Launch of global contest to redefine sustainability for a new generation

Four experts have joined forces to call on the international community of creatives to tell a new story on that most familiar of topics: Sustainability. Giusy Bettoni, CEO and Founder, of eco-hub, C.L.A.S.S.; Stefania Ricci, Director, Museo Salvatore Ferragamo; Jeanine Ballone Managing Director, Fashion 4 Development; and Anna Detheridge, Founder and President, Connecting Cultures, launched via Instagram what they are describing as “the first international competition for innovative models of communication in sustainable fashion.”

Says Bettoni, “When it comes to communicating responsibility, we are working with basic words and the image is still an old one.” So the idea behind the competition is to invite stylists, photographers, designers, illustrators, artists and other creatives to rethink how to communicate to the new generation the values of an ethical and sustainable fashion system.

Fashion 4 Development is a private sector global platform founded in 2011 which, in its commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, builds upon its core leadership principles of the 4Es: Educate, Empower, Enhance and Enrich, activating partnerships that promote the fashion and textile industry, advance economic and social development activities, preserve culture and empower women.

“We’re looking for effective and beautiful imagery, a message that is meaningful, that combines design, innovation and responsibility,” explains Detheridge of the open call for submissions. “Imagery that contrasts many of the negative aspects of overconsumption and exclusivity, along with strategic thinking, creativity, impactful design, emotional resonance.”

Technology is moving fast, and solutions can become obsolete in a matter of years as new materials and processes are identified, yet the language and methods of communication remain stagnant.

The time has come to redefine sustainability

As large established brands have to kick off old cumbersome habits, the time is right for a new generation of creatives who might have felt they were lacking a platform to make their voices heard. “It’s a salient moment, it’s a pinnacle moment, it’s a watershed moment, it is the time right now,” says Ballone.

Submissions will be reviewed by, says Detheridge, “an international jury of artists, fashion designers, professionals and marketing experts, all leading voices in the industry.” These include several figures from La Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (The National Chamber for Italian Fashion) and Vogue Italia, but also Sara Kozlowski, Director of Education and Sustainable Strategies at the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and Lucy Orta, Chair of Art & the Environment, University of the Arts London. This focus on prominent figures within education suggests that the initiative is geared towards students or recent graduates, whose inquisitive minds are used to questioning, inventing, experimenting, on a daily basis, rather than professionals who are conditioned by the industry’s ill ways. But Bettoni informs FashionUnited that the contest has no limitations on candidates: “We are looking for any kind of expression of creativity, ideas, techniques, to better represent the values of sustainability, and yes while we are hoping that graduates, emerging creatives, can help us deliver this objective, there are no boundaries.”

“It’s about building a new vision and embracing a new world view,” she adds, “it’s not about a word but a concept.” All four behind the launch state that this is an important moment for small innovative brands because everyone is starting from the same point and we all need to learn new paradigms. Covid 19 has brought this universal truth of the situation to the fore and leveled the playing field.

Stefania Ricci, Director, Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, a museum directly connected to the Italian luxury sector is excited to see the innovation that will complement the history and tradition associated with Italian brands like Ferragamo which has already been working for years to provide more responsible and eco-friendly materials and processes.

The prize of 3000 euro will be awarded to the most original submission and proposals must be received by January 12, 2021 and can range from traditional media such as editorial projects, fashion events, photography and advertising to new digital and phygital projects, from social media campaigns to gaming and even immersive and virtual experiences.

So calling all artists and performers, video makers and animated filmmakers, photographers, fashion designers, PR and communications experts, illustrators and cartoonists, in other words, storytellers: Got something to say on sustainability? This is your time.

Fashion editor Jackie Mallon is also an educator and author of Silk for the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry.

Photo C.L.A.S.S.





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