Mostafiz Uddin, managing director of Denim Expert Limited and founder of Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE), has won Sustainable Fashion Champion at the Drapers Sustainable Fashion Awards 2021 for promoting sustainability and driving expected changes in the fashion industry.
Drapers is a 134-year old renowned fashion magazine based in the United Kingdom. The magazine organises Sustainable Fashion Conference every year where global fashion stakeholders join.
The Drapers Sustainable Fashion Awards was introduced last year to recognise the strides that are reducing the fashion industry's environmental impact and creating fairer working conditions across the supply chain.
This year the conference took place virtually on Thursday (10 March).
"During the pandemic, I was vocal about the issue of buyer-supplier relationships and, in speaking out, I wanted to champion the cause of suppliers all over the world. Too often suppliers in garment supply chains do not have a voice because they fear that by speaking out, they will be treated unfavourably by brands," said Mostafiz Uddin.
"All I want to see is a fair, ethical and sustainable industry where buyers and manufacturers work in an environment of collaboration, not conflict," he added.
Judged by an independent panel of sustainability and fashion retail experts, the awards shine a spotlight on the best practices within the global fashion industry, so others can learn how to make positive changes in this sector.
"Described as a pioneer by many in the industry, he (Muotafiz) was the first contributor from Bangladesh to the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Foundation, and the first denim manufacturer in the country to join the UNFCCC for Climate Action. He is the founder and CEO of the Bangladesh Apparel Exchange, which aims to bridge the gap between manufacturers, buyers and policy makers in the country, to accelerate sustainability," said the judges.
"During the pandemic our winner put his head above the parapet to campaign for the rights of Bangladeshi suppliers facing cancelled and unpaid orders," they added.
The judges of Drapers Sustainable Fashion Champion Award 2021 were Kerry Bannigan, founder, Conscious Fashion Campaign; Sarah Ditty, global policy director, Fashion Revolution; Miriam Lahage, founder, Aequip; Samata Pattinson, CEO, Red Carpet Green Dress; Caroline Rush, CEO, British Fashion Council; Lucy Shea, Group CEO, Futerra; Jane Shepherdson, chairman, My Wardrobe HQ; and Dilys Williams, director, Centre for Sustainable Fashion.
Jill Geoghegan, acting editor of Drapers, said, "Despite the challenges thrown up by the Covid-19 pandemic, fashion brands and retailers increasingly recognise that sustainability is a business imperative."
"Many businesses continued to invest in cleaning up their supply chains and introducing new models of working, despite the unprecedented trading conditions. The Drapers Sustainable Fashion Awards highlight and celebrate these advancements, paving the way for a more responsible future for the industry," he added.
H&M CEO Helena Helmersson, retailer KiK MD Stefan Forsbach, retailer Matalan's director Damian Hopkins, Apparel Associations like IAF president Han Bekke, Danish Textile Association CEO Thomas Klausen, editors Sabine Kühnl, Brett Mathews congratulated Mostafiz virtually.