2020 has been a calamity on our timeline: Pandemic; lockdown; masks; restrictions; distance; protests; cancellations; tests; voting; a climate crisis. The globe has become unnervingly contingent, we find ourselves living in the ruins of ‘normality’, swimming against the tide of a fragility we once defined as ‘life’. Yet fashion has defied this. In the year of universal struggle, heartbreak and pain, the fashion industry has fought for positive change. The Fashion Awards 2020 spotlights this, ‘celebrating leaders of change’ and recognising those within the industry who are striving for a greater future. 20 honourees have been recognised under four categories: Environment, Community, People and Creativity.
A SAI TAis an East Asian designer who uses design as a cultural reflection, using fashion as a medium to tell stories of his heritage. ‘Actively Standing Against Injustice’, A SAI TA has been awarded for his support of the Black Lives Matter movement, his determination to end systematic racism within the fashion community and, subsequently, work towards creating a nicer and more inclusive community.
CHANEL was awarded for ‘contribution to positive change’, supporting manufacturing of PPE and donating funds to aid the pandemic. In addition to this, Chanel are striving towards reducing their carbon footprint, launching the strategy CHANEL Misson 1.5°.
Emergency Designer Network are recognised for their response to the pandemic. Helping to create 500,000 surgical gowns and 10,000 sets of scrubs they have created a community to help the NHS during a time of need.
Kenneth Lze has been recognised for his support of communities across Nigeria, specifically weavers, artisans and design groups. His support of local talent is extraordinary.
Michael Halpern used his London Fashion Week spotlight to celebrate the frontline workers of the NHS. His piece was an inspiring collaboration between fashion and humanity and, in a time known only for its bleakness, was a poignant display of the power of fashion.
Anya Hindmarch is an environmentalist who dedicated herself to helping to reduce waste in fashion’s supply chain. Her campaigns ‘I’m not a plastic bag’, ‘I am a Plastic Bag’ and ‘Waste Not, Want Not’ threw crucial light on fashion industry’s responsibility to the environment. She also created the NHS Holdster and reusable, washable gowns for the NHS in response to the Pandemic.
Christopher Raeburn is recognised for his dedication to and craft with upcycling surplus fabrics. His creativity and passion saw him begin the vital process of re-defining luxury fashion, breaking the barriers between the old and the new.
Gabriela Hearst created the first ever carbon-neutral catwalk presentation in SS20, a ground-breaking step towards a cleaner, brighter fashion industry.
Stella McCartney has created a brand woven with creativity and sustainability. Her dedication to sustainable fashion, using fabric innovation and circulariy, paves the way for designers and buyers alike, with the brand proving that luxury fashion need not be un-ethical.
The Fashion Pact works on the practicality environmentally positive fashion. Representing over 200 brands, The Fashion Pact unites the fashion industry to create practical, realistic steps forward towards a better future.
Aurora James is recognised for her campaign to promote Black-owned businesses. Calling on retailers to dedicate 15% of shelf space to Black owned brands, Aurora James is recognised for her commitment to equality, support and inclusivity.
Edward Enninful is awarded for his contribution towards diversity within British Vogue. Using his platform for vital change, his dedication to vital representation within the media is outstanding.
Lindsay Peoples Wagner and Sandrine Charles were honoured for their creation of the Black in Fashion Council. Unifying a group of fashion industry individuals, the council is a leading initiative to bring diversity, inclusion and accountability within the fashion industry.
Priya Ahluwalia used her platform to raise awareness around the challenges of the Black community, especially in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Samuel Ross is honoured for his response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Creator of the Black Lives Matter Financial Aid Scheme, he aided the movement from a financial perspective.
Grace Wales Bonner is awarded for her challenging and supporting of race and Black culture within fashion. Her designs illuminate African Culture and challenge the identity norms of the Black male in fashion. She is also fundamental in encouraging the progression of the Black female in fashion.
Jonathon Anderson created ‘show-in-a-box’ and ‘show-on-the-wall’ in response to the restrictions imposed by Covid-19on Fashion Week. His innovative and creative solutions to the Pandemic proved him to be a thrilling yet conscious designer.
Kim Jones is awarded for his dedication to creativity. Recently recognised with an honour from the Queen HRH, his collections push boundaries and spotlight him as an incredible designer.
Prada, Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons are awarded for their demonstration of the power of creativity and community.
Riccardo Tisci and Burberry were recognised for their values of inclusivity and sustainability. Their Fashion Week presentation and involvement in COVID-19 highlights them as a brand committed to social responsibility and society.
Words by Hannah Emery