How Luxury Retailers are Embracing Ethical Brands Through Commonwealth Fashion Exchange by SHANNON M. WELCH

Posted by Josefina Theo on


By Shannon M. Welch

On Thursday, September 28th, the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange showcased their exhibit highlighting the talent and indigenous craftsmanship from 53 commonwealth countries at the newly renovated Pomerantz building at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. The showcase originally debuted at Buckingham Palace in February earlier this year and has now made its way across the pond. The temporary exhibit will be free and open to the public until October 9th.

The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange project was developed in partnership with Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and MATCHESFASHION.COM where designers from around the world were tapped to create looks utilizing the techniques and skills of each partner while adhering to the Green Carpet Challenge® (GCC®) Principles of Sustainable Excellence set forth by EcoAge.


On display at F.I.T. were looks from designers that include: Stella McCartney, Bibi Russell, Zinzi De Brouwer and KITX. A selection of those looks will be auctioned off on Paddle8 and proceeds will be donated to the Fashion Institute of Technology Innovation Fund and the non-profit Nest. A very select number of the looks were hand-picked by MATCHESFASHION.COM to be produced in limited edition collections to be sold online. Those include the only American brand participating in the exchange, behno as well as Charles & Ron, and Meiling.

“This project confirmed something I have always believed; that collaboration must be encouraged and engaged,” designer Meiling states.


“It was such a phenomenal experience to bring together two cultures, vastly different but also so incredibly similar, into fashion in a way that really paid homage to the artisans behind the pieces. The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange allowed for a critical examination of the handprint of fashion and indigenous craft, and it is fantastic to partner with MATCHESFASHION.COM on showcasing this tremendous work.” Behno founder, Shivam Punjya comments on the process.

We are delighted to be partnering with behno…I love behno’s sustainable ethos, producing clothing ethically in India and collaborating with local artisans with a focus on expert craftsmanship, which is reflected in every detail,” states Natalie Kingham, Fashion and Buying Director at MATCHESFASHION.COM.

The online fashion platform has taken proactive steps over the past year to focus on the sustainability of their business practices and according to their website, the company plans to “focus on innovation and partnerships to drive positive social and environmental change within {their} business and across relationships.” By providing a platform for these brand collaborations, the e-tailer is leading the way for luxury ecommerce business to take this movement seriously.  

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