Together for tomorrow


Awards 2023

The Twyg Sustainable Fashion Awards 2023 is open for entries. You do not have to submit garments or prepare a portfolio: you need to simply fill in an entry form for your chosen category.

The winner of the Nicholas Coutts Award receives R10 000 from Nicholas’ family.

Read the criteria and categories, and fill in the appropriate form which you’ll find in the category section below. The deadline is Friday, 15 Wednesday, 27 September 2023.

What do the Twyg Awards stand for?

The Twyg Sustainable Fashion Awards exist to inspire a fashion and textile industry that is kind, fair, inclusive, diverse, nature-friendly, sustainable, and that embraces circular design principles. In a circular economy, fashion needs to be slow: it should aim for clothes to be used more, made to be made again, and made from safe and recycled, and renewable inputs.

Twyg’s vision for fashion is that it helps build thriving communities, eliminates unemployment, and helps close the inequality gap.

Future fashion and textiles systems will:

  • Focus on small batch production and sustainable fashion business models that limit waste;
  • Apply ethical and equitable labour practices, including living wages and safe working environments;
  • Cultivate uncomplicated supply chains which are easier to trace;
  • Be transparent about design and manufacturing practices and sourcing of materials;
  • Use materials that are sustainably sourced and produced, such as natural fibres or recycled textiles;
  • Fashion and textiles (including accessories and footwear) are made-to-last and be kept in use for as long as possible through reuse, repair, remaking, and recycling;
  • Ensure the end-of-life of a garment is considered right from the design phase;
  • Promote reuse, repair, restyling, renting, and recycling


Please ensure you understand the awards criteria and choose your category carefully, as we’re only accepting one entry per brand/designer/organisation/tastemaker.

Winners of the Awards 2022 may not apply for 2023.

Submissions will be judged against the criteria for each category (see below) and will be rated between 1 and 5 for the sections detailed in the entry forms. We expect candidates for the design-related categories to be able to demonstrate:

  • Finished, quality fashion garments, accessories, and/or collections;
  • Ethical labour practices;
  • Transparency in design and manufacturing practices and sourcing of materials;
  • The extent to which materials have been sustainably sourced;
  • Besides the Emerging Designer and the Tastemaker categories, designers, businesses, or brands should have been operating for at least 2 years, and should have made new garments/collections in the last 12 months and before September 2023;
  • The awards are open to entrants living in South Africa.

Categories 2023

Emerging Designer Award

This category is suitable for current students or young emerging designers. Designers can enter using one garment or a collection that addresses the challenges of sustainability in the most exciting and beautiful way.
The assessment will look for creativity and innovation and will recognise that student and emerging designers have the freedom to challenge fashion’s status quo, engaging with environmental and social responsibilities in a playful and creative way.

Accessory Award

This award recognises an accessory brand that implements ethical labour practices, avoids toxic chemicals, considers end-of-life and uses sustainable materials to create a quality item. Ideally, materials used are locally sourced, recyclable or recycled materials. The quality, durability, creativity and innovative design of the nominated brands will be assessed.

Examples of accessories are: jewellery, belts, cuff links and studs, sunglasses, gloves, handbags, hats and headwear, neckties, purses, socks and stockings, veils. Although shoes and boots are sometimes categorised as accessories, this year we’re introducing a footwear category.

Footwear Award

This new category recognises a brand, cobbler or designer who makes shoes and implements ethical labour practices, limits toxic chemicals, considers end-of-life and creates a quality and durable item. Ideally, materials are locally sourced, recyclable or recycled materials. The category also includes repairers of shoes. The quality, durability, creativity and innovative design of the nominated brands or shoes will be assessed.

Innovative Design and Materials Award

This award seeks to recognise a designer who has used innovative techniques to reduce textile and fashion’s negative impact. For instance, this designer could be minimising textile waste through creative pattern cutting using pre- and post-consumer fabric waste, reconstruction techniques, inventing new materials or returning to old, sustainable and cultural practices. If the innovative approach is not original, the innovation being adopted in a contemporary design should be acknowledged.

Trans-seasonal Design Award

This award recognises a collection, garment or brand that promotes trans-seasonal, multi-functionality and versatile style. It rewards quality design that aspires to be timeless and is made to last, i.e. design that transcends seasons.
This category also recognises brands that remain invested in garments after their sale, for example, through the provision of lifetime guarantees and repair services. It supports slower production cycles through trendless fashion and timeless, well-made pieces that will last.

Farm-To-Fashion Award

This category celebrates a brand or designer who is committed to cultivating transparent and traceable supply chains and advocating for regenerative textile practices. The farm-to-fashion movement advocates for rebuilding localised, natural fibre textile systems. The garments created should be made from 100% natural fabric, no fossil-fuel based synthetics and as few toxins and chemicals as possible.

Since synthetic fabrics contribute to ocean pollution, this category is in a partnership with The Beach Co-op, an organisation that is keeping South Africa’s beaches clean and healthy, and protecting and enhancing ocean health.

Nicholas Coutts Award

This award honours the late designer Nicolas Coutts. Nicholas, who beautifully used and explored traditional crafts and techniques in his design. To celebrate his legacy, this award recognises a designer who uses artisanal craft techniques such as weaving, embroidery, botanical dyeing or another artisanal practice to make fashion that foregrounds, celebrates and values the skills of the people who make the garments. Craftsmanship is a living example of slow-paced, resource-mindful and socially sustainable production.
This approach to fashion supports local communities and sustainable development, protecting diversity and cultures. It values the inheritance and application of traditional and new craft skills and makes use of local expertise to enhance the value of fashion products.

Social Impact Award

This category is open to organisations working in the fashion and textile system, including textile producers and manufacturers, CMTs and organisations that have direct positive consequences on people. For instance, these organisations could be raising awareness about a social concern, or creating employment and training opportunities in good and fair working conditions. Businesses or organisations achieve social impact through conscious and deliberate efforts or activities. Twyg aspires for social impact to be inherent in a slow fashion, human-centred approach to fashion.

Retail Award

This award recognises a retailer or retailing initiative that enhances sustainability, including pre-loved and gently worn clothes, swap shops, garment rental, and similar activities. The award is also open to retailers who support local producers, vertical and regional supply chains and sustainable design and manufacturing.

The Tastemaker Award

Tastemakers decide or influence what is, or will become, fashionable. This award recognises a photographer, stylist, influencer, or content creator who has actively promoted slow, sustainable fashion and/or slow living over the last 12 months and who has sparked relevant conversations.
This person is helping shift our fashion aspirations and contributing to a sustainable fashion ecosystem by amplifying alternative fashion practices in the media. The Tastemaker supports slow fashion habits and conscious local businesses while promoting these 5Rs (reduce, repair, refashion, reuse, recycle). The judges will also look at how the fashion content intersects with issues such as race, diversity, inclusion, identity, and culture.

Changemaker Award

The winners with the highest scores in the design categories (Emerging Designer, Accessory, Footwear, Trans-seasonal, Nicholas Coutts, Innovative Design and Materials, Plastic-free Fashion Award) will be judged against the criteria set for the Changemaker Award. This award recognises a designer whose career has embraced sustainable and circular design practices. The recipient’s collection/s will have helped raise awareness of environmental and social issues. This designer demonstrates a commitment to promoting slow consumer fashion habits. This category is not open to nominations.

Please email if you have any queries. Nominations close on Friday, 15 Wednesday, 27 September 2023.

Our work is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 12, which aims to ensure sustainable consumption and production. Read More