Buckingham Palace opened its doors last week to 53 member countries of the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange for a reception hosted by Eco-Age, with celebrity vegan fashion icon and designer Stella McCartney in attendance as the UK representative.
The event fell during London Fashion Week and is meant to “celebrate sustainable production and manufacturing, as well as ethical supply chains across the fashion industry,” the Royal Family’s site notes. “Looks” created through the Fashion Exchange were showcased during the event, which was “hosted on behalf of the queen, who has been head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign,” Elle reports. The queen also recently took a stand against plastic straws, which have been identified as one of the leading causes of plastic debris in the world’s oceans.
“This is a project rich in partnerships and creative co-design. For example, one of our very talented designers from India is paired with an artisan group in Tuvalu,” Livia Firth, founder and creative director of Eco-Age, says on the group’s website. “As someone who is passionate about joining the threads of global fashion and creating real partnerships you can imagine how exciting it is for us to be involved.”
At Buckingham with a capital B tonight! x Stella Held at Buckingham Palace, the #CommonwealthFashionExchange was established as a celebration of emerging fashion talent and showcases work from across 53 countries with an aim to highlight artisan skills and promote sustainability within the industry. We designed and displayed a dress in a peace silk developed with Oshadi that was hand-woven in a co-operative based in Southern India.
According to Eco-Age, the project comes as interest in handmade and “authentic” luxury products have caused “a reassessment of the artisan fashion trades,” the site notes. “In this way, The Fashion Exchange brings the values of the modern-day Commonwealth – women’s empowerment, ethical production and supply chains, innovation, economic growth and poverty reduction – to life through the globally appealing medium of fashion.”
Stella McCartney has been a fervent supporter of all manner of ethical fashion — from her supply chain and production to employing technologies and using breakthrough fabrics that produce less of an impact on the environment. Chief among her commitments is avoiding any animal-based fabrics or textiles.
“I started in one place, but now the environment, what we eat, how we conduct ourselves, and how we consume, those links have been made,” the designer told Vogue last October. “The information is out there, and that’s what feels exciting. The reality of the impact this industry has on the environment is something people can really see.”