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Canadian fashion designer bags UN environmental award
Nov '17
Kaya Dorey; Courtesy: United Nations Environment Programme
Kaya Dorey; Courtesy: United Nations Environment Programme
Kaya Dorey, a young fashion designer from Canada has won Young Champion of the Earth prize by the United Nations Environment Programme and polymer-producing giant Covestro for her sustainable apparel business innovation. Her creativity is also an urban street style for a generation wanting to end the wasteful consumerism of ‘fast fashion'.

Dorey's conscious apparel company produces garments free from toxic dyes and synthetics, instead sourcing hemp and organic cotton and environmentally friendly inks. She is one of six young winners – each representing a region of the world.

The competition was a support to outstanding individuals between the age of 18 and 30 who have big ideas to protect or restore the environment. The winners received $15,000 seed funding, intensive training, and tailor mentorship to help them bring their big environmental ideas to life.

"I want to create a model that can be used all around the world so that we wouldn’t be taking away jobs, instead we’d be creating different, safer more ethical ones. We can’t do it on our own; it’s just about coming together to make these changes in the world," said Dorey.

"No one really thinks about their $5 t-shirt and how that became $5. Garment workers are getting paid lower than liveable wage and in terrible working conditions. We have this fast fashion problem, it’s made people think they’re going out of style every single week so they need something new," explained Dorey. "My vision goes well beyond just a clothing line. I really want to make sustainability cool. I want the aesthetic, the design, the creation of the garment to go beyond just a t-shirt."

"From boosting food crops in the Pacific to sustainable fashion solutions in North America, it's a delight to announce the first Young Champions of the Earth," head of UN Environment Erik Solheim said. "The breadth of innovation and ambition shown by the inaugural winners is nothing short of exceptional, and proof that we must continue to channel support to the world's younger generation for the solutions we need to secure a sustainable future."

"At Covestro, we feel strongly about giving young people opportunities to make positive changes that directly affect them and their own communities. Young Champions of the Earth has allowed this to happen via some amazing and exceptionally diverse ideas which help the environment and benefit the world we live in," Patrick Thomas, Covestro CEO, said.

"Our employees have also embraced the competition by becoming mentors to our Young Champions, which tells us that securing a sustainable future is highly important for them personally and professionally. We are really pushing boundaries with this and will continue to support the great work of UN Environment," added Thomas. (RR)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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