Fashion and Commonwealth. Talents and sustainability. In occasion of the London Fashion week, Buckingham Palace opened its doors to an incredible event, which for the first time has seen Commonwealth’s 53 countries united together in the name of green fashion.

The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange is a Commonwealth-backed initiative showcasing the wealth of design and artisan fashion talents who share their passion for sustainability. The project includes an exhibition which will be open to the public at the Australia House in London on Tuesday 6th March 2018. All the collections can be viewed on a dedicated platform that Google Arts & Culture have created for this initiative. This platform brings together the extraordinary collaboration stories that led to the creation of the collections, as well as offering a directory full of extra educational resources such as information and materials on the people and brands involved in the exchange.

Sierra Leone X Ghana + The Gambia

Among the selected talents it is easy to spot designers like Burberry and Stella McCartney representing the UK, Karen Walker representing New Zealand, Bibi Russell for Bangladesh, and last but not least couturiers Charles & Ron representing Malta.


A brief with the Green Carpet Challenge® (GCC®) Principles of Sustainable Excellence was sent to each partnership and asked to create a fashion “look” highlighting the creative skills and the design ethos of each partner. The GCC’s sustainability principles were: transparency, fair work, and the preservation of natural resources of the environment and animal welfare. All participating partners must comply with them.

The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange is managed by Eco-Age and has been developed in partnership with Swarovsky, The Woolmark Company, MATCHESFASHION.COM, and NEST in order to demonstrate that fashion provides a common language, creates networks, and connections. It also wants to address some of the pressing issues of our time, like ethical production, supply chains, gender equality, and poverty reduction.

India X Tuvalu

Livia Firth, founder and creative director of Eco-Age, says: “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. 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.”


Among the top celebrity guests who attended the Buckingham Palace special reception were; Anna Wintour – director of Vogue USA, model Naomi Campbell, Edward Enninful, director of Vogue UK, and Duchess of Cambridge – Kate Middleton, along with the Royal Family.

The Bahamas X Barbados

The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange is a milestone in the journey embraced by the fashion industry, to adopt a more sustainable approach and create international collaborations that support it. In fact, the desire of “going green” whilst creating international collaborations, is a fundamental approach all maitre couturiers and fashion houses should adopt nowadays to safeguard our planet and to ensure a better future for the younger generations. It is important to unlock the potential of those artisans of fashion as they can show the world how beautiful creations can also be produced by respecting cultural traditions and using local materials and techniques. Local for global: this is the newest fashion trend to follow, this is the way forward.



© 2018 – VIDA Magazine – Ester Mocchegiani