The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange 18

Championing Ethical & Sustainable Fashion

In association with Ecoage, The Royal Family,  British Fashion Council, The Woolmark Company, Swarovski, Matches Fashion, Build A Nest, Google Arts Culture & Commonwealth Fashion.



The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange

Established and emerging fashion talent from across the Commonwealth’s 52 countries showcase the power and potential of artisan fashion skills to deliver new networks, trade links and highlight sustainability

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From left to right: Ulric Jerome, CEO of MATCHESFASHION.COM, Arizona Muse, Model, Livia Firth, Founder and Creative Director, Eco-Age, The Right Honourable Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Ashia Sheikh Dearwester, Chief Strategy & Partnerships Officer, Nest, Wilson Oryema, Model, Euphemia Sydney Davies, Fashion Designer, Nadja Swarovski, Member of the Swarovski Executive Board, Nigel Gosse, The Woomark Company, Dylan Jones, The British Fashion Council

For the first time, The Commonwealth comes together to showcase a wealth of design and artisan fashion talent across its 52 countries. Selected design talent includes major names such as Karen Walker representing New Zealand, Bibi Russell representing Bangladesh and Burberry and Stella McCartney representing the UK*. Participating designers and artisans will collectively represent all 52 commonwealth member countries in a major new initiative ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London this April. The 'looks' created through the Fashion Exchange will be showcased at a special reception at Buckingham Palace during London Fashion Week in February.

The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange is an ambitious project with long term aims, that is being developed in partnership with Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and MATCHESFASHION.COM, who will launch an edited collection in September this year.

The Right Honourable Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, says:

“The modern Commonwealth is young and creative. It represents a third of the world's population, 60% of whom are under the age of 30. So fashion, alongside music and sport, represents a powerful common language and platform through which to influence young people around key issues. The Fashion Exchange has collaboration and partnership at its heart, forging new networks and making the Commonwealth Summit themes of prosperity, sustainability and fairness very real and tangible."

Nadja Swarovski, Member of the Swarovski Executive Board, says:

“We are honored to support Eco Age and the Commonwealth with this ambitious initiative, which unites an incredibly diverse group of designers and artisans to champion values that are so important to us at Swarovski: creativity, craftsmanship and sustainability. We are pleased that our support has enabled the artisans to join the Nest Guild, helping them to build a sustainable business and preserve their craft for generations to come.”

Stuart McCullough, Managing Director of The Woolmark Company, says:

“As a company owned by Australian woolgrowers, The Woolmark Company is very proud to be supporting this important project. Australian wool is a natural, biodegradable and renewable fibre lovingly cultivated by generations of Australian woolgrowers who care for their sheep and work tirelessly to protect and conserve the extensive pastures on which their flocks graze. This premium fibre continues to be an important ingredient in the global fashion industry. It is therefore exciting to work with Eco-Age to make sure the GCC sustainability principles are woven across the entire collections and to see so much of our natural fibre, wool, being used.”

Ulric Jerome, CEO of MATCHESFASHION.COM, says:

“The most resilient and sustainable supply chains in fashion are based on collaboration and, fundamentally, that is what we are seeing created by The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange. We are delighted to be the chosen digital and retail partner for this exciting initiative.”

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.”

The project is particularly timely as a global wave of interest in handmade products and authentic luxury causes a reassessment of the artisan fashion trades. In this way, The Fashion Exchange brings the values of the modern-day Commonwealth – women’s empowerment, ethical production and supply chains, innovation, economic growth and poverty reduction – to life through the globally appealing medium of fashion.

The initial looks will be celebrated during London Fashion Week at a reception at Buckingham Palace on February 19th, before moving to a public exhibition at Australia House on February 21st, and other locations in London where the exhibition will be open to the public in the run up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit, April 2018.

Through unique digital partnerships with MATCHESFASHION.COM and Google Arts & Culture, those who cannot make it to the London showcase and exhibitions in person, will be able to engage with The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange via online platforms. The online platforms will provide deep insights into each designer and artisan producer, providing a compelling educational resource and living directory of artisans and designers from the 52 countries.

The project, created and managed by Eco-Age, saw the support of The Commonwealth Fashion Council and The British Fashion Council.

Daniel Hatton, CEO & Founder of The Commonwealth Fashion Council, said:

“TheCommonwealth Fashion Exchange is the beautiful result of cultures coming together. This project has provided a common sustainable ground which broadens networks and allows for the discovery of new friendships and processes, which enriches creativity."


*For a full list of designers and artisans taking part in The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange please visit Please also refer to info pack available here.

To enable The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange to come to life many partners came together for the first time, namely:

The Commonwealth Secretariat

The Commonwealth's 52 member countries are bound by a commons set of values and a shared mission to improve the wellbeing of all 2.4 billion Commonwealth citizens across the globe. The Commonwealth has achieved a great amount since its creation 68 years ago and remains a global beacon for democracy, human rights and the rule of law. As a voluntary network, the Commonwealth relies on soft power to effect change. It's authority comes from  agreement and its influence from persuasion. As Head of the Commonwealth since she ascended the throne in 1952, Her Majesty The Queen has seen the organisation grow from 8 members to 52. The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland is the 6th Secretary General of the Commonwealth, which covers a third of the world’s population - 2.4 billion citizens, 60% under the age of 30.

Eco-Age is a brand and marketing consultancy specialising in sustainability and founder of The Green Carpet Challenge and The GCC Fashion Awards. Over the past ten years, Eco-Age has developed considerable connections with the world’s most influential voices in sustainability and is able to drive global debate, focusing on positive social and environmental impact.

The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange has been made possible by Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and MATCHESFAHION.COM, with the support of The Commonwealth Fashion Council, The British Fashion Council and The GREAT campaign.

Swarovski enabled us to bring on board NGO Nest to enroll all artisans taking part in the project, providing them with a vital link to trade. Swarovski delivers a diverse portfolio of unmatched quality, craftsmanship, and creativity. Founded in 1895 in Austria, the company designs, manufactures and markets high-quality crystals, genuine gemstones and created stones as well as finished products such as jewelry, accessories and lighting. The Swarovski Crystal Business is run by the fifth generation of family members and has a global reach with approximately 2,800 stores in around 170 countries, more than 27,000 employees, and revenue of about 2.6 billion euros in 2016. Together with its sister companies Swarovski Optik (optical devices) and Tyrolit (abrasives), Swarovski Crystal Business forms the Swarovski Group. In 2016, the Group generated revenue of about 3.37 billion euros and employed more than 32,000 people. A responsible relationship with people and the planet is an integral part of Swarovski’s heritage. The global Swarovski Waterschool education program has reached 461,000 children on the world’s greatest rivers, and the Swarovski Foundation, set up in 2013, works to support culture and creativity, promote wellbeing, and conserve natural resources to achieve positive social impact.

The Woolmark Company is the global authority on wool. Through our extensive network of relationships spanning the international textile and fashion industries, we highlight Australian wool's position as the ultimate natural fibre and premier ingredient in luxury apparel. The Woolmark logo is one of the world's most recognised and respected brands, providing assurance of the highest quality, and representing pioneering excellence and innovation from farm through to finished product.The Woolmark Company is a subsidiary of Australian Wool Innovation, a not-for-profit enterprise that conducts research, development and marketing along the worldwide supply chain for Australian wool on behalf of about 60,000 woolgrowers that help fund the company. As a key supporter of young talent in the global fashion industry, thanks to The International Woolmark Prize, The Woolmark Company has enabled some of the participating designers to work with wool, giving this natural fibre a global stage.

Retail and digital partner MATCHESFASHION.COM, will launch an edited collection resulting from the Exchange in September this year - which is particularly timely as a global wave of interest in handmade products and authentic luxury causes a reassessment of the artisan fashion trades. MATCHESFASHION.COM is the global luxury-shopping destination for men and women. In 2018 MATCHESFASHION.COM continues its forward-looking focus on innovation and emerging talent. Renowned and respected for the relationships it builds with clients and partnerships it creates with brands, today MATCHESFASHION.COM offers a modern edit of over 450 established and new generation designers. MATCHESFASHION.COM delivers to over 176 countries and offers 24/7 advice through MyStylist, its dedicated fashion-concierge team, plus its London stores and at No.23, its private-shopping townhouse.

The Commonwealth Fashion Council (CFC) is a not-for-profit, Commonwealth-accredited organisation. The CFC works to support and advocate sustainable development, education, youth and gender empowerment in the current and emerging fashion industries within the 52 member Nations of the Commonwealth. The CFC engages with governments and fashion industries within the Commonwealth through our (currently) 20 council members, comprising Fashion Week and Fashion Council organisers from across our Commonwealth family. We actively collaborate to develop our programmes to add social and educational value to our members, whilst encouraging dialogue to create lasting and meaningful networks with the fashion sector, all in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the Commonwealth.

NEST is a nonprofit dedicated to alleviating poverty, empowering women and promoting peace through the successful creation of artisan businesses and another important partner in The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange. Nest will gather data for participating artisan businesses to provide a factual basis for story-telling, impact reporting, and compliance assurances.

In addition, each of our artisan businesses will be enrolled in the Nest Guild, which will provide ongoing access to key business development resources. This enrollment will support long-term social goals ensuring further impact of the program and that participating artisan businesses have access to capacity building opportunities lasting beyond the project.

Google Arts & Culture will host The Fashion Exchange on an online platform which provides deep insight into each designer and artisan producer, underpinned by data and insight provided by expert project partners, Nest. The Fashion Exchange digital platform creates a new community and network as well as a compelling educational resource and living directory of artisans and designers from the 52 countries The looks at Buckingham Palace will be showcased on biodegradable mannequins by Bonaveri, the leading Italian manufacturer of artistic mannequins. The Italian company has developed a bio-based polymer, comprised of natural materials and paint made from natural substances to produce biodegradable mannequins.


The GCC Principles for Sustainable Excellence relate to a range of social and environmental impacts typically caused by industry and businesses.

To be eligible for GCC status, businesses must work in ways and create product(s) which adhere to or are advancing the following principles:

1. Transparency

Operate legally, and openly communicate their sustainability commitments and performance.

2. No Child Labour

Do not tolerate forced or child labour in its facilities or supply chain.

3. Fair Work

Respect the rights of employees and contractors and ensure they are treated fairly and with dignity, without discrimination of any kind; provide a safe and healthy workplace; and guarantee a legal minimum wage throughout the supply chain.

4. Community

Contribute to the economic and social development of communities affected by their operations. And in ways that:

5. Traceability

Allow the key materials of the product or collection to be traced back to their origins.

6. Preservation of Resources and Environment

Conserve endangered species, ecosystems and ecological processes and do not cause deforestation or loss of biodiversity.

7. Recycle and Reuse

Re-use resources including raw materials and finished products, and minimise energy use, water, natural resources, waste generation and greenhouse gas emission.

8. Pollution Minimisation

Avoid pollution to air, water and soil and the use of toxic chemicals.

9. Resource Management

Ensure that the extraction and disposal of water and management of waste is legal and responsible.

10. Animal Welfare

Promote animal welfare and do not allow them to suffer.

Hannah Levitt
+44 (0) 7921 337 995
For more information about The Commonwealth Fashion Council, contact: