The magic of handicrafts people catches the eye at London Fashion Week


In the name of sustainability. The British royal family back the power and potencial of artisan fashion skills. How? Established and emerging fashion talent from across the Commonwealth’s 53 countries were invited to showcase their creations at a celebratory reception at Buckingham Palace during London Fashion Week, last February 19th, in the presence of HRH The Duchess of Cambridge and HRH The Countess of Wessex.


Yes, Kate Middleton decided to lend support to increase sustainability. For the first time, the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange came together to showcase a wealth of design and artisan fashion talent across its 53 countries. Selected design talents, 31 designers and 26 artisans -including major names such as Karen Walker, representing New Zealand; Bibi Russell representing Bangladesh; and Burberry and Stella McCartney, representing the UK- showcased their sustainable looks at a special reception created at Buckingham Palace during London Fashion Week, this week.

The exhibition in now on public display at London’s Australia House, in the run up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit, April 2018.

They all collectively will represent all 53 commonwealth member countries in a major new initiative ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London this April.  The project is particularly timely as a global wave of interest in handmade products and authentic luxury causes a reassessment of the artisan fashion trades. In this way, The Fashion Exchange brings the values of the modern-day Commonwealth –women’s empowerment, ethical production and supply chains, innovation, economic growth and poverty reduction – to life through the globally appealing medium of fashion.


It is not just about fashion, it is about future

For those who can not attend the exhibition, the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange has a dedicated platform on Google Arts & Culture. Here global audience has access to the looks in an online exhibition along with the stories of these extraordinary partnerships and a directory full of extra resources, leaving a long-term legacy.

One of the main aims of  the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange is to help unlock the potential of the artisan fashion trades which have direct positive impact on female empowerment and poverty reduction.

Livia Firth, founder and creative director of Eco-Age, says: “This is a project rich in partnerships and creative co-design. For example, one of our very talented designers from India is paired with an artisan group in Tuvalu. As someone who is passionate about joining the threads of global fashion and creating real partnerships you can imagine how exciting it is for us to be involved”.

The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange is an ambitious project with long term aims, that is being developed in partnership with Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and

+ info: Commonwealth Fashion Exchange