Karen Walker and Artisan

The Fashion Exchange

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



Bibi Russell

Behind the scenes 

Brunei x Singapore

Na Forrer x Lully Selb

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India x Tuvalu

behno x Fafine Niutao I Aotearoa

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Bernard Chandran

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Sri Lanka

Buddhi Batiks

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Rizwan Beyg

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Botswana x Swaziland

iZAURA x Quazi Design

Behind the scenes

Cameroon x United Republic of Tanzania

Kibonen New York x Makory Mgece

Behind the scenes

Kenya x Zambia / Kenya

Deepa Dosaja x Mumwa Crafts Association / Artisan Fashion

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Mozambique x Mauritius

Zinzi de Brouwer x Beautiful Local Hands

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Nigeria x Malawi

NKWO x Joel Suya

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Rwanda x Uganda

Haute Baso x Ihato

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Sierra Leone x Ghana / The Gambia

Sydney-Davies x Big Dread Kente / Ousman Toure, Continent Clothing

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South Africa x Lesotho

Clive Rundle x House of Thethana

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Cyprus x Kiribati

Afroditi Hera x The Kiribati Handicraft Association

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United Kingdom


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Malta x India

Charles and Ron x Khushboo

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United Kingdom x India

Stella McCartney x Oshadi

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Australia x Solomon Islands

Kitx x Pasifik Creations

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Fiji x Vanuatu / Seychelles

Hepfeld Hoerder Designs x Tousong Kalsong, Liza Garo and Marie Rorou / Rolan & Anna Payet

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New Zealand x Cook Islands

Karen Walker x Kuki Airani Creative Mamas

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Samoa x Papua New Guinea

Afa Ah Loo

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Tonga x Nauru

Bou Founa x Rendina Edwards

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Tanya Taylor

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Canada x Namibia

Lucien Matis x Omba Arts Trust

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Jamaica x Belize

drennaLUNA x MayaBags

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St. Kitts and Nevis x Grenada

Iridescent Fashion x Neisha La Touche

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St. Vincent and The Grenadines x Saint Lucia

Fashion is Payne x Designs by Nadia

Behind the scenes

Trinidad and Tobago x Dominica

Meiling x Vanessa Winston

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The Bahamas x Barbados

Theodore Elyett x Catherine Rocheford

Behind the scenes