The Billie System Unveils First Multi-Sector Collaboration with Cynthia & Xiao and Shangri-La Hotels in South China
Joining forces with a designer knitwear brand and a renowned hotel group, The Billie System launches first-of-its-kind upcycling project
HONG KONG, S.A.R., 30 September 2020 – The Billie System is excited to announce it has teamed up with knitwear designer label Cynthia & Xiao and luxury hospitality group Shangri-La Hotels within the South China region to launch a meaningful collaborative project that repurposes retired hotel bed linens into travel and guest amenities. Following the pandemic’s unprecedented impact on the travel industry this year, Shangri-La Group is pleased to pioneer a meaningful project that gives back to the community and provides a stylish experience to global travellers.
From October 2020, a limited-edition collaboration designed by Cynthia & Xiao will be available at selected Shangri-La Hotels in the South China region and in selected boutiques. The campaign is inspired by Diqing, located in the Tibetan Autonomous prefecture, China. The county’s name is synonymous with “earthly Eden”, and the region is considered an epicentre of Chinese biodiversity for its diverse ethnicity. The vibrant art and cultural scene of Diqing boasts vividly coloured, intricately handmade products by different ethnic groups, which inspired the designs.
“Though 2020 has been very challenging for many fashion brands, we saw new opportunities where companies from different sectors are opening their doors to collaborate and share their own resources,” says Cynthia Mak, co-founder and designer of Cynthia & Xiao. “This project is the perfect example. We feel honoured to be part of such a meaningful and fun experience that expresses our shared vision for sustainability.”
“We’re very excited to have the opportunity to partner with two wonderful brands in Cynthia & Xiao and the Shangri-La Group in South China,” says Ronna Chao, Chairperson of Novetex Textiles. “We believe that circularity is the future of sustainability – and collaborating across different industries will pave the way for all of us.”
The fashion industry is notorious for being one of the largest polluters in the world, with an estimated 18 million tonnes of textile waste produced annually – 95 percent of which could have been recycled. The large volumes of textile waste include other products apart from clothing, such as bedding. A single hotel, for instance, could potentially dispose up to three tonnes of linen every year. Particularly for luxury hotels where standards are high, beddings with even the slightest imperfections are regularly discarded.
Conceived to help alleviate the issue of textile waste is The Billie System, a textile recycling system created by Novetex Textiles together with the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA). Whereas other recycling processes typically require high volumes of water and chemicals, The Billie System does not consume water nor produce chemical waste – creating an efficient solution for brands and companies that wish to revive excess inventory or unused raw materials.
Through The Billie System’s innovative and environmentally-friendly textile recycling process, discarded bedsheets from regional hotel groups are broken down into fibres to produce new yarns. The recycled yarns will be incorporated into the exclusive line of travel and hotel amenities that comprises a robe, cardigan, and travel pouch. The products come in vibrant colours and whimsical graphic prints, drawn from the playful spirit of Cynthia & Xiao.
Tiger Graphic Robe and Travel Pouch – As tiger motifs have been an icon of Cynthia & Xiao since AW17, the designers were drawn to the traditional Tibetan tiger rugs. The tiger rugs are closely associated with tantric meditation as it was believed that the tiger provides protection during meditation. These rugs were also used as a status symbol for high officials and can be seen at ritual dance performances at festivals. Through Cynthia & Xiao, the tiger rug is reimagined into a graphic form and replicated onto cosy hotel robes and versatile travel bags, all incorporating recycled yarn from The Billie System.
Bangdian Graphic Print Cape – The contrasting block stripes on the cape are inspired by the Bangdian (or Pangden) Apron, a colourful handwoven fabric worn at the waist by women as part of their traditional dress. The symbolism of the colours and design on the Bangdian differ between groups of people. Cynthia & Xiao showcases the beauty of the culture through a recreation of the iconic apron with recycled yarn.
About The Billie System
The Billie System is an upcycling factory and textile mill in Hong Kong created by Novetex Textiles Limited to help promote a circular economy. Formally launched in July 2019, the innovative, award-winning system is a combination of new and existing technologies designed to process and recycle textile waste such as discarded garments, excess apparel and raw material inventory into fibres. Without using any water or emitting hazardous discharge, The Billie System yields quality recycled fibres that can then be spun into yarn to produce a variety of textiles. In developing a new resource from textile waste, The Billie System advocates circular practices in the textile industry. For more information on The Billie System, visit www.thebillieupcycling.com. Follow @thebillieupcycling on Instagram and find them through #TheBillieMovement.
About Cynthia & Xiao
Cynthia & Xiao is a knitwear designer label established in 2014 by Central Saint Martins graduates, Cynthia Mak and Xiao Xiao. The Chinese design duo inject excitement and humour into basic knitwear silhouettes through vibrant, bold and whimsical graphic prints for men, women and children. The fun-loving spirit of Cynthia & Xiao, conveyed through each graphic character and print design, aims to bring joy to the world.
Shortly after their debut, Cynthia and Xiao had gained international recognition as a finalist in Vogue Talents for Asia, and made their first runway showcase during the Autumn Winter 2017 Paris Fashion Week. In 2018, Cynthia & Xiao was named one of the 10 Asian Designers to watch and was a semi-finalist of the International Woolmark Prize. For more information, please visit www.cynthiaandxiao.com.
About Shangri-La Group
Shangri-La Group is one of the world’s premier developers, owners and operators of hotel and investment properties which comprises office buildings, commercial real estate and serviced apartments/residences. The Group’s other principal activities include hotel management services as well as property development for sale. It currently owns and/or manages over 100 hotels globally in more than 75 destinations under the Shangri-La, Kerry, JEN and Traders brands. Prominently positioned in Asia, the Group has a substantial pipeline of upcoming hotel and mixed-use development projects in Australia, Bahrain, Mainland China, Cambodia, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. For more information, please visit www.shangri-la.com/group.