At Christopher Ræburn we’ve always known that materials matter; it’s in our DNA to seek out and select the most intelligent and sustainable fabrics and components to make our products but we also know that we can always do more, try harder, be more innovative and keep pushing the limits of what’s possible. Taking part in the Launch 2020 summit this week re-confirmed the relevance and importance of the path we’re on as a brand. Launch is a partnership between Nike, USAID, the US State department and NASA, seemingly unlikely bedfellows but an amazingly powerful set of players, who’s one objective is to identify sustainable innovation in every arena and bring it to scale. The Launch 2013 challenge is looking for innovations that can change the way we design, make and use fabrics.
The event was hugely inspiring and brought together 150 diverse players all of whom have a key role in creating better materials. It was truly amazing to be in a room where the voices of everyone from CEO’s of chemical companies to fashion design students were given equal relevance and space to be heard. Some of the highlights included astronaut Ron Garan talking about the six months he spent orbiting the globe on a space station and sharing his unique physical and a metaphysical view of the world, what he has achieved in space and on earth is awe inspiring. Joan Benoit, the first woman to win gold in an Olympic marathon, was another hugely inspiring speaker, at 55 she still runs 70 miles a week and is an avid campaigner for environmental issues. Joan and Christopher sat next to each other on the first day of Launch and they worked out that she has already run at least 150,000 miles in her lifetime….Christopher has some catching up to do.
Christopher attended Launch 2020, which took place at Nike HQ in Portland Oregon, having been invited by The Centre for Sustainable Fashion to be part of the Nike Mobilize Makers project in 2012. Mobilize Makers involved the development and testing of a digital tool, aimed at helping designers and makers to understand and select better fabrics and components for their products. The project allowed Christopher to contribute his expertise to shaping a tool that will hopefully be the first step towards creating an industry benchmark for sustainable materials. Christopher also mentored two groups of London College of Fashion students whose job was to test out the first version of the tool through eight design projects each one inspired by a different sport. It was huge pleasure to see the students work on display at the Launch 2020 summit and a major reminder of how important it is to educate the next generation of designers in order to see real change in the industry.