Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.
When you hear the name “Ford,” the first words that probably come to mind are “cars,” “automobiles” and “vehicles.” Words like “fashion design” and “sustainable fashion” are things you might not be able to relate to the company right away—but because Ford Motor Co. has a mission of making the world more sustainable through the increase use of recycled and renewable materials in its vehicles, for the second year in a row they launched the Ford Design Challenge, which inspired 10 emerging designers to come up with outfits that use car seat fabric.
Each designer was given 3 and ½ hours to create their upcycled outfits, which were then showcased at the Hong Kong Fashion Week last January 2016. It was a joint collaboration with Redress, an NGO leading the cause of sustainable fashion to ensure collaboration and cross industry learning.
Some of my favorite designs include Bella Benyasarn and Sara Kiani’s, who created a luxurious oversized kimono with a sash and weaved panels of different fabric, and Amy Ward and Pan Wen’s, who put together a dramatic floor-length gown.
Apart from this challenge, Ford’s sponsorship of the EcoChic Design Award 2015/16 also reflects the company’s commitment to sustainable design research. Beyond seat fabrics, Ford produces storage bins using wheat-straw, dashboards padded with scrap cotton from recycled jeans, and seat foam from a bioplastic made from soybeans.
Nowadays, the company continues to experiment with new biomaterials, including the use of tomato fibers from discarded tomato skins, seeds and stems, and retired U.S. currency, to offset petroleum use in producing bins and other plastic parts for vehicle interiors. Research teams are also experimenting with biomimicry to develop a new sustainable adhesive for use under the hood. These efforts are all part of Ford’s global sustainability strategy to decrease its environmental footprint.
Check out this video to see more highlights on the Ford Design Challenge: