The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange
Established and emerging fashion talent from across the Commonwealth’s 53 countries showcase the power and potential of artisan fashion skills to deliver new networks, trade links and highlight sustainability
For the first time, The Commonwealth comes together to showcase a wealth of design and artisan fashion talent across its 53 countries. Selected design talent includes major names such as Karen Walker representing New Zealand, Bibi Russell representing Bangladesh and Burberry and Stella McCartney representing the UK.
Participating designers and artisans will collectively represent all 53 commonwealth member countries in a major new initiative ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London this April. The ‘looks’ created through the Fashion Exchange were showcased at a special reception at Buckingham Palace during London Fashion Week in February.
The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange is an ambitious project with long term aims, that is being developed in partnership with Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and MATCHESFASHION.COM, who will launch an edited collection in September this year.
Livia Firth, founder and creative director of Eco-Age, says: “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.”
The project is particularly timely as a global wave of interest in handmade products and authentic luxury causes a reassessment of the artisan fashion trades. In this way, The Fashion Exchange brings the values of the modern-day Commonwealth – women’s empowerment, ethical production and supply chains, innovation, economic growth and poverty reduction – to life through the globally appealing medium of fashion.
The initial looks will be celebrated during London Fashion Week at a reception at Buckingham Palace on February 19th, before moving to a public exhibition at Australia House on February 21st, and other locations in London where the exhibition will be open to the public in the run up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit, April 2018.