MDX community unites to find sustainable solutions in fashion and food at new festival in Dubai Knowledge Park
- Tuesday, 21 March 2023
On Monday 20 March and Tuesday 21 March 2023, the Institute of Sustainable Development was extremely proud to launch For The Love Of The Planet, our brand new two-day festival putting the UAE’s future leaders at the heart of student-driven solutions to the issues of sustainable fashion, food sustainability and developing a circular economy.
Designed to support the UAE in achieving its ambitious goals ahead of its hosting of COP28 in November 2023, the event was supported by an exciting host of industry guests. The agenda was designed to uphold our community’s sustainability objectives, help visitors build knowledge through education, and promote ‘thinking differently’ when it comes to combatting climate change.
Day 1 of the event focused on the concept of sustainable fashion, putting students into contact with inspirational businesses and organisations who are pioneering ways to upcycle existing clothing and pre-loved items and keep more textiles away from landfill.
The event was opened by Jade Povey, Thrift For Good's Community Engagement Officer, who explained how they resell or quality clothes or upcycle, but also how all preloved items, socks with holes or materials that are not resalable, but are repurposed often in mattresses or carpets, keeping all the clothes they receive out of landfill.
Students had the opportunity to get practical and try their hand at ways to upcycle their favourite clothes. Tasneem Nawab from social entreprise Zaish Denim, which specialises in supporting and lifting up artists and artisans through ethical, handcrafted products, visited campus to lead a denim customisation workshop. Ellie Collins, Creative Director of vintage thrift shop Fashion Rerun, brought in some of their collections, which students used in a fast-paced and competitive styling competition to promote the purchase of second hand instead of fast fashion clothing. Thrift For Good also joined forces with us to show students how they can turn old t-shirts into fashionable, usable tote bags.
The workshops demonstrated the creativity and ingenuity that can be found when upcycling clothes, and our students learnt how they can style pre-loved items to express themselves and their personality, while reducing the environmental impact of fashion as an industry.
The day also featured a lively clothes drive, which encouraged students and staff to avoid sending their unused clothes and other items to landfill. All students and community members are encouraged to continue to bring clothes and textiles to campus. Collection boxes are available in Block 15 and 16, Dubai Knowledge Park.
Day 2 of the event, under the theme of the circular economy, saw a wide range of activities ranging from sustainable business solutions focusing on sustainable food systems through to Environmental, Social and Governance best practices, as well as sustainable business funding. A contest was held to create the design for a t-shirt made entirely of fibres generated from recycled plastic bottles, highlighting the practical application of the concepts championed by the event’s key themes.
A riveting address from guest speaker Malachi Halliday of The Halliday Group provided valuable insight into current and future trends of business financing. Mallachi also shared his top tips for entrepreneurs who are looking to navigate the complexities of modern business on a global scale.
Particularly relevant to the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy 2051, a panel discussion on the topic of sustainable food systems took place between distinguished local entrepreneurs and business leaders including Adele Repas (Nutritionist), Iman Suguitan (Cofounder of Co Chocolat), and Daniel Solomon (Cofounder of HeroGo and MDX Dubai alumni). Real-world insights were shared which gave students and other attendees an incredibly valuable look into how businesses are addressing food sustainability challenges right now, demonstrating the viability of business solutions that combine good values with profitability.
A diverse range of sustainability-focused businesses exhibited at the event to educate attendees on the varied business solutions to sustainability. These included Adele Repas Nutritionist, Co Chocolat, HeroGo, DGrade, D K Hot Sauce, Daroora, Enviroserve, Nuttino, Organiq Living, ReLoop, Satori Apothecary, and Skinny Genie.
Our students also showcased their work in sustainability throughout the event in mediums such as fashion, digital media, video, business and design, highlighting the integration of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in their respective curricula. Brilliant student presentations were an inspiration to see, with students demonstrating a passion for the future and being proactively part of solutions that added a great energy to the festival’s activities.
The event could not have been as successful as it was without the amazing contribution from the organisers: Andrew Mackenzie, Margo Tummel, Vaishali Raj Sharma, Rory McConnon, Claudia Maher, Anna Ro, Ryan Kenneth Stephenson, Marian Fletcher, Sai Gayatri Nainani and Slamet Suprianto.
Learn more about For The Love Of The Planet here.