The Fashion Exchange

Designers and artisans from across the Commonwealth's 53 countries worked together to produce a fashion ‘look’ showcasing the creative skill and design ethos of each partner and country.
New Zealand designer Karen Walker with artisan Tukua, who's part of Kūki ‘Airani Creative Māmās from the Cook Islands
By Eco-Age

The Fashion Exchange focuses on talent from the 53 Commonwealth countries. Each exchange partnership was sent a brief with the Green Carpet Challenge® (GCC®) Principles of Sustainable Excellence and asked to produce a fashion 'look' which showcases the creative skill and design ethos of each partner.

Because we so often fail to acknowledge the hands behind the clothes, handwork and the handwork economy has become devalued and vulnerable and it has never been more vital to raise its profile. Not least because uplifting standards and protections in the artisan fashion trades gives us the opportunity to directly address pivotal issues such as women’s rights and poverty reduction.

“I find it important to recognise the intersectionality of fashion and how so many hands come together to produce beautiful pieces."

- Designer Karen Walker, New Zealand

A highly collaborative programme, The Fashion Exchange utilises The Commonwealth’s reach to address some of the pressing issues of our age. The programme has been carefully constructed and managed to help address pivotal issues: gender equality, ethical production and supply chains, innovation, economic growth and poverty reduction.

One of the main aims is to help unlock the potential of the artisan fashion trades which have direct positive impact on female empowerment and poverty reduction.

Some of the clearest and most influential progress in shifting the focus of fashion to environmental and social justice has been made by working directly with designers, who are heavily invested in bringing about positive change for their industry. The Fashion Exchange harnesses the commitment of fashion designers from across the Commonwealth but also increases access to sustainable fashion tools, theory, support and direct experience among the artisan fashion trades. A core aim is to spread technical support for environmental change among producers.

The Exchanges















The Fashion Exchange