The future of Zero Waste: Redress Design Award 2019 Winners



The Redress Design Award (formerly the EcoChic Design Award) is the world’s largest sustainable fashion design competition. The Grand Final Fashion Show took place at Centrestage, in Hong Kong. The last round of the sustainability competition saw the 10 finalists presenting their sustainable collections. British designer Maddie Williams won the first prize. We meet the designers of the future of Zero Waste.


Winner Maddie Williams takes home the opportunity of collaborating in the creation of an exclusive and unique up-cycled capsule collection for Reverb of JNBY Group, the most influential designer brand fashion house in China. Sustainable fashion brand Reverb embraces circular fashion philosophy focusing on the three design concepts of athleisure, genderless, and sustainability. The resulting sustainable collection from this new-born collaboration is expected to be retailing in JNBY Group stores around the world and online by March 2020.


“Reverb is committed to making sustainable fashion go mainstream. Working with Maddie, we want to give consumers more access to desirable sustainable fashion, particularly in Asia, where waste is a tremendous issue that needs to be addressed immediately.” – Tillmann Lauterbach, Competition Judge, Creative Director, Reverb of JNBY Group.


The Redress Design Award

Around 92 million tons of waste from the fashion industry is created annually. And this number is estimated to increase by about 60% between 2015 and 2030, with an additional 57 million tons of waste per year, reaching an annual total of 148 million tons, which is equivalent to annual waste of 17.5 kg per capita globally (Global Fashion Agenda and The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. 2017, Pulse of the Fashion Industry). Not only the waste from textiles and fabrics is polluting our planet; the fashion industry is indeed responsible for even more disastrous environmental impacts; from around 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions to the 79 billion cubic meters of freshwater consumed annually.

Consumers are every day more conscious of the damages and social issues cause by industrial fashion and started to demand more and more products that come from sustainable sources and manufacturing. In this sense, Redress Design Award helps to develop the global discourse about sustainability in fashion, educating and integrating young fashion designers whose work follows principles of sustainability in the global market. It is the largest competition in the sustainable fashion industry.

This innovative idea of competition starts with the educational phase of the participants: months of theory and design, aimed to educate the creative artists about the huge negative impacts that the fashion industry has inflicted and keeps perpetuating to the environment, whilst inspiring them to use the core sustainable design techniques of zero-waste, up-cycling and reconstruction to cut waste out of fashion. After this initial formative phase, the competitors are called to action, and need to persuade the jury of their talent and their abilities of transforming textile waste into world inspiring fashion collections "that will redress the world".


Created and developed to educate emerging fashion designers to the newest sustainable design theories and techniques, the competition offers to passionate and talented sustainable designers a unique and innovative platform, giving them the chance of being part of the transformation of global fashion by awarding the winners with career changing collaborations.


Winners of  Zero Waste

This year’s finalists, from Hong Kong, India, Australia, Canada, UK, Israel, Spain and Germany, created collections using sustainable and circular design techniques, up-cycling widely-available waste materials, from unwanted workers’ uniforms and saris to defective camping gear and bedsheets. With a new educational focus on innovation in raw materials, the finalists also incorporated sustainable fabrics from Eastman Naia into their Grand Final collections. Listed below the winners of this year, the newest creative game-changers of the sustainable fashion industry that we should keep eyes on!

Maddie William, UK: First Prize. British fashion designer Maddie Williams studied fashion at the Edinburgh College of Art and works as a junior designer at Pentland Brands. In her winning collection at the Redress Design Award, ‘The Mourners’, Maddie worked with the tragic loss of biodiversity, environmental health and humanity we are dealing nowadays.


“I want to be able to use my skills and craft to raise awareness of the climate disaster we are facing and show that conscious clothing does not have to play it safe and be minimal - it can also excite and tell stories”. - Maddie Williams.


For her design she uses up-cycling and reconstruction techniques with reclaimed textiles, yarns and second-hand clothing, weaving them into zero-waste pieces that she constructs into her garments. Marked with symbolism from the Christian theory on mortality – Memento Mori, the design pieces also want to be a remind that out time to act is running out.


Carina Roca Portella, Spain, Redress Design Award 2019 Runner-up Prize with Orsola de Castro. Carina Roca Portella has a BA in Fashion Design from ESDI, Barcelona and an MA in Creative Direction and Advanced pattern. At the moment she is back at ESDI, studying for her second MA in Styling, Image and Communication. Her unique collection created at the Redress Design Award, winner of the runner-up prize with Orsola de Castro, is called ‘Caution Line’ and wants to be the joining point between non-conformism and self-expression, moved by the energy created by a collective of like-minded people. Sustainable designer For her clothing which also features printed statements, Carina Roca Portella up-cycles end-of-rolls, cut-and-sew waste and end-of-life restaurant napkins and tablecloths, adding fun care instructions within to engage the wearer to keep clothing in use for longer “I aim to empower others to become conscious consumers and change the way they perceive sustainability. Knowledge is power. We, as fashion designers, should raise awareness of the negative impacts caused by the fashion industry and encourage people to change their buying habits”- says Carina Roca Portella


Moriah Ardila, Israel: People's Choice Winner. Moriah Ardila is currently studying Fashion Sustainability at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Israel. Her competition collection ‘Home’ won the People's Choice Prize and it's inspired to outdoors living in wild areas of the planet and to the strong connection that these uncontaminated places create between human and nature. For ‘Home’ Moriah uses damaged camping equipment – such as sleeping bags and tents, which are creatively up-cycled into modern fashion clothing items that retain parts of their original functionality.  “Sustainable fashion can significantly change the way the public currently thinks of fashion as a disposable commodity. I believe that sustainability can be fashionable and wearable at the same time” – says Moriah Ardila.


Keith Chan, Hong Kong: Hong Kong Best Prize Winner. Chan Jianfeng studied Fashion and Textile (Knitwear Design & Technology) at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and is currently working as a Research Assistant. Hong Kong's signature neon signs inspired Jianfeng's winning collection at this year's Redress Design Award. He applied up-cycling and reconstruction techniques to colorful end-of-roll textiles, fabric scraps and second-hand garments creating a layered, asymmetric collection embellished with typography using eco-friendly inks and embroidery, to successfully reflect the city's vibrant lifestyle and culture.


“I believe that as designers we have an obligation to develop more sustainable fashion. Through innovative design approaches we can restore a balance between human and nature and protect our limited resources”– says Chan Jianfeng.


Julia Tolita Pagenkopf, Germany: Alumni Prize with Vancouver Fashion Week and Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong. Julia Talita Pagenkopf holds a BA in Arts Fashion Design from the University of Applied Sciences Hamburg and an MA in Arts Fashion Design from the University of Applied Sciences Berlin. She is currently developing her own brand Inside/Outside Studio. ‘Inside Outside’ is also her winning competition collection and draws inspiration from the Japanese Wabi-Sabi concept: seeing beauty in imperfection. Julia's collection honours powerful and fierce women that are not afraid of vulnerability but instead wear it like a strength. For her design, she applies the reconstruction design technique, fusing second-hand garments – made from low-impact materials – in floral prints and vibrant colours to highlight their contrasts.

“Being constrained to use what is already in existence in my designs not only minimises my carbon footprint and slows down the flow of materials, it is also a fulfilling approach for me personally, as I find imperfection beautiful” – says Julia Talita Pagenkopf.


+ info: Redress Design Award