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Beyond the Bale : March 2018
The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, has lent her support to a new initiative that highlights the sustainability and artisanal fashion skills within the fashion industries of Commonwealth countries. As part of the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange, selected designers representing all 53 Commonwealth member countries presented their specially created ‘looks’ at a unique reception at Buckingham Palace during London Fashion Week in February. Hosted on the behalf of the Queen by the Duchess of Cambridge – one of the UK’s most influential female style icons – along with other royalty including Sophie the Countess of Wessex and attended by leaders in the fashion and sustainability industries, the event showcased wool as a natural, renewable and biodegradable fibre. The designers included major names Burberry representing the UK, Australian label KitX, and Karen Walker representing New Zealand. The designs were also given a public exhibition at Australia House and then moved on to other locations in London in the run up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit in April. The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange was developed by brand consultancy Eco-Age, headed by Livia Firth, in partnership with AWI’s marketing subsidiary The Woolmark Company and Swarovski. MATCHESFASHION. COM will launch an edited collection of the designers’ outfits in September, giving consumers worldwide the opportunity to buy these unique wool garments. The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange is particularly timely as a global wave of interest in handmade products and authentic luxury causes a reassessment of the artisan fashion trades. “As a company that markets a premium natural fibre, AWI is very proud to be supporting this important project,” said AWI CEO Stuart McCullough. “Australian wool has been cultivated by generations of Australian woolgrowers who care for their sheep and work tirelessly to protect and conserve the extensive pastures on which their flocks graze. “It is important that AWI is active in the sustainability arena to clearly demonstrate the eco-credentials of wool. By supporting this global initiative, AWI is highlighting Merino wool as a natural, renewable and biodegradable fibre to a cross section of the world’s most influential designers – and helping secure validity for Merino’s eco-argument from respected experts and ambassadors in the field of sustainability. “Wool continues to be an important premium ingredient in the global fashion industry. It is therefore exciting to work with Livia Firth and Eco-Age to see their principles of sustainable excellence applied across the entire collections in this initiative and pleasing to see so much of our natural fibre, wool, being used.” Marrying ethics with aesthetics, Eco-Age is a globally respected brand consultancy working at the cutting edge of sustainability. Its founder and Creative Director is Livia Firth, wife of actor Colin Firth, who is a UN Leader of Change and has been recognised with the UN Fashion 4 Development Award. “This is a project rich in partnerships and creative co-design,” she said. “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 majority of the population of the Commonwealth is under the age of 30 so we needed to find something that spoke to the millennials, the young people.” MORE INFORMATION www.eco-age.com/ commonwealth-fashion-exchange COMMONWEALTH CHAMPIONS WOOL IN SUSTAINABLE FASHION Wool has been showcased as the green thread in sustainable fashion at a special event held at Buckingham Palace as part of a new initiative called the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange. The Duchess of Cambridge talking with designer Karen Walker who collaborated with craftspeople from the Cook Islands on the design (left) made from Woolmark -certified wool flannel – at the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange reception at Buckingham Palace on 19 February. PHOTO: Eddie Mulholland/Getty Images. 8 OFF FARM
In the Shops - March 2018