STYLE
20/02/2018 12:57 GMT | Updated 20/02/2018 13:30 GMT

The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange: The Designers You Need To Get Behind

These are the creatives you need to know about.

The Duchess of Cambridge hosted a reception for a new initiative she is supporting that aims to bring 52 Commonwealth designers together in celebration of sustainable fashion. 

Launched by Eco Age, the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange will have a “positive impact on female empowerment and poverty reduction,” said the organisation’s founder, Livia Firth.

The Duchess wore a black and white floral print dress as she hosted the event on behalf of the Queen, along with the Countess of Wessex. 

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The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at Kensington palace to host the reception for the Commonwealth fashion Exchange. 

Among the 52 designers are some recognisable names, along with artisans and young designers from places as far afield as Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Malawi.

The designers stand out for their continued efforts using fashion as a platform for change, like International UN Ambassador Bibi Russell. Russell is an ex model and designer who created a collection for Action Aid’s Survivor Runway in October 2017. 

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Bibi Russell designed a vibrant collection for Columbo Fashion Week in March 2017. 

Another designer to look out for is artisan label NKWO, by Nigerian-born Nkwo Unwuka, whose designs can be found on trendy ecommerce site Not Just A Label. 

Nkwo is dedicated to promoting a positive image of Africa through her work, and focuses on re-introducing traditional techniques into modern designs for an international audience. 

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Flying the flag for Britain are Burberry and Stella McCartney, both fashion giants with international followings. McCartney, in particular, champions sustainable fashion and is known for pioneering the anti-fur movement within the fashion industry. 

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Stella McCartney is representing Britain in the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange, along with Burberry. 

Named after the Hindi word for ‘sisters’, Behno has the mission of redefining the perception of sustainability and ethics in fashion at the core of its brand. 

Though the label is based in New York, all garments are ethically manufactured in Asia. Behno will be collaborating with a New Zealand-based collective of Tuvalu women artisans.

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Haute Baso is a collective of young Rwandan designers who’ll be working with Ihato artisan of the same community for this showcase. It is also a platform that trains and develops talent from the local area, harnessing traditional techniques in celebration of Rwandan heritage. 

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Designer Sydney Davies was a child refugee during the Sierra Leone civil war and grew to be one of the most watched young designers to enter the London Fashion scene. 

Davies has been producing her collections in her home country, utilising the talents of local craftspeople to shine a positive light on her community. Her designs are always sustainably made and ethically sourced.