LFW F/W18: Circular Design Challenge launched to promote sustainable fashion

by Shubhi Srivastava

24-August-2018  |  7 mins read

The Panelists at the Fashion for Sustainable Development with United Nations at Lakme Fashion Week Winter Festive 2018

The Sustainable Fashion Day of Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2018 turned several heads with the launch of ‘Circular Design Challenge’ by Reliance Industries Ltd.’s Sustainability initiative ‘Fashion for Earth’ in partnership with the United Nations in India and Lakmé Fashion Week. Speakers from all three participating entities shared their opinions on circular and sustainable fashion economy in the event.

This challenge was introduced to distinguish fashion and product designers who uphold the sustainability banner high in India and is thus, open to all. The aim is to promote the idea of circular fashion and design thinking, in order to reduce the environmental impact the fashion industry contributes to.

Vipul Shah, COO of Petrochemicals, Reliance Industries Ltd, commented about the company’s partnership with the UN in India to push forward the notion of circular economy concept for sustainable fashion, “We are proud to be associated with the UN and Lakmé Fashion Week for strengthening development of sustainable fashion in India. This collaboration will provide the thrust on usage of material in a sustainable manner and inculcate participation of the people in sustainable fashion, thereby making them partners in contributing to the enhancement of the quality of life of our future generations.”

The initiative is also powered by UN Environment, the leading global voice on the environment that works with private sector organizations, governments, civil societies and other UN entities in order to ameliorate the quality of life for people without compromising that of future generations.

Dia Mirza at the Fashion for Sustainable Development with United Nations at Lakme Fashion Week Winter Festive 2018

Asserting the need to practice circular fashion due to deterioration and continuous exhaustion of natural resources, Atul Bagai, UN Environment, Country Head, India said that, “In a world that is increasingly running out of natural resources, the linear system of take-make-dispose needs to be replaced with a traditional one where reusing and recycling is almost second nature in India. Our collaboration with Reliance Industries Ltd. is to mainstream the circular economy approach and demonstrate that when Industry leads from the front, it can have a catalyzing effect on the entire value chain and the environment.”

The competition requires the designers to first present a proof concept of their sustainable collection that should be inclusive of key principles of circularity, sustainability, aesthetics and scalability. They also have the option to choose from any of construction materials up-cycled from diverse waste sources for their collection.

They will further receive a call after selection, which will lead to an expert jury and finally, the winner would be announced. This winning sustainable collection will then be showcased at the next edition of Lakmé Fashion Week for Summer/Resort 2019.

Shah also shed light on the business ventures being done at Reliance that are based on collaborative business models like R-Elan™ Fabric 2.0. Reliance, one of the biggest recyclers of PET bottles in India, has developed R|Elan™ Green Gold fabric technology that uses renewable energy for a transparent, traceable manufacturing process and has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world.

Actress Dia Mirza and Sustainablity promoting Designer Anita Dongre are also the panelists for the challenge

The design challenge will be marked as UN’s second engagement with LFW. It is also a part of the bigger collaboration done to tap the revolutionary potential of sustainable fashion to expand sustainable economy for India, shed light on India’s textile heritage and thus mark the growth of sustainable livelihoods that are based upon circular fashion supply chains. It will also be catalytic for generating employment for women. This forum also gave a chance to various sustainability stakeholders from the industry to present their views on this concept.

Yuri Afanasiev, UN Resident Coordinator in India, was also a part of the talk, as he communicated via video message to say that, “Our focus this year is on a circular economy of sustainable fashion. The Indian fashion industry impacts millions of lives throughout its supply chain. India has the potential to be one of the biggest circular economies in the world. The fashion industry is an obvious catalyst for this – with its value chains that span many sectors, and the many innovative work designers are doing with waste materials – creating style out of nothing.”

Lakmé Fashion Week is the sole platform in India to devote an entire day to fashion sustainability every season. Through initiatives like these, it has shown its commitment to promote sustainability in the fashion industry and emphasize on its positive social and environmental impact.

The sustainability session also elaborated on the ‘Action Plan on Northeast India Report’, which was launched in the LFW Summer/Resort 2018 with the UN in India. The aim of the initiative was to increase the involvement of the majority of fashion industry and brands with women weavers in Northeast India. The two exclusive brand partners for this initiative are Raymond for men’s wear and House of Anita Dongre for women segment.

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