Anya Baranova, Jessica Jay, Bridie McCree and Georgia Rahui are Year 4 students whose proposals were accepted to the 2018 Youth Fashion Summit (YFS) to be held from 13-15 May in Copenhagen. YFS is “a platform for students passionate about a sustainable world with fashion as leverage and gives the opportunity to influence the decisions made today that impact the world of tomorrow – it is the voice of the next generation.” 100 students out of 300 total applicants were selected from universities all over the world to be part of the event.
Project Assistant for YFS Julie Kielland comments, “This year all applications represented a very high level of expertise within the whole value chain, so unfortunately we had to turn many qualified applicants down, since we only have space for 100 participants in the programme. In the selection process, we have had a set of criteria in order to make a fair selection, which is to bring in a variety of institutions, programmes, countries, nationalities and to have a wide range of expertise within the fashion industries to meet the purpose of YFS.”
YFS and the United Nations Global Compact have joined together to form a partnership “which sets out to challenge the 100 most talented students in the fashion industry to create a framework for the industry on how to reach two of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), namely SDG 3 (to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages) and SDG 5 (to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls).”
This is the second time Whitecliffe students have been invited to the event. BFA and Master of Fine Arts - Fashion Sustainability graduates Sofija Butler, Benjamin Farry, and Courtney Harper attended the 2016 edition of YFS. Whitecliffe HoD Fashion Design Belinda Watt also facilitated a working sustainability focus group for participating students during the summit.
Sofija Butler spoke of her experience at the 2016 YFS event and its effect on her sustainable design practice coming back to New Zealand:
“I was really grateful for the experience of traveling to Copenhagen for the Youth Fashion Summit in 2016. It was fascinating as a follow-on from our Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia trip to India to interact and discuss what sustainability means to the students from different cultures. At Whitecliffe, we were coming from a large focus on natural materials and dyes in terms of working towards a biodegradable end of life for the garment (Cradle to Cradle). I approach sustainability as a design challenge, designing garments that presented aesthetically but were produced sustainably. This was contrasted when talking to the European students who often had a focus on recyclable synthetic materials, with a goal of working towards a future where materials can be infinitely recycled - circularity.
Coming from the opposite side of the world, we are in some senses quite removed from their trends of thinking. We look to them for academic resources, but I found that the distance meant that in my focus group, I was able to provide a more objective view. For example, I wasn't hoping to be employed by a large fashion house or fast fashion company and I felt less obligated to sweep my cynicisms of their actions (and inactions) aside.
I came back to New Zealand filled with positivity about our little industry, where we start small businesses with big ideas and then export them to the world. Since my return from that trip I have been noticing the world take notice of us in our smaller sustainable designer brands and recognising that we have a unique perspective- our No. 8 wire approach to future problem solving, as well as the strong relationship building with our local suppliers.”
Whitecliffe wishes the students all the best for their travels!
Please click here for information about the summit.
Image caption (l-r): Jessica Jay, Anya Baranova, Bridie McCree, Georgia Rahui