Follow Vogue Arabia

Why Sustainability is at the Heart of the Vogue Fashion Prize Powered by NEOM

Vogue Fashion Prize

Vogue Arabia sustainability editor-at-large Livia Firth at the Dhaka factory in Bangladesh. Courtesy Livia Firth

Today (November 18) is the last day to apply for the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize Powered by NEOM and at the core of this fashion prize edition is an important issue: sustainability.

Not a one-off, sustainability has been ingrained in the ethos of both Vogue Arabia and NEOM for years. In December 2019, Vogue launched Vogue Values, announcing it as “a testament to the power of the global brand when it speaks with a collective voice.” The statement of principles is one that each Vogue editor-in-chief has signed their name to.

In parallel, the foundations of the Saudi region of NEOM were assuredly being laid. Dubbed a “living laboratory” built on the Red Sea, NEOM is set to transform the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia into a leading global innovation and trade center using sustainable practices. As NEOM was exploring digital sciences, automated civil service, and advanced manufacturing, Vogue Arabia was staunchly searching to make a meaningful contribution to its Vogue Values, one that would be heard around the world. The hire of sustainability editor-at-large Livia Firth furthered that goal. In retrospect, it was only a matter of time before NEOM and Vogue Arabia would join forces, to collectively seek out and elevate burgeoning talent imbued with and aspiring to go above and beyond sustainable practices.

The fashion industry sorely needs it. A US $2.5 trillion global business, fashion is responsible for 10% of carbon emissions. Also, a shocking 2,700 liters of water is wasted to produce one shirt, and almost 4 000 liters of water is need to produce a single pair of jeans. What’s more, latest research has revealed that 21 billion tons of clothes are sent to landfills each year, and 40% of clothing purchased is never worn. While these stats aren’t new, they must be at the forefront of the minds of all of fashion’s players, specifically those next-generation designers who have the ability to action real change from creator to consumer.

At the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize launch announcement, Wayne Borg, Managing Director of the Media, Entertainment, Culture, and Fashion sectors at NEOM, iterated, “Celebrating and promoting emerging Saudi talent is a fundamental aspect of NEOM’s mandate, along with advancing sustainability and innovation in fashion as we create a global research and development center to drive the future of fashion in terms of what we wear and how we wear it – sustainably and ethically.” He concluded that the platform “will support the incredible talent of our community and provide a path to the future of sustainable fashion.”

The winners of the 2020 Fashion Prize will be determined by its committee, and winners will be announced next month with the Fashion Prize awarding the designers substantial financial grants, retail opportunities, press editorial, marketing, and mentorship, collectively representing nearly US $500,000 in value. The winning designer will receive a placement on Net-a-Porter and all 2020 finalists will be present at an exclusive Fashion Prize showroom during Paris fashion week in March 2021. If you’ve yet to sign up, do so now.

Read Next: Former Vogue Fashion Prize winners reflect on their success

View All
Vogue Collection