The world today is burdened by the problem each garment brings forth to strain the environment and every fashion supply chain is crying out for a solution. In a bold move, Colombo Fashion Week (CFW) in association with the Responsible Fashion Movement (RFM), after months of research and behind-the-scenes work has come out with a specific action-oriented impact on each garment presented on the ramp, under a program titled Responsibility In Fashion. This program epitomizes our journey towards circularity and out attempt to leave a positive mark on the environment. For this to happen, each participating designer was taken through training sessions (which still continue as this is a new journey for them and it will move from phase to phase through the year).
Hence, garments will carry a Responsible score which tells its story to the consumer. This dialogue is an important one as it increases knowledge and awareness among fashion consumers and builds an eco-system to create and consume Responsible Fashion.
Increasing life span and decreasing disposal is being kept at the forefront of the design process this season, hence each designer is designing with a disposal mindset. Each designer is encouraged to appreciate their creative piece more while designing the patterns, so that periodically he/she can enhance the garments life and with this, their relationship with the creative piece does not end after one transaction but continues.
The current issue the garment faces in its journey with the consumer, is that it gets devalued with every wear or if not sold at the opportune time it faces the trial of ‘SALE’ at retail. CFW x Responsible Fashion Movement came forward to do the opposite, that is, to enhance the value and not allow devaluation. Three key impact-based action points will be implemented on every garment presented on the ramp of Colombo Fashion Week SUMMER 2020. Every participating designer has pledged to follow the program and are advancing on this journey. This is a testimony of every garment and a showcase of its journey of Responsibility, Accountability and Transparency.
The 3 actionable impacts are as follows:
Each garment presented on the ramp this season comes with a Garment Enhancement Guarantee. Each garment and designer has a different plan that prolongs the life of the garment. This also allows the designers to continue their relationship with the garment as well as allows for the fashion consumer to enjoy the creative pieces by adding more value to that garment. This is an important aspect of slowing down consumption and enhancing perceptual value of the fashion garment.
Currently, garments are created without much thought given to its negative effect on the environment during its production, use and when it is discarded. At CFW this season, we encourage our designers to think through the life of a garment and design in a way that the garment acts as a solution and minimizes its negative impact on the environment. Therefore, this process enhances and makes the design process rich with creative thinking.
Disposal is an important part of every garment designed that is shown at Colombo Fashion Week (CFW) this season. This places special onus on the designer to think of the life of the garment in its entirety and the possibility of re-purposing its use after the fashion consumer has enjoyed its experience with the garment. The repurposing or giving new life to the garment into another form is an extension of the creative process as it transitions from one design piece to another. This impact-based action plan encourages circularity which reduces the fashion industry’s negative effect on the environment.
The fashion consumer has a choice of returning the garment after reuse to the designer who will offer value for the next purchase. This policy makes the designer and their design process accountable. This expression is a testimony of completing a process where the creative piece returns to its creator after it has completed its journey with the consumer. The designer then plans disposal and re-use in a Responsible manner being conscious of minimizing impact on the environment.
Apart from the above, CFW has created the Responsible Meter, which is an evaluation tool to assess the responsibility, accountability and transparency of each garment presented by the designer. Each garment will have a tag which will express its Responsible Score as per the evaluation system. Each designer has adapted the Responsible Meter to suit their brand and business model. We encourage all fashion consumers to check with their favorite designer to learn more about how he/she has adapted the Responsible Meter.
This cutting-edge evaluation system is first-of-its-kind in the world; it evaluates the Responsible journey of every garment presented on the ramp. This scoring system celebrates the story behind each garment that is created by the designer. Each garment is being evaluated on three broad pillars which are further broken down into 10-point system. The three broad pillars are Environmental wellbeing, Societal wellbeing and Organizational wellbeing. After the first evaluation the meter moves towards Phase 2 of the process. The progressive nature of this evaluation builds knowledge through experience for each designer to further immerse themselves in this path of being Responsible, Accountable and Transparent in their design process, in their supply chain and in their interaction with fashion consumers.
A special emphasis is being placed on educating fashion consumers in the city on the core theme of Responsibility in Fashion as they are an important stakeholder in creating an eco-system that makes responsible fashion flourish and create a culture of Responsibility where consumers encourage designers to create more responsibly.
Colombo Fashion Week is a developmental project that aims to drive progressive change in every aspect of the fashion industry in Sri Lanka. A movement that started in 2003, Colombo Fashion Week has, in a systematic manner, created formats that demand transformation across the key pillars that would define a fashion industry. Colombo Fashion Week’s mission is to establish, develop and maintain an efficient fashion eco-system that incubates the best of Sri Lankan fashion design before it is presented to the world. Colombo Fashion Week carries a mantle and a responsibility towards Sri Lanka’s fashion design industry as the voice of fashion in Sri Lanka and has come to be known as the backbone of the industry.