In the space of just a season or two, the momentum has really picked up with fashion companies, industry stakeholders, and consumers taking action toward environmental sustainability. More than ever, I noticed a collective consciousness emerging. Even in China—a country known for its consumption and an insatiable appetite for luxury—the mood is changing, and it all starts with education.
This Shanghai Fashion Week, I was invited to speak at the Shan Future Forum about “Positive Fashion” together with Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council. The forum and panel were hosted by Shaway Yeh, a dear friend and a passionate advocate for sustainability in China.
Yeh opened the panel with a talk entitled “Responsible Consumption and Production,” showing the audience her Together Band bracelet, which, as one of the organization’s ambassadors, I had given her. Together Band is an incredible global campaign that seeks to raise awareness around the UN’s 17 global goals spearheaded by Cameron Saul and Oli Wayman, who also founded Bottletop, a sustainable accessories brand.
Over the coming days at Shanghai Fashion Week, I had the opportunity to meet and talk to many talented and up-and-coming Chinese designers. As a patron of the arts, particularly in these transitioning times, when the state of the world can seem overwhelming, I believe it is so important to continue supporting fashion as an art form. Creativity is a universal language; it inspires, unites, and employs millions of people around the world as well as shapes our everyday culture.
Later that week, I was invited to join the advisory board for Labelhood—an independent showcasing platform for designers during Shanghai Fashion Week. An event for Labelhood was cohosted by Harrods and Queennie Yang, and took place at the Harrods Residence at Middle House. I’m especially passionate about supporting China’s rising stars and was happy to learn that many of them are seeking help to ensure their supply chain and marketing language support mindful business practices. Alongside Michael Ward (managing director of Harrods) and Andrew Keith (president of Lane Crawford) among others, we had the opportunity to each give the designers constructive feedback on their businesses and collections. Tasha Liu has done such a fantastic job curating, and it was lovely to see Shuting Qiu again, who was one of the finalists of the BoF China Prize. Some of my other label highlights include Feng Chen Wang, Windowsen, Yueqi Qi, Swaying, and M Super Avenir.
My last stop during Shanghai Fashion Week was a dinner hosted by the queen of sustainability, Stella McCartney, and Mytheresa. They were celebrating the launch of an 11-piece capsule collaboration. McCartney said something that really resonated with me in her speech that evening; “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” I felt this marked the beginning of my personal journey towards a more sustainable life.