Open to cross-disciplinary creatives starting Oct. 6 to midnight Jan. 12 via submission to firstname.lastname@example.org, the open design contest is meant to encourage a new dialogue on sustainable fashion. Details are available at Connectingcultures.it and projects can include traditional media as well as new digital or immersive formats.
“We are looking for new solutions — it’s not enough to just talk about a leaf or green color. In our mind when it comes to the new innovation for sustainability, we need to design something different something that is telling the value,” said Giusy Bettoni, founder and chief executive officer of CLASS (standing for Creativity Lifestyle and Sustainable Synergy).
For 13 years, Bettoni has been devoted to responsible innovation in materials, but even in the past four years — she finds brands are still missing the mark on communicating the value in sustainably designed products. Too many are taking shortcuts and greenwashing their image via marketing instead of doing an honest appraisal of company values and supply chain practices.
The efficacy of the word “sustainability” is even being questioned today.
“I think you cannot avoid the question: what are the values of fashion today? I think it is a question that has an urgency that is stronger and more powerful than brand names. In fact, I think it could be stronger than consolidated power,” Anna Detheridge, founder and president of Connecting Cultures, said during a press interview held via Zoom Monday.
Connecting Cultures is a nonprofit dedicated to promoting sustainability through art and design. With this expertise in mind, Detheridge cited an expectation for effective and beautiful imagery, impactful design and a meaningful message that combats “exclusivity and overconsumption,” barriers that the fashion industry struggles to overcome.
Artists, fashion designers, marketing execs and other “leading voices in the industry,” comprise a dozen jury members for the competition, including Detheridge, Bettoni, Sara Kozlowski, director of education and sustainable strategies for Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and Paola Arosio, head of new brands and sustainability projects at The National Chamber for Italian Fashion.
The competition is sponsored by Roica by Asahi Kasei, a high-quality stretch fiber that carries certifications from Textile Exchange as well as Cradle to Cradle Innovation Institute. Renoon, a search tool and data hub for sustainable fashion will serve as the official media partner.
“Imagining Sustainable Fashion is about building a new vision and embracing a positive worldview,” Detheridge said.
The winner of the competition will be announced in March 2021 and will receive a cash prize of 3,000 euro ($3,500).