EXCLUSIVE: RISE UP Sustainable Fashion Design Challenge Announces Finalists

What Happened: On July 28, mainland China’s only sustainable fashion award announced the three finalists for its 2022 edition. Initiated by Impact Hub Shanghai, RISE UP Sustainable Fashion Design Challenge seeks to scout and foster the next generation of designers who are reshaping the fashion landscape in a climate-conscious way. Sara Sozzani Maino, a driving force behind emerging designers and judge of the competition, stated: “These challenges are important to support the new generation and make the industry understand that the will is to be more responsible.”

Hanqing Ding, Aqua Lixun Su, and 022397Bluff are the three talents who made it to the final round out of 108 participants from 52 top fashion art schools in the world. The three winners will show their collection during Shanghai Fashion Week Spring 2023 in October this year. The top contestant will receive a $23,275 (150,000 RMB) cash prize.

The Jing Take: RISE Sustainable Fashion Lab disclosed to Jing Daily that compared to the previous edition, the participation rate has increased by over 60 percent. This means that there is a significant growth in climate awareness and interest in sustainable practices among young fashion designers. And exciting changes are coming from these future leaders, who are injecting new energy into the sector and presenting innovative approaches to the circular economy.

Royal College of Art MA graduate Hanqing Ding implements the concept of sustainability in its high end knitwear label throughout the whole production chain: from the initial stage of selecting renewable, degradable, and traceable yarn suppliers down to the consumer aftersale, providing repair and renewal services.

Hanqing Ding is best known for her weaving and knitwear. Photo: Courtesy

Meanwhile, Central Saint Martins alumna Aqua Lixun Su presents designs with cross-generation potential advocating the idea of ​​slow fashion. The integrated knitting techniques the brand applies have achieved zero waste in the production process, and the multi-purpose use of each garment helps the business avoid inventory pile-up.

Aqua Lixun Su encourages the multi-purpose use of her knitwear pieces. Photo: Courtesy

Lastly, Parisian-based 022397Blufffounded in 2019, brings the Chinese Miao ethnicity’s ancient craft of embroidery into the context of contemporary fashion while exclusively using natural materials and environmentally-friendly plant dyeing. The label offers a great example of how to celebrate intangible cultural heritage with sustainable practices.

022397Bluff draws inspiration from the Miao ethnicity’s way of embroidering. Photo: Courtesy

However, making it to the finals is only the beginning of the journey for these promising names. Whether they can be the stars of tomorrow will ultimately depend on how successfully they can commercialize — how their business ideas and sustainable concepts can be realistically applied and turn a profit. It will be tantalizing to see if RISE and Impact Hub Shanghai resources can support these lesser-known designers to expand in the consumer market and eventually become well-established houses.

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

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