The Commonwealth is to celebrate fashion across its 52 countries for the first time with the launch of the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange, an initiative from Liv Firth’s Eco-Age that aims to highlight the power and potential of artisan fashion skills to deliver new networks, trade links and sustainability.
The initiative will see fashion talent and artisan producers from 52 countries coming together in London, ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London this April, as a way of showcasing the wealth of design and artisan fashion talent across the Commonwealth.
Design talent set to take part includes Burberry and Stella McCartney, who will be representing the UK, Karen Walker representing New Zealand and Bibi Russell for Bangladesh.
The first looks from the designer-producer partnership will be showcased at a special reception set to take place at Buckingham Palace during London Fashion Week in February, which will be attended by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge and HRH The Countess of Wessex.
The looks will then be displayed at Australia House in London from February 21, and in other locations across London, where the exhibition will be open to the public in the run-up to Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in April.
In addition, the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange will have a dedicated platform on Google Arts and Culture, giving a global audience access to the looks in an online exhibition along with the stories of these extraordinary partnerships and a directory full of extra resources.
Commonwealth Fashion Exchange launches to promote fashion talent and artisan producers
The Right Honourable Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, said: “The modern Commonwealth is young and creative. It represents a third of the world’s population, 60 percent of whom are under the age of 30. So fashion, alongside music and sport, represents a powerful common language and platform through which to influence young people around key issues.
“The Fashion Exchange has collaboration and partnership at its heart, forging new networks and making the Commonwealth Summit themes of prosperity, sustainability and fairness very real and tangible.”
The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange has been launched in partnership with Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and Matches Fashion, who will launch an edited collection in September this year, while Firth’s Eco-Age will manage the initiative.
Livia Firth, founder and creative director of Eco-Age, added: “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.”
Daniel Hatton, chief executive and founder of The Commonwealth Fashion Council, said: “The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange is the beautiful result of cultures coming together. This project has provided a common sustainable ground which broadens networks and allows for the discovery of new friendships and processes, which enriches creativity.”
Image: via Eco-Age website