The artisan economy is reportedly $34 billion annually.

EVERLASTING FASHION: After a successful debut exhibition in London earlier this year, The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange, a major project that teams fashion design talent with artisans from across the Commonwealth’s 53 countries, is planning a New York installation.

In September, fashion pieces made through the initiative will be shown at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. The show will be staged in a new yet-to-be-named exhibition on the New York campus’ John P. Pomerantz Art and Design Center. Renovations are under way in the building’s lobby, which will double the exhibition space to 4,000 square feet.

This fall’s event, which is designed to encourage the exchange of creative ideas, will be scheduled during United Nations General Assembly is in session. In London, the CFE exhibition bowed in late February as a lead-up to the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which was held in April. During London Fashion Week in February, a celebratory reception was held at Buckingham Palace, where the Duchess of Cambridge helped to mark the occasion.

Fashion 4 Development founder Evie Evangelou developed the partnership with FIT. She also hosted a high tea for spouses of the heads of state of the Commonwealth countries at Claridge’s to celebrate the project. At this fall’s F4D First Ladies luncheon, Fashion Exchange-made clothing will be featured in its runway show.

The artisan fashion economy is reportedly estimated to be $34 billion, and is said to be the second largest employer of women in developing countries. Sustainia Living will launch a fashion initiative this fall, according to Evangelou, whose group is a founding member of the global initiative. In 2010, F4D was established and five years later it committed to support ing the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

On another front, F4D is developing a Fashion Explorer site that will teach people in the fashion industry how to be more sustainable and to provide resources for sourcing, new technologies and potential partners. Evangelou said she has deeply researched the project, but she is still scouting investors. “We have all the solutions, information and innovations. There are a lot of companies especially medium-sized and smaller companies that have no idea how to source, where to go or what to do,” Evangelou said. “This would be a place for them to go to become a member on a subscription basis. For a menial membership fee every year, they can find out information and news.”

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