The ‘Circular Design Challenge’ – a collaboration of Reliance Industries Ltd.’s (RIL) R|Elan ‘Fashion for Earth’ initiative, Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) and United Nations (UN) in India, has shortlisted eight designers based on innovative collections made by them using waste materials like plastics. This will be India’s first sustainability award in fashion. The aim of the ‘Circular Design Challenge’ initiative is to bring to the forefront environmental champions of tomorrow in the Indian fashion and textiles industry, according to my IMG Reliance, an equal joint venture between RIL and IMG Worldwide (IMG), global leaders in sports, events, media and fashion.

Circular fashion is a concept aimed to reduce the waste that goes into landfills today and increase the lifespan, reusability and recyclability of the products created. The finalists– Pozruh by Aiman Sabri, Bareek by Aman Singh, IRO IRO by Bhaavya Goenka, I Was A Sari by Poornima Pande & Stefano Funari, Lifaffa by Kanika Ahuja, Saltpetre by Pooja Monga, Miesu by Seerat Virdi and Doodlage by Kriti Tula, were chosen after a rigorous selection process by an eminent jury. The challenge saw over 900 registrations from over 30 cities across the country.

The designers were required to incorporate circular components across the textile value chain in their design through the application of circular-design principles and demonstrate a positive impact on the environment and on society. They were evaluated and scored on usage of waste in their collection, fashion & aesthetic quotient, business viability/scalability, value chain and collaborations. Going forward, the chosen applicants will be mentored across personality, pitch and presentation development. The winner will be felicitated with a grand cash prize of `20 lakh on January 31, 2019, which is celebrated as Sustainable Fashion Day at LFW Summer Resort 2019. The cash prize will help the winner build their sustainable fashion brand, and avail an exclusive opportunity to showcase at the next season of LFW Winter/Festive 2019.

“As an industry leader in petrochemicals, RIL has embraced circularity and sustainability in our core values and operations, aiming to make the world a better place for the generations to come,” said Vipul Shah, COO – petrochemicals, RIL.

“We are confident that the Circular Design Challenge will provide enormous opportunities for budding concept creators, fashion designers and the entire textile value chain to exhibit their innovative ideas, designs with a focus on circularity and sustainability. The initiative will help the entire Indian textile value chain to become a global leader in ingraining circularity in their business strategy and operations,” Shah added.

“The Circular Design Challenge is an opportunity for innovative young designers to combine sustainable design practices with new circular business models, rethinking how we design our products for their next use — not for ‘end of life,’ but rather ‘end of use’,” said Yuri Afanasiev, UN resident coordinator in India.

“Total greenhouse gas emissions from textiles production, at 1.2 bn tonnes annually, are more than those of all international flights and maritime shipping combined. Creative approaches such as ‘The Circular Design Challenge’ are a perfect opportunity to promote sustainable textile production and consumption and accelerate sustainable development in general,” said Atul Bagai, UN environment, Country Head, India.

“We are committed to bringing new design talent and innovators to the fore season-on-season. Our partnership with the UN in India and R|Elan’s ‘Fashion for Earth’ initiative for the Circular Design Challenge is a step towards identifying and supporting champions in the field of sustainability,” said Jaspreet Chandok, Vice President and Head of Fashion at IMG Reliance.