Meet Christina Dean, a dentist turned NGO founder, entrepreneur, environmentalist, documentarist and advocate for sustainable design.
Recently we were lucky enough to sit down with Christina, the founder of Redress in Hong Kong as part of Asia’s Sustainable Fashion Event and learn about what motivated her to launch Redress as well as some of her proudest moments over the past 10 years.
Having travelled around rural and remote areas in Asia performing essential dental services for impoverished communities, Christina witnessed horrific pollution. Asia, a global hub of textile manufacturing, was destroying itself through lack of education around sustainable practices and the impacts of the clothing industry on the environment. “I saw rivers literally turn pink and red,” recalls Christina. She settled in Hong Kong 10 years ago motivated and compelled to take action.
I saw rivers literally turn pink and red.
Taking the brave step into the unknown, Christina’s passion for advocacy, education, the environment and sustainable fashion saw the launch of Redress – a NGO whose goal is to reduce waste in the fashion industry. Recounting early advice that everything takes a lot longer than imagined to achieve, 10 years later Christina is now in the position where Redress is making a meaningful impact on the fashion industry through its many initiatives.
Most renowned for its annual EcoChic Design Award, Christina cites the awards as one of her most proudest accomplishments since the inception of Redress. Launched in 2011, The EcoChic Design Award is a true pioneer of sustainable fashion design. Over the past seven years, The EcoChic Design Award has brought global attention to the importance of sustainable design to the next generation of designers, encouraging and educating them. And each year the awards just get bigger, better and more global.
In addition to showcasing exciting sustainable designers, Redress has launched a sustainable fashion educator pack to support educators with resources to integrate sustainable fashion into fashion curriculums. Christina says, “the sustainable fashion educator pack is filling a gap in established fashion education and so far has reached over 25,000 people which is very rewarding”.
Another proud moment? The launch of BYT in September 2017. BYT is the new up-cycled social impact fashion brand that is Redress’ latest commercial venture. BYT’s inaugural collections of jackets upcycles luxury brands’ unwanted fabrics to create striking pieces made from high quality materials that would otherwise have been wasted, sending a standout statement that fashion, as one of the world’s biggest environmental polluters, can be a force for good.
As to what’s next for Christina? Ensuring Redress has a strong succession plan in place so that it’s meaningful work continues into the future is a current project. But in the meantime, she is flying all over to Asia to meet budding designers, educate and raise awareness and also work on a particularly special project that is close to her heart – a documentary on the intricacies of orphanages and adoption in the region.