Emerging Chinese fashion designers are challenged to create mainstream fashion with low environmental impact

[China, April 11th 2012] – Redress launches The EcoChic Design Award China 2012, a sustainable fashion design competition challenging emerging fashion designers to create mainstream fashion with minimal textile waste. The competition provides designers with the sustainable design tools to take them through six months of design and theory that culminates at a grand final runway show at Shanghai Fashion Week in October. Twelve grand finalists will then compete for the chance to design a sustainable collection for retailer Esprit, visit John Hardy’s sustainable Bali-based production facilities and visit Hong Kong Fashion Week.

“Everyone is a fashion consumer yet few people consider the underlying environmental impacts embedded into our clothing, including textile waste, water pollution, chemical and energy use. Through The EcoChic Design Award, we are ultimately addressing these negative environmental outcomes by going to the source of the fashion industry to educate emerging fashion designers,” said Christina Dean, founder of Redress.

The award is supported by a number of high profile personalities from the fashion industry, including award ambassador Zhu Zhu. (朱珠)

“The fashion industry is loved for its creativity and expression but it is one of the world’s most polluting industries. With China being the garment manufacturing hub of the world, the negative impacts arising from the fashion industry are close to home. Few people realize that designers influence an estimated 80 percent of the environmental impact of a product. It is crucial to encourage and educate emerging fashion designers about their important role in making tomorrow’s fashion industry more sustainable’ said model and actress Zhu Zhu. (朱珠)

More broadly, the competition raises industry and consumer awareness about the negative environmental impacts caused by waste from the fashion industry. It is estimated that 10 million tonnes of textiles are wasted annually in Europe and America alone1 and that 15 percent of textiles are wasted in the manufacturing process2. With China being the largest exporter of apparel and textiles in the world, responsible for making approximately 40 percent of the world’s textiles3 and 30 percent of apparel exports4; figures for China’s textile waste appear very high.

1. Recycling in Textiles, Edited by Y Wang, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA

2. Timo Rissanen, “From 15% to 0: Investigating the creation of fashion without the creation of fabric waste”

3. China National Textile and Apparel Council

4. UN Commodity Trade Statistics Database

Calling local designers to break the boundaries of conventional fashion

The EcoChic Design Award puts the spotlight onto China’s emerging sustainable fashion design talent, creating a platform to expand Asia’s sustainable fashion landscape. The competition is open to fashion design students and designers with up to five years industry experience residing in China.

“I’m excited to be an EcoChic Design Award China 2012 judge as this competition now expands into the design studio’s of China. The competition encourages the next generation of designers to incorporate the waste reducing design principles, zero-waste, up-cycling and reconstruction into their designs. These are techniques that I use in some of my very own designs, for example by reconstructing old samples into ‘new’ and by up-cycling fabric swatches into unique gowns. This award is an exciting opportunity to make fashion sustainable from the source,” said fashion designer Dorian Ho.

The EcoChic Design Award Hong Kong 2012 expert panel of judges (in alphabetical order) Anderson Lee (Vice Chairman, Sustainable Fashion Business Consortium), Dorian Ho (Fashion Designer), Helen Lee (Deputy Secretary General of Shanghai Fashion Designers’ Association) Margaret Kutt (Manager for Sustainable Projects, Esprit), Orsola de Castro (Co-founder of From Somewhere and Estethica), Vega Wang (Fashion Designer) and Xiao Xue (Editorial Director of ELLE China).

Winning prizes to foster sustainable fashion design

The 12 grand finalists will each preview one minimal waste design in a public exhibition in August, where the public can vote for their favourite designer. Later, the 12 grand finalists will showcase their entire six-piece sustainable collection, which will be made using textile waste sourced by the designers, at Shanghai Fashion Week in October, where the winners will be announced.

The main prize to design a sustainable collection for Esprit made using recycled textiles further demonstrates the competition’s substantial influence on Asia’s fashion industry and retail sector.

Esprit is proud to partner with Redress to take this award to a broader audience in China. We are committed to sustainability and this partnership allows us to develop our own sustainability agenda whilst also nurturing the next generation of Asia’s sustainable fashion designers. China’s emerging middle class consumer with a growing disposable income is a draw to many retailers, yet we need to capture this new market with responsibility and sustainability at the core. We look forward to welcoming this year’s EcoChic Design Award China 2012 Winner into our design team to create one of Esprit’s future sustainable fashion collections for retail,” said Margaret Kutt, Manager for Sustainable Projects, Esprit.

The three awards are

“The EcoChic Design Award in partnership with Esprit”

To design a sustainable capsule collection for Esprit made using recycled textiles.

“The EcoChic People’s Award in partnership with John Hardy”

To visit John Hardy’s sustainable production facilities in Bali. This award is voted by the public online.

“The EcoChic Most Promising Student Award”

To visit to Hong Kong Fashion Week in 2013.


Media enquiries

Hannah Lane
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
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About Redress (

Redress is a charity with a mission to promote environmental sustainability in Asia’s fashion industry by reducing textile waste, pollution, water and energy consumption. We achieve this via educational sustainable fashion shows, exhibitions, competitions, seminars, research and media outreach. Our unique profile allows us to collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders. We work with multiple fashion designers, textile and garment manufacturers, retailers, schools and universities, multilateral organizations, governments, NGOs, financial institutions and media organizations.

About The EcoChic Design Award (

The EcoChic Design Award is a sustainable fashion design competition inspiring Asia’s emerging fashion designers to create mainstream clothing with minimal waste. Designers are educated with the theory and techniques to enable them to create desirable sustainable clothing via reconstruction, up-cycling and zero-waste design techniques. The competition puts Asia’s emerging sustainable design talent in the spotlight, creating a platform for the next generation of designers to break the boundaries of conventional fashion forever. The inaugural EcoChic Design Award was launched in Hong Kong in 2011.

About Esprit Holdings (

Esprit Holdings Limited is a constituent stock of the Hang Seng Index, MSCI Hong Kong Small Cap Index, FTSE All-World Index for Hong Kong. Its subsidiaries are engaged in the retail and wholesale distribution of quality lifestyle products designed under its globally recognized Esprit and edc brands. The Group operates over 1,100 directly managed retail stores worldwide and distributes through more than 11,000 controlled-space wholesale points-of-sale internationally, occupying total selling space of over 1,000,000 m2 in more than 40 countries.

About John Hardy (

One of a kind. One piece at a time. Each by hand. John Hardy is an authentic hand-made jewelry brand reshaping the experience of luxury through a heritage of artisanal design, craftsmanship, and on-going sustainable practices. Intimate relationships with designers and artisans embody the mastery of jewellers who once served Balinese royalty. Today, this talent, aesthetic and consciousness are evident in every aspect of the brand. The company adheres to strict policy of “Greener Every Day” – the belief that a business can prosper with respect to the people, while preserving nature and the environment. Established in 1989 and headquartered in Hong Kong with offices in New York, Bangkok and Bali, John Hardy employs 1,600 people worldwide. 

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