The R|elan Circular Design Challenge (CDC)

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Xu Wenyan has been declared the winner of the EU Jury Meet for India’s R|Elan Circular Design Challenge (CDC) in Milan.

CDC awards talented designers and gives them a global platform to showcase designs and innovations deeply rooted in the principles of sustainability and circularity. The EU jury meet was a celebration of global talent who live and work in Europe, bringing together cultural and sustainable influences.

Xu Wenyan will join the winners of the UK, APAC and India jury meets to participate in the finals at Lakmé Fashion Week in partnership with the Fashion Design Council of India in October 2024. Xu Wenyan has also opened her studio in Milan to invite and support other emerging designers to practice upcycling. Xu Wenyan’s circular solutions revolve around using old, discarded vintage textiles to create new garments, giving them a new life and reducing the wastage of resources. She intends to rebuild the conventional idea of ‘fashion’ by way of ‘re-designing’.

Proudly presented by R|Elan, the next-generation fabric brand of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), in partnership with the United Nations in India, the R|Elan Circular Design Challenge (CDC) is committed to reducing waste and fostering a greener, more sustainable future. The EU segment of CDC, held in collaboration with Istituto Marangoni, aims to elevate eco-conscious creativity within the fashion industry on a global scale.

Mr. Rakesh Bali, Senior Vice President – Head Marketing – Petrochemicals at Reliance Industries Limited present at the occasion in Milan commented, “The R|Elan Circular Design Challenge exemplifies Reliance Industries’ commitment to fostering sustainability and innovation within the fashion industry. We are immensely proud to celebrate the remarkable achievements of our talented designers, particularly Xu Wenyan, who has been recognized as the winner of the EU Jury meet at Istituto Marangoni. This initiative highlights the potential of circular fashion to transform our industry and pave the way for a greener, more sustainable future. We look forward to the grand finale in India, where the global talent will come together to showcase their visionary solutions for waste reduction and sustainable design.”

Mr Shombi Sharp, UN Resident Coordinator, Indiasaid, “Responding to the UN Secretary-General’s urgent call to ‘make peace with nature’, the UN in India is a proud partner of the CDC. For its second EU edition, CDC is once again partnering with Istituto Marangoni spotlighting designers and entrepreneurs who practice circularity and sustainability in the fashion and textile industries. Together, we are helping drive innovations in energy efficiency, closed-loop systems, and the use of ethically produced materials, ensuring that the social and environmental impacts align with one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”

The EU Jury for the R|Elan Circular Design Challenge featured a panel of industry experts, including: Sara Sozzani Maino, Creative Director of Fondazione Sozzani and International New Talent and Brand Ambassador, Marina Spadafora, Sustainability Advisor, Professor and Author, Francesco Fioretto, Istituto Marangoni Research and Academic Director, Francesca Delogu, Fashion & Lifestyle Journalist, and Tiziano Guardini, Creative Director and Founder of his namesake sustainable brand.

The grand finale will unfold in October in India. The winner of the R|Elan Circular Design Challenge (CDC) will be bestowed with a seed fund of 16000€, the CDC Trophy, and a 6-month mentorship. Additionally, they will earn the spotlight with a standalone showcase at Lakmé Fashion Week x FDCI in March 2024.

Mr Jaspreet Chandok, Group Vice President, Reliance Brands that organizes Lakme Fashion Week in partnership with Fashion Design Council of India said, “Together with R|ElanTM and the United Nations in India, we have made Circular Design Challenge India’s largest global award. CDC pushes the needle on climate action by discovering and mentoring circular fashion designers and innovators, helping them scale and empowering them to drive real impact. We envision transforming this platform into a global beacon of forward-thinking excellence, inviting groundbreaking partnerships worldwide.”

Xu Wenyan will join the other finalists of the UK, APAC, and India juries in Delhi in October. The journey to India will be inspiring, as all the finalists will engage with each other and share their passion for sustainability and design.

Stefania Valenti, Managing Director, Istituto Marangoni said: “We are pleased to partner with CDC and Reliance Industries to host this second edition of the European selection chapter of the Circular Design Challenge. As one of the leading educational institutions focused on Fashion, our mission is to train the new generation of Designers creating a culture of circularity and sustainable fashion and an eco-conscious mindset. Thanks to the past collaboration of one of our notable Alumni Fashion Designer, Rahul Mishra, with Reliance Brands who supported him because of his strong commitment to sustainability, we are honoured to participate in this year’s CDC edition with our emerging Alumni Designers that represent this mindset effectively.”

The Circular Design Challenge’s global reach is a milestone and a remarkable step towards a more sustainable and circular fashion industry. CDC partners across borders include the British Council for the UK, Redress for Hong Kong/Asia Pacific, and Istituto Marangoni for The European Union.


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