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Trade Talk | October 2018

RIL, UN collaborate to reduce environmental impact on fashion

Reliance Industries’ (RIL) ‘Fashion for Earth’ initiative, in partnership with the United Nations in India and Lakmè Fashion Week launched the ‘Circular Design Challenge’ at the LFW Winter/Festive 2018 season. The challenge, open to all fashion and product designers in India, aims to recognise champions of sustainability in the fashion and apparel industry, and promote circular design thinking: innovation in waste materials and solutions to reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry.

While commenting on the partnership with the United Nations in India to drive circular economy concept for sustainable fashion, Vipul Shah, COO – Petrochemicals, RIL, said, “We are proud to associate with the United Nations and Lakme Fashion Week for strengthening development of sustainable fashion in India.”

He adds, “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 challenge is being supported by UN Environment, the leading global voice on the environment. “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 RIL 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,” says Atul Bagai, UN Environment, Country Head, India.

The designers will need to submit a proof concept of their sustainable collection, which must encompass key principles of circularity, sustainability, aesthetics and scalability. The designers can use any material for their collection, as long as it is up-cycled from diverse waste sources – including plastics.

The process will involve a call to entry, followed by an expert jury and announcement of the winner. The designer will win an opportunity to showcase the sustainable collection at Lakmè Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2019.

The design challenge was launched at the dialogue on ‘Fashion and Sustainable Development’, hosted by the UN in India and LFW, with the aim to promote circularity in India’s fashion industry at the inaugural Sustainable Fashion Day, here in Mumbai.

This is the UN’s second engagement with Lakmé Fashion Week, and forms part of a broader collaboration on the groundbreaking potential of sustainable fashion to catalyze a sustainable economy for India, to showcase the vibrant potential of India’s intangible and textile heritage and build sustainable livelihoods through sustainable and circular value chains in fashion, especially for women. Thought leaders from diverse fields related to textiles, apparels and fashion industry presented their views and commitments on sustainability in this forum.

“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,” said Yuri Afanasiev, UN Resident Coordinator in India, through a video message.

Lakmè Fashion Week is committed to the promotion of sustainability in the fashion industry, to push the agenda for positive social and environmental impact, and is the only major platform in the country that runs a dedicated day within its schedule every season on sustainability.

The session shared an update on the ‘Action Plan on Northeast India Report’, which was launched with the UN in India at the Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2018 to engage the mainstream fashion industry and brands with women weavers in Northeast India. The two exclusive brand partners for this initiative are House of Anita Dongre (women’s wear) and Raymond (men’s wear).

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