Last week Selfridges launched their Bright New Things scheme, part of their ongoing commitment to nurturing and surfacing creative talent. In this the fifth year of the scheme the iconic department store has turned its eyes to the future, working with Centre for Sustainable Fashion to seek out out those who apply their creativity to more than aesthetic ends. As a result the estimated 500,000 people who traverse Oxford Street on a daily basis are being exposed to a series of alternative fashion philosophies. The Bright New Things tell us in no uncertain terms that fashion has to change, that we have to change, celebrating those who are willing to challenge the ferocity of current consumer culture.
I’ve been very lucky to consult for and mentor businesses at many different levels of the industry, from huge global brands to tiny start-ups. Perhaps the most satisfying moments have been those when the large and the small come together, recognizing that change happens in a diverse range of locations and at many different scales. Whilst Selfridges has the power to exert huge influence in the mainstream fashion market, they are recognising the vital energy and potential for culture change that stems from the emergent.
Over the last year we have been working with Selfridges to develop and launch their Buying Better initiative out of which the idea for re-aligning the Bright scheme evolved. Many of the designers included in the scheme have come to Centre for Sustainable Fashion in the past, looking to explore and understand how they can do things differently; I am hugely proud to see their endeavors gaining the recognition they deserve.
Martina Spetlova featured on our stand at London Fashion Week when she graduated in 2010 and again in the i-Sustain project with i-D magazine in 2011; her work has developed into a beautiful and distinctive embodiment of positive luxury in the ensuing years. More recently Katie Jones was one of the designers we mentored through Creative Hub and it is wonderful to see the joyous abandon with which she navigates the fashion and sustainability ‘paradox’.
In the next phase of the project one of the Bright New Things will be offered the opportunity to access a £30,000 bursary from Selfridges and to work with us and with key members of the Selfridges team to develop their sustainability philosophy and practice. I have a feeling it’s the beginning of an exciting journey!