Upcycled red carpet looks. DIY brands taking over Instagram. Luxury fashion houses growing bags in Petri dishes. These are the creative responses to the challenge of making new stuff in the midst of a climate calamity that keep us going.
We want to be part of this new frontier of fashion, which is why we’re launching a prize to discover, support and celebrate the next big names in environmentally minded design.
The RIISE Prize for Emerging Sustainable Designers is open to design students across the globe and will be judged by a panel of sustainable fashion leaders. The two winning designs – one menswear and one womenswear – will be featured in a major TV production and receive a cash prize of $1,000 USD. This is a huge opportunity to put your work in front of the eyes of millions and receive mentorship from our wardrobe team. Pretty cool, right?
“Recycle” is the theme of the inaugural edition of the RIISE Prize. We are on the lookout for design proposals that reuse existing materials in unique and innovative ways. What that looks like is up to you. Get creative with deadstock fabric, experiment with biomaterials, upcycle garments, repurpose waste or create new items out of by-products from other industries – your imagination is the limit. You can create something from scratch or reimagine an existing design using environmentally friendly materials; the only requirement is that nothing new goes into the garment’s construction.
The winning looks will play a starring role in RIISE’s upcoming environmental satire series, Big Oil. Set in the glossy, fictional offices of a big oil company, the show takes a comical swing at the fossil fuel industry. The womenswear designer will dress protagonist Natalie Cook – a 20-something sustainability manager on a mission to create change from the inside – and the menswear winner will dress Rodney Bramston Finch, who inherited the company and is blissfully unaware of climate change.
“The show has an elevated aesthetic, so drama and impact are key,” RIISE founder and CEO Sara Bell says.
“We want to celebrate the intersection of sustainability and luxury, proving that the most beautiful and ingenious work is born from designers who are dedicated to thinking about materials in new ways and exploring wholly original ways of approaching design.”
Image of Bridget Gao-Hollitt wearing the Venus Dress and Susan Bender Whitfield wearing the Collected Shirt by Zeinab Batchelor for RIISE
We’ve brought together a panel of globally renowned sustainable fashion experts to judge the entries, including British Vogue contributing editor Susan Bender Whitfield, Australian fashion designer and Esse Studios founder Charlotte Hicks, sustainable fashion consultant, journalist and author Lucianne Tonti, and creative director and luxury brand consultant Jsen Wintle.
To celebrate the competition’s launch, we sat down with Susan to talk about her sustainability journey, using comedy as a tool for change and learning from the designers of the future. “Their point of view [and] the context that they’re working within is so refreshing and exciting,” Susan tells RIISE. “And also, because they’ve been given the principle of only working with recycled, circular fabrics – that’s what makes it exciting, because that’s the future of fashion.”
Susan is joined on the sofa by actress, model, musician and all-round great person Bridget Gao-Hollitt for the inspiring chat, which you can watch in full below.
To enter the 2022 RIISE Prize you will need to submit a detailed illustration of your outfit design along with any accessories you wish to produce alongside it. A written description of all materials used, your planned manufacturing process and the creative concept behind the outfit will also be required.
The two lucky winners will be supplied with premium sustainable materials to bring their ideas to life. These include denim from Swedish sustainable jeans brand Nudie Jeans, material from carbon-neutral Australian fashion label bassike, recycled crystals from Swarovski and luxury deadstock fabrics sourced from a warehouse in France which upcycles offcuts and excess materials from leading fashion houses like Hermès, Prada, Jil Sander, Liberty of London, Paco Rabanne and Versace.
More information, including character bios and detailed entry requirements can be found here: The RIISE Prize for Emerging Sustainable Fashion Designers.
Complete the form below to enter.
Applications close on the 14th of October 2022 and the winners will be announced on November 15th. Good luck! We can’t wait to see what you come up with.
Terms and conditions can be found here.