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Trade Talk | April 2019

Winning designers share experience at 4th UN Environment Assembly

Circular Design Challenge winners ‘I was a Sari’ by designer duo Stefano Funari and Poornima Pande showcased their winning collection at the 4th UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi. The designers shared their experience with a global audience of stakeholders leading the charge of sustainability.

‘I was a Sari’ was adjudged the winner of the ‘Circular Design Challenge Award 2019’, India’s first award for sustainable fashion at Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) Summer Resort in January 2019. The duo work with underprivileged community of women in Mumbai using up-cycled pre-loved saris. Their designs utilise existing resources in terms of fabrics and materials and reinvent them into unique pieces.

Reliance Industries Ltd.’s (RIL) ‘Fashion for Earth’ programme, Lakme Fashion Week and UN Environment, India collaborated to launch the Circular Design Challenge in August 2018 to encourage designers and entrepreneurs to use innovative ideas by using materials from diverse waste sources including plastic. This initiative unravelled the country’s first award for circularity in fashion promoting sustainability across the value chain and, inspiring innovation and offering solutions to reduce the environmental impact of the fashion and textile industry in the country.

‘I was a Sari’ installation was showcased a day prior to the global launch of the UN Alliance on Sustainable Fashion at the Sustainable Business Expo. The Alliance commits to changing the path of fashion, reducing its negative environmental and social impacts; and turning fashion into a driver of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The fashion industry is currently the second-biggest consumer of water, producing 20 percent of wastewater, and is responsible for 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

‘Accelerating Circularity Actions for a Sustainable Textile Value Chain’ is yet another panel discussion at the Sustainable Business Expo that will explore the way forward with concrete actions in achieving a more sustainable and circular textile value chain. Nikhil Deshpande, Head Sustainable Solutions, Petrochemicals, Reliance Industries Limited will be participating in the panel discussion and Gautam Vazirani, Sustainability Strategist & curator at IMG Reliance will be speaking about the sustainable fashion initiatives of IMG Reliance and Lakme Fashion Week at another event.

Atul Bagai, Country Head, UN Environment India said, “It is evident from the Circular Design Challenge winning collection ‘I was a sari’ showcased at UN Environment Assembly, that circularity in fashion has unprecedented benefits not just for the fashion industry and business but also for the environment. Circular Fashion can and should be mainstreamed to drastically reduce the fashion and textile industry’s environmental footprint.”

Vipul Shah, COO – Petrochemicals Business, RIL, said: “We are proud to be associated with the United Nations (UN) in spreading awareness about circularity and sustainability concepts. We started off with our Fashion for Earth programme in India. Now, we are elevating the programme to a global level by participating in the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya to promote the concepts in all industries.”

“Fashion for Earth is aimed at transforming the Indian textile value chain. Our endeavours, such as ‘Circular Design Challenge’, ‘The Earth Tee’, as well as various industry-wide awareness drives through our Hub Excellence Programme, will help us achieve the goal of making the Indian textile industry a global leader in adoption of circularity, waste reduction and sustainability concepts.”

Jaspreet Chandok, Vice President and Head of Fashion, IMG Reliance said, “It is important to engage on sustainable fashion at a global level and only then will it grow locally. We want to consistently support our first winner of the Circular Design Challenge and believe it is participation in platforms like UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi that will help them to ensure genuine impact to the circular and sustainable narrative.”

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