Every year six young people from all over the world win the ‘Young Champion of the Earth’, wanted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) together with the Covestro company, in support of environmental protection and sustainable use of natural resources; the prize consists of $15,000 seed funding, plus intensive training and tailor mentorship to help the project be realized.
This year, among the six winners announced in November, there was also Kaya Dorey, 29-year-old designer from North Vancouver, a Canadian city in British Columbia, who won for her innovation in the sustainable garment industry. Her brand, NOVEL SUPPLY CO., produces clothes free from toxic dyes and synthetics, enhancing ecological inks and natural materials such as organic cotton and especially hemp which, says Dorey, “is the most sustainable fibre in my mind. It requires a lot less water to grow“.
But the added value the designer’s project is that the business behind the brand is based on the ‘closed-loop’ philosophy of production, that is on a ‘take-back’ programme that Kaya is working on, which requires the company takes responsibility for the garments it produces when they are worn out, as well as ensuring there is a solution for any waste created in the production process.
In addition, Dorey dreams of establishing an automated manufacturing hub for other local clothing labels where machines should both manufacture apparel and facilitate research on the composability of fabrics and the innovation of new, more sustainable materials. The designer’s ambition is that this model takes root all over the world and for that to happen she asks for unity of purpose, but also of actions.