With the red, gold and grey Cathay Pacific uniforms—along with the airline’s recognisable gold and red tie—hanging on racks, and tables filled with sewing implements, the 10 EcoChic Design Award 2017 finalists had three hours to pair up, design, cut, create and present a marketable accessory prototype with repurposed materials. Each team presented beautiful designs using old Cathay uniforms, but one elegant product stood out amongst them.
Congratulations to young designers Ayako Yoshida from Japan and Kate Morris from England for coming out on top at the “Redress and Cathay: Uniform Reconstruction Challenge”, held at the Langham Hotel, Hong Kong, on September 2. The uniform challenge kicked off the EcoChic Design Award 2017 and represents the first of many workshops and tasks. Over the next eight days, the emerging designers from Asia, Europe and the USA will explore issues of uniform waste, customer care, design and manufacturing.
The design duo’s stylish black organiser with beige trim opens up to reveal the iconic Cathay red lining with multiple pouches and storage possibilities. The judges congratulated the winners on their simple, colourful and practical travelling design, and agreed that the product could easily be made into a new accessory.
Committed to tackling environmental issues
Cathay is deeply committed to Hong Kong, where the Company was founded in 1946. It believes that “travelling well is an important part of living well” (#lifewelltraveled), and this philosophy is continually evolving to embrace issues such as climate change, greenhouse gas effects, biodiversity issues, and surplus food waste. Within its sustainability initiatives, the airline also acknowledges the problem of textile waste disposal and the fashion industry’s negative impact on the environment.
The winning design has the potential to be scaled up and produced by social enterprise St. James’ Settlement Jockey Club Upcycling Centre. The Centre promotes environmental protection and living an eco-lifestyle by creating upcycled products from donated materials. Local designers are invited to use these materials for new designs and employ or train people with disabilities to produce upcycled products.
The Uniform Reconstruction Challenge judges included Cathay Pacific General Manager of Corporate Affairs and spokesperson, Kinto Chan; Christina Dean, founder and board Chair of Redress; director of sales and marketing at Langham, David Fung; and EcoChic design Award alumnus Angus Tsui. Following his EcoChic Design Award Hong Kong 2012 cycle People’s Award and 2014/15 Alumni Prize, Tsui launched his namesake sustainable womenswear and menswear brand in 2014.
About EcoChic and Redress
EcoChic is a sustainable fashion design competition organised by Redress—an environmental NGO working to reduce fashion industry waste—to inspire emerging fashion designers and students to create mainstream clothing with minimal textile waste.
Redress achieves this by organising educational sustainable fashion shows, exhibitions, competitions, seminars and research, and via their recycled clothing standard.
“I was really inspired by the innovative use of textile waste into fashion and wanted to use every day, disposable objects to strengthen the message and accessorise and bring out the different personalities of each design.
—Wing Shya, world renowned fashion photographer, artist and filmmaker
Working with its partners, Redress aims to enhance, educate and enable the adoption of a more sustainable fashion industry that will help to minimise the negative impact and maximise the positive impact of the fashion industry on society and the environment.
The designers will present their waste-reducing collections at the grand final show on September 7, at HKTDC’s fashion week CENTRESTAGE, to a 600-strong, international fashion audience.
Here our international judges will determine the winners of this cycle and prizes will be announced. The event will also be livestreamed worldwide on the EcoChic Facebook page at 5pm (HKT), on September 7, 2017.
Good luck finalists!
On 15 January, The Redress Forum: Ford Design Challenge was a one-day challenge as part of The EcoChic Design Award 2015/16 grand final week. The challenge tasked finalists to up-cycle sustainable materials used in Ford’s vehicles, and made from recycled plastic bottles, into statement fashion outfits. This one-day action and education packed challenge between two of the world’s largest industries,—fashion and cars—explored how cross-industry sharing can give rise to sustainable design innovation.
Watch the video here!
Written By: Adriane Rysz