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EFF SOURCE Fashion business success without compromise

5 July 2016

Future Innovators: 10 Student Approaches To Sustainable Fashion

Contributor Ethical Fashion Forum

Fiona Cartmel - GFW 2016


We’ve compiled a visual showcase of the 10 runners up and winners of the 2016 Graduate Fashion Week Ethical Award, which we run in partnership with Vivienne Westwood. Scroll down to sign in and download as a pdf.


At the Ethical Fashion Forum, we believe strongly in investing in the next generation of fashion graduates to lead a more sustainable future for our industry. As such, we are proud to support Graduate Fashion Week by sponsoring the Ethical Award in partnership with Vivienne Westwood.

It has been a pleasure to see the Award grow in popularity, and in 2016 we had more submissions than ever before. These submissions showed both innovative thinking and thorough research into the issues around sustainability.

About the award

This year Dame Vivienne Westwood has come on board as a patron of the Ethical Award and of Graduate Fashion Week itself. Her backing of this award is significant for the sustainability agenda in fashion and demonstrates the importance of this award for students.

The winner of the Ethical Award benefits from a studio internship at Vivienne Westwood, one of the most respected ateliers in the world, while the top three students also gain access to 12 months of membership to the SOURCE platform to help support them as they launch their careers.

Ethical Award – This Year’s Trends

Amongst the submissions for the 2016 Ethical Award, we saw extensive research into new, sustainable materials and design techniques – a natural area of exploration for students.

From growing leather alternatives out of kombucha and fungi, through to upcycling wasted tents, and using lasers to replicate sandblasting, there was a clear interest in material innovation and the use of technology to improve design.

We also saw several projects that focused on high street retailers and how they could pivot their business model to promote greater sustainability. Concepts included supporting local initiatives in the communities in which they work, and building strong, creative campaigns to promote more conscious consumerism.

Business in 3-Dimensions

A 3 dimensional approach to business is part of the judging criteria for the Graduate Fashion Week Ethical Award.

We define 3 dimensional business as giving equal value to financial, social and environmental considerations, and integrating this across all parts of business strategy.

When fashion businesses can strike a balance between all three elements – people, planet, and profit – we will begin to see some truly exciting business models emerge.

Sign in below to download the shortlisted Top Ten submissions for the Vivienne Westwood Ethical Award 2016 and be inspired by thinking and design that pushes the boundaries of what we know as an industry.

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