British Council and Fashion Open Studio introduce a series of events with nine international designers

Fashion Open Studio and British Council launch a series of studio events and workshops with nine international designers for COP26

Fashion Open Studio in partnership with British Council will present a series of ten international digital events in response to the themes of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26. Launching at Digital Design Weekend at the V&A, during London Design Festival in September 2021, nine participating designers from across the world have been selected to open up their studios virtually to showcase their creative responses to fashions environmental impact and the climate talk themes of Adaptation and Resilience and Nature. The digital event series will take place 25 September - 12 November, forming part of British Council's The Climate Connection global programme and campaign.

Designers will be taking part from Argentina, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Zimbabwe. Each designer offers a perspective in response to their own experience.

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From Cape Town, Sindiso Khumalo will be showing that social and environmental issues are interconnected. She will be demonstrating repair techniques and discussing inequality and the need for dignified employment to create resilient communities. Bhukram is a Thai brand devoted to preserving and promoting the indigenous Phu Phan communitys way of life and its natural environment. Their event will offer a rare glimpse into the founders home studio in the Bhupan region in north east Thailand and embroidery techniques that tell the stories of community and nature. From Jakarta, Indonesia, Toton will be conducting a virtual studio tour, demonstrating their denim upcycling techniques, and sharing the work of an artisan group in Garut, a small town in west Java to highlight their collaboration. Bora Studio also works with local indigenous communities around Nepal with natural dyeing and traditional craft techniques and will show how a highly localised supply chain and community works in practice, in harmony with people and planet.

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The event series will be animated by a physical activation in Glasgow during COP26 (1-12 November) which will offer the public and COP26 attendees alike an opportunity to interact with the open studio activities in person.

The cohort of designers will have opportunities for skills and knowledge sharing to support and strengthen their work and knowledge, and the workshop series will culminate in a Speedshare networking event exploring the themes of COP26 in depth. The nine designers selected to take part are Garcia Bello (Argentina/Netherlands), Aranya Craft x Rahemur Rahman (Bangladesh/London), Iro Iro (India), Toton (Indonesia), Bora Studio (Nepal), Sindiso Khumalo (South Africa), Bhukram, (Thailand), Huner (Turkey) and Vimbai Natasha Naomi, (Zimbabwe).

Fashion is one of the most damaging industries in terms of its pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. As a significant contributor to climate change, it is important to highlight some of the solutions the creative and innovative change makers in the fashion community are putting into practice. Tangible solutions and small-scale innovations have the potential to transform the burdensome impact of the fashion industry.

Orsola de Castro, Global Creative Director Fashion Revolution says: Fashion Open Studio engages with young and established brands, with the people who make our clothes, for irreverent and forward thinking debates and workshops that stimulate different viewpoints COP26 is a crucial moment to put forward viable alternatives to create much needed change to the fashion system.

Sevra Davis, Director of Architecture Design Fashion at British Council says: We are excited to be collaborating with Fashion Open Studio to bring important themes of COP26 to life through the work of designers who are leading change in the fashion industry around the world. This exchange is at the heart of the British Council Climate Connection, which puts young people at the centre of climate change solutions in order to participate in dialogue, debate and action.

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