion industry has grappled with many challenging Covid-related supply chain impacts and a challenging economy, we can’t ignore fashion’s worsening environmental and waste crisis. Asia is the global fashion industry’s engine of production and, increasingly, consumption, and we must urgently raise our game and promote Asian innovation further. Together with emerging designers, academia, business, and government, we have great power to accelerate a circular fashion industry globally.”
Asia accounts for around 60% of global exports of garments, textiles, and footwear, and China is the world’s biggest fashion consumer market. Headquartered in Hong Kong, the heart of Asia and gateway to the Mainland of China, Redress is in a prime position to address the issue of waste within the fashion industry. The equivalent of one rubbish truck of textiles is landfilled or burned every second, global textile waste is estimated to increase by 63% by 2030, and the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined⁶.
Online applications for the Redress Design Award 2023 are open from 12 January and will close on 16 March 2023. Following semi-final judging, 10 finalists will be announced on 10 May, and those residing abroad will come to Hong Kong in September for the Grand Final Week activities.
The competition invites emerging fashion designers to pursue their dreams in the community, being supported in their careers by their fellow designers and forging friendships along the way. Those who make it to the semi-finals or beyond will join the Redress Design Award Alumni Network, a community offering various career enhancement opportunities in sustainable design, with alumni achievements including fashion weeks, brand collaborations, and more.
The network boasts over 270 alumni from the competition from 45 countries, 42% of whom are residing in Asia, who are all pushing the movement forwards by launching their own sustainable brands or working at global brands to accelerate circular practices from all corners of the global fashion industry.