Ford Car Seats on the Catwalk
The Redress Forum Ford Design Challenge

While the worlds of fashion and automotive frequently collide – the design and promotion of new cars between the two is well-trodden territory – these collaborations tend to be more about creating new products than recycling the old.

But some fashion designers have found a way to upcycle seat covers and other parts from Ford cars to give them a new lease of life – on the catwalk.

And unless you happen to have an intimate knowledge of the interior fabric of a new Ford, you wouldn’t recognise the automotive origins of the dresses, jackets and skirts, transformed from seat covers and other leftovers from Ford vehicle production.

These items, made by emerging designers from Europe and Asia as part of the Redress Forum: Ford Design Challenge, look like any other piece of couture.

The Redress Forum: Ford Design Challenge was organised with Redress, the sustainable fashion charity, to highlight sustainable design in fashion and automotive and was held during Hong Kong Fashion Week.

Amandah Andersson, from Sweden, a finalist from the Ford-sponsored 2014/15 EcoChic Design Award, used felt and cloth from Ford Mondeo and Ford Kuga seats to help create the winning ensemble in just three hours.

Over the last 14 years, Ford has been working to incorporate sustainable materials, made from items such as recycled plastic bottles, shredded cotton, kenaf, wheat straw, soy beans and castor oil, into their cars. Ford is currently working with Heinz to investigate the use of tomato fibres in developing sustainable materials for use in vehicle manufacturing.

Finding a home in the fashion world for the leftovers from automotive production sees Ford as givers rather than just receivers of sustainable materials.

“Sustainability is a key element of Ford design and it is tremendously exciting to see material from our cars given a new lease of life on the catwalk,” said Emily Lai, manager, Colour and Materials Design, Ford Asia Pacific.

“Designers have the power to affect environmental waste through their designs and the design process, and can minimise this total impact through the creative use of materials and other innovations. All the creations we have seen are innovative and thought-provoking, and we applaud each participant for rising to the challenge.”

Caroline Kidd