Finalists from the U.S., U.K., Germany, India and China competed all last week in a series of challenges for the third annual Redress Design Award 2021. Taiwan-based winner Jessica Chang beat the competition with her collection incorporating waste materials. Judges said her winning line demonstrated “creativity in sustainable design as well as strong marketability and commerciality.”
With access to VF’s design resources and team mentorship as part of her win, Chang will have the opportunity to design her own capsule with Timberland that will launch in spring 2023.
“Winning this chance to work with Timberland is a life-changer for me,” said Chang. “Entering this complex industry as an emerging designer is daunting because, so often, everywhere we look we see bad news and complexity. We know we can bring change. Yet it is hard to magnify our big ideas as start-up designers. The Redress Design Award has given me confidence — we are all in this together to make a positive change!”
Paying credit to all 10 finalists’ level of sophistication in sustainable design, Sean Cady, VF’s vice president of global sustainability and responsibility, said Chang’s use of raw materials sourced from waste streams (factory deadstock and fabric mill waste among them) across all parts of the value chain was what impressed the judges.
“She told a story about how she wanted to break down walls, and barriers, in nature and society. We thought that was a very compelling story,” Cady said. “It was something that we could envision with Timberland,” he said, adding that the team is “excited to work with new, fresh talent.”
Until this year’s winning collection drops, consumers can find the capsule from last year’s Redress winner in stores in spring 2022. Vietnamese designer Le Ngoc Ha Thu spent nine months working with the Timberland global design team to create the Chinese New Year-themed capsule collection.
Work In Progress: “Access” Must Replace Ownership: A new report launched ahead of climate week beginning Sept. 20 paints the sharing model as key to curbing carbon emissions.
The report was informed, in part, by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation as well as B Corp SystemIQ (which helps companies align with the U.N. sustainable development goals) and nonprofit the Sun Institute.
“Waste and disposability are woven into today’s economy, fueling climate change and limiting opportunities for long-term economic prosperity,” said Ellen MacArthur, founder and chair of Trustees, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, on the crux of the report. “Everything-as-a-Service (XAAS) shows how — as part of a circular economy — we can change that and harness the power of design and innovation to deliver better outcomes for businesses, their customers and the environment.”
The report identified four building blocks (value proposition design, business model and financial design, circular product and operating model design, ecosystem design) showcasing how to decouple from volume-based growth. Circular design parameters, including designing out waste and helping economies steer toward net zero in line with the Paris Agreement’s proposed 1.5-degree Celsius pathway, were also stressed. When successful, everything from cars to industrial equipment to workwear can transition to sharing models.
However, the report warned that organizations that omit the basic building blocks and fail to holistically adopt sustainable strategies (including circularity) face “potential rebound effects such as consumption increase, and less efficient and frequent obsolete technology.”
Per the report, consumer adoption will be key in aiding the shift, with more people ditching ownership for access. Ambitious policy interventions, like those coming from the European Union, must encourage circular material use, reward innovation and help mobilize industry.
Fee Drops, A New Sustainability Incentive: Vestiaire Collective is spreading the sustainability message and sourcing more sustainable product with a 20 percent seller fee drop on select sustainable designers for fall.
In a note sent to shoppers Monday, the reseller wrote: “If you sell from Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney, Dries van Noten, Totême, Missoni, Reformation, Nanushka, Everlane, The Pangaia or Veja during the next week, you’ll enjoy a 20 percent reduction in seller fees! Sustainability isn’t just about consumption, help make secondhand top-of-mind by selling your pre-loved pieces!”
In modern times, the fee-drop incentive for customers could be one that challenges traditional retail’s markdown culture, instead stoking supply for resale platforms aiming to get their hands on what’s trending in the world of resale.