Duchess and Countess to Host Commonwealth Fashion Exchange Reception

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Commonwealth Fashion Exchange Case Study - Sierra Leone and Ghana

The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange Reception at Buckingham Palace

Monday 19th February, 2018

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge and HRH The Countess of Wessex will host a reception at Buckingham Palace on behalf of The Queen during London Fashion Week to celebrate and showcase a new creative initiative – the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange.

Launched on the 1st February by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange aims to create partnerships between established and emerging talent from across the 52 member countries, in the lead up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London this April.

The initiative uses fashion as a common language and platform to help people understand the modern Commonwealth in a different way. It will celebrate creativity, sustainable production and manufacturing, trade links and ethical supply chains across the fashion industry, from business and design to textile and fabric design and manufacturing, to craft and artisan skills.

Over the last six months, major fashion designers such as Stella McCartney (UK), Karen Walker (New Zealand) and Bibi Russell (Bangladesh) have partnered with artisan producers in small nations who exemplify traditional handcraft techniques and trades, with a view to creating a ‘skills exchange’. The reception at Buckingham Palace will showcase the best of Commonwealth contemporary fashion and creativity with an exhibition of some of the bespoke fashion ‘looks’ which are the result of these exchanges.

A global audience will also have access to view the designs through an online exhibition to be created on the Google Arts and Culture website. This platform will create a new community and network, which includes an evolving directory of artisans and designers from across the Commonwealth countries.

The Reception will bring together influential people from across the global fashion
industry, including designers, manufacturers, textile producers, and craftspeople.

Map of Commonwealth Fashion Exchanges (by region)The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange is an initiative which focuses on highlighting talent from across the 52 Commonwealth countries. The Exchange has been created by Ego-
Age, a consultancy which is working in partnership with the global fashion industry towards a sustainable future, in partnership with The Commonwealth Fashion Council, and with support from The British Fashion Council and NEST, a global NGO building a new economy and network for handworkers and artisans preserving cultural traditions and improving wellbeing and compliance.

Following a selection and matching process, designers and artisans were asked to produce a fashion ‘look’ showcasing the creative skill and design ethos, in keeping with core sustainable values set out in the Green Carpet Challenge Principles of Sustainable Excellence. The partnerships highlight traditional heritage, skills, craftsmanship and industry, as well as innovation and technology.

Commonwealth Fashion Exchange Case Study - Sierra Leone and GhanaThe Commonwealth is a network of 52 member countries which are bound by a common set of values and a shared mission to improve the wellbeing of all 2.4 billion Commonwealth citizens across the globe. The Commonwealth has achieved a great amount since its creation 68 years ago and remains a global beacon for democracy, human rights and the rule of law. As a voluntary network, the Commonwealth relies on soft power to effect change. Its authority comes from agreement and its influence from persuasion. As Head of the Commonwealth since she ascended the throne in 1953, Her Majesty The Queen has seen the organisation grow from 11 members to 52. Baroness Patricia Scotland is the 6th Secretary General of the Commonwealth, which covers a third of the world’s population – 2.4 billion citizens, 60% under the age of 30.

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