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Fashion District Whistle Stop Industry Tour

In collaboration with LCF Graduate Futures

Fashion District is thrilled to share they are teaming up with London College of Fashion’s Graduate Futures to offer LCF Insight students the chance to connect with the London fashion industry.

Insights is part of the University of the Arts London’s outreach programme, which offers young people access to UAL colleges for creative activities and pre-university advice and guidance. If these students then attend a UAL college, they are supported through a variety of programmes organised by college Insight teams.

The Whistle Stop Industry Tour has been designed to give Insight students the chance to understand the different opportunities available for them within the fashion industry. Starting at The Trampery Fish Island Village, the students will be able to view the facilities and meet designers currently based in the studios.

The tour will then include a short walk across the park, where students will have the opportunity to learn more about Fashion District from the team, ending at The Lab E20, East Village’s new flagship for experiential retail, cultural exhibition and creative workspace, with a focus on positive fashion and sustainable living.

At The Lab, students will have the opportunity to hear personal stories of career journeys from innovators in the industry, Bianca Foley, Ngoni Chikwenengere and Shope Delano, who will share their personal stories as well as tips and tricks learned along the way.

After the talk, students will be able to browse a cultural exhibition exploring sustainability and fashion, created by Fashion Open Studio, which will be hosted at The Lab E20.

Meet the Speakers

Ngoni Chikwenengere – We Are KIN

A fashion designer, sustainability and lifestyle blogger and founder of ethical clothing brand, We Are KIN. After graduating from university, Ngoni worked for various luxury fashion houses before starting her own inclusive slow fashion womenswear label, we are KIN. Timeless and endlessly wearable garments are created from end-of-line fabrics in a local factory in Bow, East London and shipped around the world to women of all ages and sizes.

Bianca Foley – Sustainably Influenced

Bianca is a sustainability & style content creator, whose journey began in 2012. She has worked with many brands, including Kitri, NIKE, Lily & Lionel and Label/Mix and has been featured in publications such as Women & Home, WhoWhatWear and was featured in ITV news series called #FastFashion. Over the years, her love of fashion has evolved into a mission to encourage others to shop more ethically and to reduce their consumption where they can! She co-hosts the podcast Sustainably Influenced with Charlotte Williams where they discuss how to make ethical lifestyle choices and encourage their listeners to be more sustainable in all aspects of daily life.

Shope Delano – Kind Regards

A business entrepreneur within branding, communication, and marketing, with consultancy across from start up to scale up businesses within B2B, B2C and venture capital funds. Shope gained fashion industry exposure by working with ASOS in 2010 as a content creator before branching into the world of branding, content strategy, e-commerce, tech, and sustainability. She has launched and is currently managing a consultancy business and womenswear apparel brand, Kind Regards, from the succession of a viral open letter viewed by 100,000 people.

Message to Industry with Alice Aedy

During the Fashion District Festival in September, we were thrilled to welcome Alice Aedy to our Festival Showcase where she eloquently shared a message directed at the fashion industry, encouraging steps towards a more sustainable future. Post-COP26, when climate justice is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, we are pleased to share the message with our community – and hope that it helps to spark important reflections on how we can all work towards a more sustainable future for fashion.

View Alice’s message below ->

Read the full message transcript:

Hi, my name is Alice Aedy. I’m a documentary photographer filmmaker and the co-founder of Earthrise Studio.

There is no doubt that this year has challenged us all in ways we never could have imagined. It’s been a year of converging crises, where we collectively became explicitly aware of both the fragility of our planet and the systems that govern us.

A devastating and ongoing pandemic, profound revolt against racial injustice, and of course, a worsening climate crisis, all revealing the extent of our broken system and a single important truth. They are all connected.

That became clear to me and my work as a documentary filmmaker, when I started in 2015, to document the refugee crisis across Europe, Iraq and Lebanon. Back then, I thought rarely of the climate crisis. But slowly the penny dropped. It’s thought that climate change will cause the biggest mass migration in history, with up to 1 billion migrants predicted by 2050. If I cared about those forced from their homes, about racial injustice and about women’s rights, I’d be forced to confront the climate crisis. We can no longer view these issues in isolation.

The same is true of the fashion industry. As many of you will already know, 10% of carbon emissions are produced by the industry globally. But there is also a human and social cost, the reality of which we’ve become completely disconnected from through carefully crafted campaigns selling us a dream of progression and liberation. We turn a blind eye to the women across the global South, paid criminal salaries in the name of cheaper prices. When we buy a polyester summer dress, we forget that it’s intrinsically linked to the struggle of women like Nina, an indigenous activist I filmed with in the Ecuadorian Amazon and her communities fight to protect their territories from oil extraction. What we do here has an impact on those living on the other side of the world. And as Lucy Siegel writes, fast fashion isn’t free. Someone somewhere is paying.

Leading scientists warn us that time is running out to limit climate catastrophe. In the past few months alone, we’ve seen historic flooding in Germany and China, wildfires raging and Turkey and Greece record heat waves and drought. This is a reality we can no longer ignore. This crisis is on our doorstep. Yes, we know we are living in broken systems, but few of us know what the alternative might be. It’s easy to feel powerless even slip into a sense of despair.

We in the climate movement may even spend a little too much time focusing on the apocalyptic future. We fear the sacrifices each of us have to make rather than the opportunity that we have to confront the climate crisis head on. This could be our chance to make our future better than today. You don’t have to be perfect to add your voice to this movement. The fashion industry will not change overnight. And I’m not here to preach or say I have any of the answers required to confront this enormous systemic issue. But I do hope I can offer some hope and inspiration.

Find your role, whether you’re a designer, a model, a photographer, manufacturer, in marketing, or PR, and contribute in whatever way you can, to building an industry that treads lights out on the planet that celebrates transparency, sustainability innovates, with new materials and platforms, the true superheroes of fashion, the skilled hands of garment workers, and of every person in every supply chain. Now more than ever, we need a collective vision for the future. But to paint a vision of that new world, we have to use the most powerful tools at our disposal, creativity, and communication.

So many of you here today have the ability to add your voice to this fight, and the skills to find some of the exciting solutions that will help unravel these converging crises. None of us can do it alone. So let’s use our privilege to create a fashion industry with both people and planet in mind and build a better, fairer, greener world we so desperately need.

Fashion District Festival Round-Up: Part Two

This is the second in a series of two blogs showcasing the events that took place during our recent Fashion District Festival. You can read part one here.

The first Fashion District Festival is officially over! Our five-day festival celebrating sustainability and innovation in fashion featured a jam-packed schedule, with a huge variety of interactive sessions and events.

Our first blog presented a round-up of festival programming that was aimed at supporting emerging designers and start-ups. This blog explores the celebration of creativity that took place throughout the festival, from our personalised showcase to our interactive workshops, which also served to encourage guests to think about sustainability in fashion.

Festival Showcase & Celebration

On Thursday 23rd September, we celebrated the launch of the first Fashion District Festival with our very own fashion showcase, a physical celebration of London fashion sponsored by Lendlease and hosted by D&D, right outside Haugen at the Queen Elizabeth Park.

Produced by Lee Lapthorne, Creative Director of On|Off London and featuring unique designers, choreography and wearable art, the showcase was the perfect event encapsulating the creative talent in the city. Pieces walking the runway included a fantastical spectacle by Jack Irving, as well as clothing from emerging designers Daniel Pascal Tanner, Dylan Joel, Steven Sheldon with House of Sheldon Hall, Eve Gillespie with Mothers’ Daughter, Longshaw Ward, Iyanu, Eirinn Hayhow, Anciela, Ana Sekulerac, Rosie Evans, Karina Bondereva, Patrick McDowell, Francesca Palumbo, A Quiet Ceremony, Daniel Fletcher, Teatum Jones and Christopher Raeburn.

With the dramatic background of The Pavilion, the pieces descended the stairs to a checked stage, surrounded by our live audience. The fashion show was accompanied by an explosive hip-hop routine choreographed by Kwame Asafo-Adje for Spoken Movement, providing an extra layer of fun and excitement to the show.

To end the night, Fashion District partner D&D London graciously hosted the official after-party at their brand new venue Haugen, where guests arrived to complimentary drinks and canapés. The after-party featured speeches from emerging designer Tolu Coker and Alice Eady, documentary filmmaker and co-founder of Earthrise. They both gave a personal ‘message to the industry’ around the positive change the fashion industry needs to action to support climate justice.

MAKE: Inspiring creativity and sustainability

The creativity from the showcase was threaded throughout other activities hosted at the festival. Our MAKE pillar was the final theme that completed the festival structure, bringing interactive, accessible workshops to festival attendees. The purpose of these workshops was to encourage guests to explore their creative side, learning how to upcycle pre-loved clothing items while inspiring attendees to think about how they could make their wardrobes more sustainable in future. Workshop acitvities included mini loom weaving, embroidery, fabric weaving and more.

We worked with some incredible partners to facilitate the workshops, including RETURE, Trashion Factory, Anciela and Make Town. RETURE’s workshops included offerings from designers including SABINNA, Joao Maraschin, and 4646.rec, who all generously shared their fashion expertise and skills with guests.

The workshops weren’t only for adults, with special offerings designed just for young people from Making for Change, Prince’s Foundation and Restoration London. These included cape making and a fun runway show for the new superheroes to show off their designs, a denim revamp workshop and a session where attendees could make their own phone case.

The majority of the workshops were located at The Lab E20, a new event space developed by our festival partners Get Living and Future City. With interior design produced by Christopher Raeburn, the venue was the perfect place for attendees to be inspired and get creative. Alongside our workshops, The Lab E20 also hosted our DiscoMAKE event, in collaboration with Fashion Revolution, Matthew Needham and Fashion Open Studio. Filled with second-hand materials, attendees were encouraged to create unique outfits and upcycle pieces, with pets even getting involved in the fun!

It was such a nice and relaxed atmosphere. [The designer] did a great job explaining how to crochet the bag and encouraged us to help each other – it was a lovely afternoon! Would definitely attend again!

Quote from MAKE Workshop Attendee

The Future for Fashion District

Our first festival was an explosion of creativity, celebrating emerging designers and start-ups from around London, and showcasing sustainability and innovation within the industry. Our four pillars, MAKE, GROW, WATCH & SHOP, all contributed to producing a dynamic and excitement-filled week, perfect for fashion lovers, conscious consumers and the Fashion District community.

Now that the Festival is over, we will continue to look for innovative ways to support designers and founders. We are currently planning our programme for next year, and will be building off of the legacy of the Fashion District Festival to ensure that we continue to develop connections and support up-and-coming brands.  

Make sure you’re signed up to our newsletter so you don’t miss out on future opportunities and events.

Fashion District Festival Round-Up: Part One

This is the first in a series of two blogs showcasing the events that took place during our recent Fashion District Festival. Part Two will be published next Thursday.

The first Fashion District Festival is officially over! Our five-day festival celebrating sustainability and innovation in fashion featured a jam-packed schedule, with a huge variety of interactive sessions and events.

Our first blog presents a round-up of festival programming that was aimed at supporting emerging designers and start-ups, from our Festival pop-up shop and market to our numerous panels, fireside chats and interactive sessions helping young brands discover how to tap into the industry and grow to their fullest potential.

Festival Pop-Up Shop & Market

Our pop-up shop was the heart of the festival, showcasing ethical, sustainable brands and emerging designers to Westfield Stratford shoppers. Alongside independent designers hand-selected by Fashion District, the shop also featured brands from RETURE and Lone Design Club, as well as unique, fun pieces available to rent courtesy of By Rotation. Childrenswear resale brand, Dotte, also featured in the Shop, running activities with customers’ little ones and encouraging shoppers to think about how they could make their children’s wardrobes more sustainable.

Working with Westfield, the Fashion District team designed a multi-use retail space, featuring bold vinyl stickers and a beautiful multi-coloured palette created to highlight the incredible selection of brands featured. The space not only featured clothing and accessories from the brands, but was also a hub for activity, hosing an LDC designer meet-up which facilitated new connections between independent designers, as well as a fabric bin courtesy of the materialist, created to provide a new lease of life to leftover fabric cuttings.

Alongside the main pop-up shop, the Festival also hosted a Market in collaboration with long-term Fashion District partners Waltham Forest Fashion. Featuring independent brands alongside sellers of pre-loved and vintage fashion, the market was a unique and fun event that allowed shoppers to discover impressive East London based fashion.   

I was very happy with [the] Fashion District Festival, it was great for collaborations, networking, getting my brand out there and showcasing my pieces to potential clients.

Gosia Wolinska, Founder of Wolinska London

GROW: Supporting emerging designers and start-ups

Alongside our pop-up shop and market, another fundamental element to the festival was our GROW pillar. Devised specifically to support emerging designers and early stage start-ups, GROW events were hosted by a number of Fashion District partners and encouraged attendees to learn, network and develop their brands. The sessions provided tips and tricks from more established founders, whilst also discussing how participants could ensure their brands had ethical and sustainable foundations.

Some GROW highlights include a series of events hosted by the British Council, where The Trampery organised sessions with a focus on sustainability and ethics. This included ‘Good Work For Fashion’, an initiative supported by Fashion District with the Greater London Authority, London Legacy Development Corporation and The Trampery, which aims to promote more ethical employment practices within the fashion industry. The Materialist also hosted a fascinating and timely panel exploring how businesses and designers can source second-life fabrics and incorporate them into their business strategies.

The Fashion District team also organised a series of fireside chats hosted at The Stratford, focusing on fashion’s future and including discussions on transparency, diversity and inclusivity. Featuring expert speakers like Victoria Jenkins from adaptive clothing brand Unhidden, Deborah Latouche, Founder of modest, luxury brand SABIRAH and Jodi Muter-Hamilton from Fashion Roundtable and Other Day.

I loved how open-hearted the panelists were, and how well they communicated inclusivity issues that permeate the industry

Quote from Festival attendee at ‘An Inclusive Future for Fashion’

What’s Next?

One of our crucial aims at the festival was to champion emerging designers and start-ups, building awareness and introducing a new audience to the amazing clothes, accessories and products being created in London. This has never been more vital than in our post-Covid world, where retail has been impacted so profoundly, and where smaller businesses are still recovering from the changed dynamics of the past year and a half.

Now that the Festival is over, we will continue to look for innovative ways to support designers and founders. We are currently planning our programme for next year, and will be building off of the legacy of the Fashion District Festival to ensure that we continue to develop connections and support up and coming brands.  

Make sure you’re signed up to our newsletter so you don’t miss out on future opportunities and events.

Congratulations to Biophilica, our Manufacturing Futures 2021 Innovation Challenge Winners!

On Tuesday 7 September, we brought together members of our Fashion District community to celebrate the winners of the Manufacturing Futures 2021 Innovation Award.

The Innovation Challenge was set up by Fashion District in 2019 to stimulate ideas for use of technology in fashion, and to generate future solutions for industry uses.

Supporting the development of these innovative solutions is a crucial part of Fashion District’s remit, an important piece of our dynamic network that aims to help the fashion industry thrive. To that end, each year we focus the prize on a relevant challenge to encourage products and solutions that could disrupt the mainstream – with this year’s challenge focused on solutions that can revolutionise any part of the fashion supply chain and drive future growth in the industry.

“Manufacturing Futures 2021 has brought forward truly cutting edge start-ups with some ground-breaking technologies. We have a real opportunity to collaborate, both within the industry and with other sectors, to bring on the brightest and most impactful innovations to reshape the industry.”

Helen Lax, Director, Fashion District.

The shortlist itself was selected from a host of impressive and creative applications by our esteemed panel of industry experts. This year’s cohort is comprised of ten start-ups who showed true innovation and the potential to change the future of manufacturing.

We are thrilled to share that during the ceremony, BIOPHILICA was announced as the winner of the Manufacturing Futures Prize for Treekind™ – an entirely plant-based, compostable, leather alternative for the fashion industry. Highly Commended was awarded to MODERN SYNTHESIS, a biomaterials start-up making cellulose materials by growing microbes, and NANOLOOM, creating biodegradable fibre based on graphene that does not shed.

Our Winners! Treekind by BIOPHILICA. Left to Right: Dr Beinn Murr (R&D Chemistry BIOPHILICA), Jordan Berkowitz (Strategy & Marketing BIOPHILICA) Toni Allen, (Director of International Strategic Marketing and Engagement, IET) Credit: Charlie Williams Photography

“We brought engineers and the fashion industry together to solve some of its biggest challenges, and these innovations certainly show the potential to change the future of fashion manufacturing and completely transform the industry.”

Danielle George, MBE, President, IET.

Sponsored by the IET in celebration of its 150th anniversary in May this year, BIOPHILICA will receive a cash prize of £15,000 as well as a one-year lab membership for rapid prototyping and experimentation, provided by the Mills Fabrica.

In addition, IBM will provide bespoke business support that utilises design thinking to produce an action plan, and Common Objective will offer a 12-month business membership with global connections, premium intelligence and training courses in sustainable fashion and manufacturing.

Award Sculptures Created by Dust London, Exclusively for Fashion District. Credit: Charlie Williams Photography

Browse more information about our prize winners below, and make sure you also check out the 2021 Shortlisted Ventures to discover some truly inspiring solutions and products.

Our Winners

Treekind™ by Biophilica – Innovation Challenge Award Winners

Treekind™ by Biophilica is a plant-based leather alternative for the fashion industry. It is estimated to be carbon negative, recyclable as green waste, home compostable, non-toxic and completely free of plastic and petrochemicals. With Treekind™ we want to support the transition to local, sustainable manufacturing and consumption.

Modern Synthesis – Highly Commended

Modern Synthesis is a London based biomaterial start-up connecting the dots between biology, material science and design to craft progressive biomaterials for the fashion industry. The company’s ‘microbial weaving’ process employs microbes to grow a strong, lightweight cellulose-based composite material that is naturally biodegradable and offers unique potential for customization.

Nanoloom – Highly Commended

Nanoloom creates biodegradable fibre from a novel, unique nanomaterial called BioHastalex, which is based on graphene. BioHastalex is extremely strong, light, flexible and durable. It can be made to attract or repel water without additives, doesn’t shed and is scalable. This makes it suitable for numerous applications, and Nanoloom currently focuses on performance apparel.

First Wave of Fashion District Festival Events Announced

Here at Fashion District we are incredibly excited to share the news that the schedule for the Fashion District Festival, taking place 22-26th September 2021, is now available to browse and book online.

Join us this September to discover London’s fashion innovators, and take your pick from a variety of exciting events, including interactive upcycling workshops, styling sessions, business support seminars and our Fashion District Festival Showcase, with an exclusive After Party at multi-level restaurant and bar, Haugen.

Based in Stratford, the festival will be split into four pillars, Grow, Make, Watch and Shop, and will take place in and around five close-knit locations; Westfield Stratford, The E20 Lab, The Stratford Hotel, The British Council, and The Pavillion in the Olympic Village.

Shop The Festival

Billi London Founders. Right: Marie Bouhier Left: Sophie Billi-Hardwick

There will be an array of activities over the five days of the festival. One of our highlights under the SHOP pillar includes our Westfield Stratford Pop-Up Shop, which will offer fashion lovers the chance to shop a range of independent, sustainable brands and their ethically produced clothes. Recently confirmed labels include Billi LondonFanfareKA WA KEYWolinskaTimna WeberThe ArrayOMNISSKhaunumsDaniel CrabtreeBlonde Gone RogueEmile Vidal Carr and Klements. We are also collaborating with Lone Design Club, who will supply clothes and accessories from a number of emerging, trend-setting brands featured on their platform.

Alongside clothes to buy, visitors to the pop-up will also have the opportunity to rent unique, designer pieces from rental clothing app By Rotation. Browse rental outfits to wear at any number of upcoming special occasions, like birthdays, weddings or parties.

Our Pop-Up will also offer an exclusive selection of children’s clothing items, provided by child clothing resale app Dotte, and their fast-growing trusted community of sellers.

Grow with the Fashion District

Our Grow pillar offers emerging designers, fashion and fashion-technology start-ups free business support sessions. Firstly, The Trampery, supported by the British Council, will be running two days of business seminars to help fashion ventures integrate sustainability more effectively into their business model and growth plans. The sessions will cover everything manufacturing, business model, materials and futures – showcasing radical fashion brands that are disrupting the sector with their sustainability activities.

Festival partners will also be running one-off, interactive sessions. Fashion Minority Report will be hosting a special event for budding fashion and creative professionals from diverse backgrounds interested in pursuing a career in fashion. Plus the Fashion Innovation Agency will be joining the festival for a rare all-team appearance to delve into their projects and the future of fashion & technology.

SABINNA London, Panel Speaker at The Trampery’s Sustainable Business Models Event.


Be sure not to miss the Festival Showcase. Celebrate East London’s extraordinary fashion talent at the Fashion District Festival with our designer showcase in the heart of the Olympic Village, featuring a one-off performance directed by On|Off Creative Director, Lee Lapthorne. Using the façade of the newly-built Pavilion as a backdrop, Lapthorne has hand-picked the very best of his On|Off London Fashion Week community of designers to highlight their latest show pieces, and teamed up with choreographer Kwame Asafo-Adjei to create an explosion of hip hop, beatbox, fashion and wearable art.

Plus, Love Not Landfill will be running various styling events using donated clothing alongside top Depop sellers. Learn how to style a variety of items and make the most out of your wardrobe or unique charity shop finds.

Make Sustainable Garments

Wool Materials for Joao Marashin Clothing

Looking to become more sustainable? Join RETURE and a number of designers for interactive, upcycling workshops designed to encourage guests to learn how to repair or remake their own clothes.

Whether you’re looking to refresh your wardrobe without buying new items or you’d like to improve your sewing skills, these workshops offer a chance to learn new skills directly from some of the most exciting emerging designers in London. The RETURE designers have also been busy working on a whole range of upcycled pieces that will be for sale, so you can choose to give them a new life. 

We are also working with Get Living and FutureCity to create a unique makers space at the festival, located at The E20 Lab. We’ll be offering a number of MAKE events here, including an opportunity for children to customise old garments into capes with Making for Change (ages 4-9) as well as a dynamic denim revamp workshop with The Fashion School to encourage children to learn more about clothing customisation (ages 9-11).

Learn new techniques, discover the latest trends and expand your knowledge. Book your place at one of our workshops now.

We can’t wait to see you!

Looking for a place to stay during the festival? We have partnered with the Holiday Inn, Staybridge suites and The Stratford to offer deals for Festival attendees. Head over to our partner page to learn more.