Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the Fashioning the Future 2009 Awards held within the swanky top floor of the Mayor’s HQ; London City Hall. Organised by the London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion, the FFA competition was created especially to award both home grown and international students whose work strives to work towards and highlight sustainability within the fashion industry. Building upon the momentum and success of the awards debut last year, last night saw the FFA celebrate and promote the next generation of emerging talent in eco and sustainable fashion, by awarding students in five categories.
Hosted by the lovely Caryn Franklin; fashion commentator and broadcaster, most memorable to me for her stint on the BBC’s The Clothes Show back in the ‘90s, other speakers included Professor Frances Corner MBE; Head of the London College of Fashion, Dilys Williams; Director of Centre for Sustainable Fashion and Lucy Siegle; broadcaster and journalist.
With the theme for 2009 being water Lucy Siegle talked us through why this was such an important concept in light of the global water shortage. Some of the horrendous facts and statistics Lucy spoke about really changed my perception of the fashion industry and jolted me and many others in attendance to re-evaluate our personal approaches to fashion and the throw-away culture that we are now so accustomed to. I think what was most scary was how we, as a consuming society are not made aware of the shocking waste of water which is unfortunately currently a bi-product of the industry. Whilst I’m sure the information is out there online and readily available it was great to be able to learn something that I can hopefully pass on to you, loyal readers and everyone I know.
For those who aren’t already in the know here are some of the scariest statistics. Currently 200million litres of water are used globally per second. It is estimated that only 6-10% of this water is used within the home, with industries consuming the remainder. 40% of the global population currently live with limited access to water, whilst 40billion gallons of water is used in the production of fashion each year in the UK alone. Most shocking of all it is estimated that by 2025 over 1.8billion people will not have enough water to survive.
The most valuable thing I learnt was that ‘water is threaded throughout the journey of a garment’ and is used in copious amounts to grow the cotton, spin the yarn, dye, print, produce and even transport the finished article. I learnt how important it is for every individual to take responsibility for their garments as shockingly we as the consumers waste more than the 40billion litres of water used in production by endlessly washing and drying our clothes during their lifespan– proving that the responsibility in part lies with us. For these reasons the FAA is hugely important as without it there would be no one to encourage students to research their production methods and techniques and to challenge the way in which fashion is currently produced, and to strive for a better option. Each winner demonstrated that being sustainable does not mean compromising on style or quality.
Enterprise and Communication Initiative for a Future Fashion Industry Award
Winner: Zoe Fletcher
Runners up: Ruby Hoette and Julia Crew
Role of Materials in a Sustainable Fashion Industry Award
Winner: Varun Gambhir
Runner up: Karina Micheal
Systems for a Sustainable Fashion Industry Award
Winner: Mary Hanlon
Design for a Thriving Fashion Industry Award
Winner: Miriam Rhida
Runner up: Eleanor Dorrian-Smith and On Ying Lai
Water – The Right for All Citizens of this Planet Award
Winner: Emma Rigby
Runner up: Anne Prahl.
You can see the full selection of work from Fashioning the future 2009 at the LCF Fashion Space Gallery until 11 December for free.
Anne Prahl, BBC, Caryn Franklin, Centre for Sustainable Fashion, City Hall, Creative-Idle, Dilys Williams, Eleanor Dorrian-Smith, Emma Rigby, Fashion Space Gallery, Fashioning the Future 2009 Awards, Frances Corner MBE, Julia Crew, Karina Micheal, London College of Fashion, Lucy Siegle, Mary Hanlon, Miriam Rhida, On Ying Lai, Ruby Hoette, The Clothes Show, Varun Gambhir, Zoe Fletcher
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