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Designers Create Upcycled Outfits Using Car Seat Fabrics

Green is the new black.
Designers Create Upcycled Outfits Using Car Seat Fabrics Green is the new black.

Ten up-and-coming designers from Asia and Europe were called to take part in The Redress Forum 2016: Ford Design Challenge in Hong Kong and were asked to come up with statement outfits from sustainable seat fabrics used in Ford vehicles—a view of how fashion and automotive industries put sustainable design philosophies into practice.

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THE FINALISTS AND THEIR DESIGNS: (L-R, standing) Sara Kiani (UK), Esther Lui (Hong Kong), Pan Wen (China), Tsang Fan Yu (Hong Kong), Cora Bellotto (Spain); (L-R, seated) Belle Benyasarn (Thailand), Patrycja Guzik (Poland), Amy Ward (UK),  Annie Mackinnon (UK), Wang Di (China)

Redress is an NGO based in Hong Kong dedicated to promoting environmental sustainability in the fashion industry. Ford, on the other hand, has made it its goal to cut waste to landfill and reduce the world's carbon footprint.

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Christina Dean: "Green is the new NORM."

Christina Dean, founder and CEO, Redress, says, “Textile waste is an increasing problem in many countries, as clothing production and consumption continues to increase. This is the second year in a row that we have teamed up with Ford, and we are so thrilled to be working with them to raise awareness about innovative ways to reduce waste through better design. Sustainable design thinking is as relevant for fashion as it is for the automotive industry.”

The finalists were grouped into pairs and given only three and a half hours to complete their designs, after being taken on an hour long inspiration trip around Hong Kong’s busy streets. They were then armed with off-cuts of Ford’s sustainable seat fabrics, which are in fact made of recycled plastic bottles.

“When we sit down to design a product, we always look for new ways to reduce its environmental impact. So when it comes to sustainability, designers have a huge responsibility—one that we are passionate about,” says Marie Smyth, senior designer, Color and Materials Design, Ford Asia Pacific.

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A scene from backstage

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Even under time pressure, it's startlingly impressive how these young designers were able to come up with designs that involve fringes, weaving, and other intricate details.

“We were expecting the materials at the challenge to be a lot heavier and more difficult to manage, but were surprised at how easy they were to work with,” says Pan Wen. “Working with Ford’s fabric today has definitely inspired me to look for more sustainable fabrics in my future designs.”

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The winning piece is a floor-length asymmetrical dress in hues of neutral fabrics and contrasting copper by Pan Wen from China and Amy Ward from the United Kingdom. It was inspired by a quiet underpass at the famous Victoria Peak.

The winners and their winning piece: Pan Wen from China and Amy Ward from UK

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“With visible construction and hidden details, we wanted to create something that forces the wearer to dig a little deeper and to get to know the garment,” shares Amy Ward. “Rather than picking an obvious skyscraper for our inspiration, we looked closer and liked the industrial feeling of the location, focusing in on the finer details.”

All the outfits created in the challenge will be showcased on the runway at HKTDC Hong Kong Fashion Week, as part of The EcoChic Design Award 2015/2016 grand finale show.

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From plastic bottles to car seat fabrics to couture

We hope to see a Filipino finalist next time!

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