STYLE CHECK JING ZHANG
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Hong Kong design awards and Ford Motors team up to go green

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 January, 2015, 6:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 January, 2015, 6:00am

While fashion weeks are steaming ahead in the European capitals, closer to home we've been looking at sustainability in fashion at The Redress Forum (where I spoke as a panellist) and their EcoChic Design Awards during Hong Kong Fashion Week last week.

Kevin Germanier from Switzerland won the top prize at the contest with his sophisticated, high-fashion silhouettes in cool, muted tones.

One interesting addition this year is the new partnership with Ford Motors. Ten young designers from around Asia and Europe took part in a Project Runway-style upcycling competition called the Ford Design Challenge, where they were asked to transform sustainable materials used in Ford vehicles into stylish and innovative fashion pieces.

"It was really interesting because the materials used were all from their cars, and the result was a lot more sculptural design," says Christina Dean, founder and director of Redress.

Winners here were the team of Veronica Lee from Malaysia and Amandah Andersson from Sweden, who created a layered dress in an earthy colour palette consisting entirely of fabrics taken from the seat of a Ford. The outfit was, according to the designers, inspired by "the bamboo scaffolding at the Hong Kong Legislative Council".

It might seem strange that a car company is so interested in green fashion, but both industries share the pressing issue of addressing the high levels of pollution they produce.

Ford has long invested in research to use recycled materials (such as plastic bottles, denim and kenaf) in its cars and developing ways to decrease industrial waste. In a consumer society, partnerships such as these can seem uneasy, but even a little progress in the way materials and products are used and designed can make a major impact in the long run.

While this was happening in Hong Kong, the world's business elite last week gathered in Davos, Switzerland for the annual World Economic Forum - hosting 2,500 participants from more than 100 countries.

Although fashion was not on the agenda, one of the key issues was climate change and pollution. Former US vice-president Al Gore and singer Pharrell Williams even took to the stage to issue serious warnings about our climate. I wonder if they addressed those 1,700 private jets flying into Davos for the summit?