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India’s biggest sustainability award, the Circular Design Challenge goes international

MUMBAI: With the aim to give a global platform to fashion design talent, Circular Design Challenge (CDC) has announced its worldwide expansion that culminates at the upcoming season of ‘Lakmé Fashion Week x FDCI'.

Presented by R-Elan, the next-gen fabric brand of India's largest conglomerate - Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), in association with the United Nations in India, CDC aims towards a greener and more sustainable future globally by promoting the eco-conscious creatives of the fashion industry.

Five years ago, Reliance Industries pioneered the concept of the Circular Design Challenge, driven by a vision to raise consciousness for sustainability and circular practices across every facet of the fashion industry.

This year, CDC aims to be a global phenomenon with the competition spanning across the UK, EU, and Asian Pacific regions.

"The Challenge has established itself as the largest sustainable fashion award in India. The initiative has played a crucial role in promoting circularity and sustainability in the Indian fashion industry, and after four editions in India, we are now going international to promote sustainability, and circular economy adoption globally," Hemant D. Sharma, Sector Head - Polyester, Reliance Industries Limited.

Shombi Sharp, UN Resident Coordinator, in India, said, "The UN in India is proud to be a founding partner of the Circular Design Challenge since its beginning five years ago. The UN and CDC are united in our belief that fashion can and must be both a source of joy, celebrating culture, human expression, and innovation, and a force for greening our world,"

"Weaving together so many different threads of society and the economy, a more sustainable fashion industry can help drive the achievement of the global SDGs across a rich fabric of value chains and social connections. We look forward to unlocking circular solutions on a global scale with CDC," Shombi Sharp added.

The jury will monitor factors like energy efficiency, closed-loop systems, and materials used in ethical production and focus on their social and environmental impact should meet one or more of the United Nations standards of Sustainable Development Goals.

CDC partners include the British Council for the UK, Redress for Hong Kong/Asia Pacific, and Istituto Marangoni for The European Union.

Pei-Wen Jin from Taiwan was announced finalist from the Asian Pacific region whereas ‘Studio Medium' by Riddhi Jain and Dhruv Satija, ‘Banofi' + ‘Studio Beej' (Consortium) by Jinali Mody and Arundhati Kumar and ‘Without' by Anish Malpani were announced as the three finalists from India edition.

From the UK Jury meet, it was Amesh Wijesekera, a Sri Lankan designer based in London who made it to the finals and Felipe Fiallo was the finalist from the EU jury meet.

The finalists from the APAC, UK and EU jury will be flown to New Delhi, India in October where together with Indian finalists, will pitch their work to an esteemed jury at Lakmé Fashion Week x FDCI. The CDC winner will receive funding worth INR 15 Lakhs, CDC Trophy, and a six-month mentorship program, along with a stand-alone showcase at Lakmé Fashion Week x FDCI in March 2024. The runner-up will receive funding worth INR 5 Lakhs and mentorship.

The winner and runner-up will be mentored by Orsola de Castro, Co-founder of Fashion Revolution and Creative Director of Estethica; this influential partnership will provide invaluable guidance to the designers. She will also conduct a masterclass for all the finalists.


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