UK’s responsible sourcing event Source Fashion will see British fashion designer Patrick McDowell take centre-stage as the show’s responsible fashion keynote speaker.

McDowell will be in conversation with fashion stylist Rebekah Roy at 2pm on 18 February, Sunday where they will discuss his independent brand. The brand is said to represent the designer’s mission for reinventing luxury through a sustainable mindset.

Source Fashion explained that McDowell’s brand garnered attention for redesigning and creating an accessible circular solution and system that creativity can flourish within.

The organisers highlighted that by combining traditional techniques with moral design practices and providing brands and their teams with the necessary tools for creating lasting change, exemplify McDowell’s statement that collaboration provides collective creative success.

Suzanne Ellingham, director of sourcing at Source Fashion, believes the Source Fashion stage is a platform to open discussions around the challenges facing responsible sourcing and will welcome many new speakers to the show.

She said: “I have followed Patrick’s work since his debut in 2018, and when we launched Source Fashion I knew that he would be the perfect keynote. Creating made-to-order pieces in limited quantities using reclaimed fabrics, ethically produced materials as well as trying to maintain a low carbon footprint with all the designs, is no mean feat on the world stage.”

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Source Fashion content programme

The event will open up with the Source Fashion Catwalk by ‘Cult of Fashion’ on 18 February, Sunday and will repeat eight times over the course of the three-day event.

Source Fashion pointed out that key looks from McDowell will be joined by a curated presentation of Source Fashion’s global exhibitors highlighting the season’s trends demonstrating that responsible fashion should never compromise on style.

The schedule on Sunday continues with an engaging session from Geraldine Wharry, fashion futurist on ‘Fashion Futurology – Macro Trends Redefining the Future Fashion Factory’. Followed by the Directors and Co-Founders of Retail 100 Anna Berry and Sarah Allbright, with a seminar on ‘How to source in new regions – a beginner’s guide’.

The first day will end with a panel discussion advising manufacturers looking to de risk their supply chains by working with new regions and will focus on Ethiopia, Madagascar and Tanzania. It will discuss viable alternatives that balance risk against cost and quality and give a unique insight into the benefits of building effective, consistent relationships with these regions from day one to ensure success.

The panel will be moderated by Delphine Clement, International Trade Centre, UN/WTO and will include Hibret Lemma, CEO of Hawassa Industrial Park Investors, Association; Irianja Razafimihary, sales director of Index OI, Madagascar; Perumal Muthiah, merchandise executive at Red Earth, Tanzania.

On 19 February, Monday, the stage will host Jack Stratten, head of trends at Insider Trends with a presentation on the power of supply chain storytelling and how this relates to consumer trends with actionable tips and tools to apply to businesses.

The afternoon will see an interview with Simon Platts, CEO and founder of Recomme, on UK Manufacturing and getting manufacturing back into the UK, followed by Ian Bell, manager EMEA from KornitX, delivering a session on working with supply chain to maximise margins and profitability.

The organisers noted that the Salvation Army Trading Company will discuss one of the “most pressing” issues facing the industry, ‘Breaking the cycle – how to solve the landfill crisis’ in a session exploring ways to become part of the solution to recycling materials.

Continuing this theme, a panel moderated by Ellingham and joined by Charlene Hurlock, co-founder of Swoperz, and Joe Metcalfe, founder of Thrift+, will look at ‘Closing the Loop – how fashion marketplaces are contributing to the circular economy’.

The final day of the event, 20 February, will host a panel discussion titled, ‘All you need to know about sourcing from Nepal and taking advantage of the UK Developing Countries Trading Scheme.’

This session will be delivered by UK policy makers, Karen Johnson from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office; Vijoy Kumar Dugar, president of Nepal Pashmina Industries Association, NPIA; and Dhan Prasad Lamichhane, vice president at NPIA, and moderated by Matthias Knappe of International Trade Centre, UN/WTO.

The final panel discussion will be hosted by Ellingham and joined by Louisa Mordaunt from I Love My Job along with Jo Chidley, Founder of Beauty Kitchen UK on Building a B Corp – how, why and is it necessary?

Ellingham added: “The Source Fashion stage is a platform to open discussions around the challenges facing responsible sourcing and will welcome many new speakers to the show. We built the content programme around responsible business practices and the factors that stand in the way of achieving this and hope the sessions will educate and inspire.”

Recently, Source Fashion delved into the intricacies of consumer behaviour, the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI), sustainability and operational adaptations to predict the top 10 retail trends that will shape the industry in 2024.