ECO-MINDED: Redress, a Hong Kong-based NGO focused on promoting sustainability in the textile and fashion industries, kicked off its fifth EcoChic Design Award this week, inviting designers from Asia and Europe to design a “modern China chic” collection for Shanghai Tang.

“Anything to do with waste reduction essentially is good for the bottom line, which means it is very good for business,” said Christina Dean, founder and ceo of Redress, adding that “fashion designers are in a powerful position to implement change.”
During a Tuesday press conference at the Shanghai Tang Hong Kong flagship, speakers highlighted the fact that textile waste is particularly a big concern in China and Hong Kong. In China, the total annual production of textile waste is estimated at more than 20 million tonnes. In Hong Kong alone, approximately 79,205 tonnes of textiles ended up in landfills in 2011 alone.

Raphael Le Masne de Chermont, executive chairman of Shanghai Tang, emphasized the importance of good design. “Educating designers so they can design with minimal wastage using the waste for recycling into other clothes. It’s fine. This is one thing but you have to make sure that these products are commercially viable. Otherwise it’s just pure charity,” he said.

The EcoChic award is accepting applicants from Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden and Denmark. The 10 finalists — one from each country — will present their collections in January during Hong Kong Fashion Week. In addition to the first place prize — designing a capsule collection for Shanghai Tang — the contest’s second place prize is to design textile waste-reducing staff uniforms for The Langham Hotel in Hong Kong. An additional prize is the chance to visit John Hardy’s design center and workshop in Bali, Indonesia.

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