Fashion District Festival: Uniting Fashion, Sustainability and Innovation

The Fashion District Festival, eagerly anticipated for its second edition, is set to make a highly anticipated return at the vibrant East London venue Spitalfields from Tuesday 11 to Sunday 16 July 2023.

This six-day festival promises a captivating celebration of fashion, sustainability, innovation, and community. With over 40 events taking place, including pop-ups, swap shops, styling masterclasses, upcycling workshops, and interactive experiences, visitors will have the opportunity to explore, learn, create, and network with leading conscious brands and digital fashion businesses.

WATCH: Exploring the Cutting Edge of Fashion

Fashion District Festival: Uniting Fashion, Sustainability and Innovation

Bringing together fashion enthusiasts, professionals, and customers, this year’s Fashion District Festival revolves around four key themes: WATCH, SHOP, MAKE, and GROW. Supported by the prestigious London College of Fashion, UAL, the festival will commence on Tuesday 11 July with the WATCH programme.

The launch show, curated by Lee Lapthorne from On|Off and AGRO Studio, will introduce some of London’s most promising emerging designers. By combining physical and digital installations, the show promises a truly unforgettable experience. Throughout the week, audiences can look forward to digital showcases from global brands such as The Fabricant, Syky, and the Institute of Digital Fashion.

SHOP: Discovering Sustainable Fashion Brands

Under the SHOP series, a collaborative retail pop-up will be located in the brand-new building at Number 1 Lamb St in Spitalfields. This marks the first event to take place in the contemporary building designed by Foster + Partners. The pop-up will showcase emerging and planet-positive designers and start-ups specializing in preloved, swapped, rented, and upcycled fashion. Attendees can explore the diverse offerings, try on pieces available for rent or purchase, and curate their own unique style.

Fashion District Festival: Uniting Fashion, Sustainability and Innovation

The SHOP events will include:

  • ‘Get Ready With Us’ – On Friday 14th July, rental app Loanhood will host an event at the pop-up shop. Attendees can explore the diverse offerings, try on pieces available for rent or purchase, and curate their own style.
  • Swap Shops with Verte London – On Saturday 15 July, clothes swapping company Verte London will organize two swap shops for both children and adults, offering an opportunity to refresh their wardrobes sustainably.
  • Give Your Best Styling Event – On Saturday 15 July, charity partner Give Your Best will stage a special event where pre-loved outfits gifted by festival attendees throughout the week will be styled up. The Sorting Party will see volunteers prepare the outfits for the platform, passing on pre-loved ‘Besties’ to migrant families.
  • The Seam Open House – On Saturday 15 July, The Seam, a specialist wardrobe care and repair service, will host an open house. Visitors can witness the art of garment restoration and submit items for repair or alteration by the makers in The Seam’s network.
  • Circular Threads Event – On Sunday 16 July, Circular Threads, a South Asian preloved and rental fashion platform, will host a day-long event. Attendees can try on outfits for the wedding season and participate in upcycling workshops.

MAKE: Exploring Sustainability and Innovation in Fashion

The MAKE space offers an engaging programme of interactive events and workshops for all ages, encouraging participants to explore sustainability and innovation in fashion through the three Rs: Repair, Reuse, and Recycle.

Fashion District Festival: Uniting Fashion, Sustainability and Innovation

Highlighted MAKE talks and workshops include:

  • Hand Embroidery Workshop with Lydia Bolton – Slow-fashion designer Lydia Bolton will offer visitors the chance to participate in a fun workshop where they can learn hand embroidery techniques to breathe new life into old garments.
  • Upcycling Workshops by The Alterist – On Friday 14 July, upcycled fashion marketplace The Alterist will host workshops by talented designers from their community. The workshops will include pattern-making with Not Far Behind and upcycling reclaimed coffee sacks with Sackito.
  • Engaging Workshops for Families by Making for Change – On Saturday 15 July, London College of Fashion, UAL’s sustainable manufacturing enterprise, Making for Change, will host engaging workshops for families and children. Activities will include t-shirt printing and dressmaking for dolls, keeping the little eco-warriors busy throughout the afternoon.
  • Revival London’s Denim Upcycling – On Saturday 15 July, slow fashion brand Revival London will share ways to rework preloved denim into unique and stylish pieces.

GROW: Nurturing Fashion Start-ups and SMEs

The GROW programme is dedicated to supporting fashion start-ups and SMEs through a series of roundtables, talks, and workshops. These sessions delve into the ideas and innovations driving change within the industry, focusing on themes such as the circular economy, regenerative materials, digital fashion, design for the metaverse, early-stage investment, and more.

Highlighted GROW talks and workshops include:

  • An Exciting Line-up of Speakers – Throughout the week, attendees will hear from an exciting line-up of speakers, including Fashion (Minority) Report, Innovate UK, UKFT, ReLondon, Fashion Innovation Agency, The Trampery, True., and The WIP.
  • Pitching Workshops by Captivate Communications – Captivate Communications will run pitching workshops, offering valuable insights and guidance for aspiring fashion entrepreneurs looking to secure funding.
  • Investment Event with True Global – In collaboration with True Global, the festival will host an investment event featuring a panel discussion with Angels, VCs, and established brands. The interactive session aims to provide start-ups with an overview of what investors and brands seek, offering valuable tips for success.
  • Fash-Tech Meet-up by London College of Fashion, UAL’s Fashion Innovation AgencyThe Fashion Innovation Agency will host a fash-tech meet-up, discussing AI and the most promising and innovative applications in the fashion industry.
  • Fashion Circle by The Trampery – Social enterprise The Trampery will host Fashion Circle, a dynamic event on up-designing. The event will feature the best upcycling designers, including a brunch and speed networking session.
Fashion District Festival: Uniting Fashion, Sustainability and Innovation

Helen Lax, Director of Fashion District, expressed her excitement for the festival’s return, stating, “We are thrilled to bring back the Fashion District Festival for a second time, and we are delighted to have Spitalfields as our host. With such a vibrant celebration of fashion, sustainability, and innovation awaiting shoppers and attendees, we cannot wait to unveil our full programme of events and experiences, providing a platform for exploration, creativity, and networking within the fashion industry.”

Jason Dervin, Spitalfields Estate Director, added, “We are proud to host the ever-inspiring Fashion District Festival and donate four spaces for the events in our newly created units and basement studio space. Celebrating and supporting multiple sustainable start-ups, emerging talent, and brands in this dynamic way sits perfectly alongside our existing retail and F&B operators. We hope to see everyone at the Festival in Spitalfields this July.”

With its remarkable lineup of events, the Fashion District Festival promises to be a must-attend experience for fashion enthusiasts, professionals, and conscious consumers alike. Get ready to immerse yourself in the world of fashion, sustainability, and innovation at this exciting event.

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