How An Innovation Accelerator Program Is Empowering Imagination In The Most Sustainable Manner

Meet 12 Innovation Accelerator Fashion Start-up Finalists Destined To Make Both Social and Environmental Impact.

Muchaneta Kapfunde
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Founding editor & WearableTechStylist of FashNerd.com. Over 10 years’ experience in Journalism & Fashion PR. Currently one of the leading influencers speaking and writing about Fashion & Lifestyle Technology.

Aiming to fast-track sustainable innovation within the luxury and apparel industries, Fashion For Good, Plug and Play and Kering, a company known for its ensemble of luxury houses in fashion, have come together to give startups the opportunity to be part of an innovation accelerator. The initiative attracted over 250 applicants. Out of the shortlisted of twenty, a final selection of twelve start-ups have been awarded a place in the ‘Plug and Play – Fashion for Good’ accelerator.

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The twelve start-ups hail  from varied fields and academic backgrounds around the globe. The selection process was based on their comprehensive approaches to the textile supply-chain, such as the development of new raw materials that will reduce fashion’s environmental impacts and finding alternative production methods that will increase clothes’ longevity, and the development of new processes which enable closed-loop product lifecycles.

On their collaboration with Kering, Leslie Johnston of C&A Foundation, the founding partner of Fashion for Good shared, “These 12 exciting start-ups are helping the world reimagine how fashion is designed, made, worn and reused. They were chosen because they can all play a pivotal role in achieving the Five Goods of a new, transformed fashion industry: Good Materials, Good Economy, Good Energy, Good Water and Good Lives. The Plug and Play – Fashion for Good Accelerator nurtures and funds early-stage ideas, business models and technologies likes these to scale them and embed them into the industry. We can’t wait to get it started.”

“These 12 exciting start-ups are helping the world reimagine how fashion is designed, made, worn and reused.”

Marie-Claire Daveu, Chief Sustainability Officer and head of international institutional affairs of Kering added, “The key to sustainable progress is innovation, and the ingenuity and endless possibilities that these twelve start-ups have brought to us is truly impressive. We look forward to working closely with them to achieve operational practicality, and at the scale required for widespread adoption so that we can support the transformational change that is critically needed in our industry.”

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The Finalists

The selected 12 start-ups are

Agraloop: Collecting waste from fibrous food-crop production including hemp, flax, banana and pineapple, Agraloop transforms these into fibers for use in textiles. Processed using conventional cotton machinery, this new material offers a biodegradable and more environmentally-friendly alternative to conventional fibres.

Amadou: Made from the skin of amadou mushrooms, Amadou is a renewable, biodegradable, vegetarian and lower-environmental- impact alternative to leather. A pilot collection of footwear and accessories have already successfully undergone viability, aesthetic and durability tests to ensure Amadou is suitable for use within the textile sector.

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Amadou is a spongy, flammable substance prepared from bracket fungi. It resembles felt when the processing is complete.

Dragon: Founded by a team of electric and mechanical engineers, Dragon is a novel water purification technology which operates off light energy. The technology includes a high-efficiency water filtration system, which when applied to textile production processes could increase water quality whilst reducing the level of chemicals and energy required.

Dropel: Already developing performance-enhanced natural fabrics and fibers for the apparel industry, Dropel is a bio-degradable polymer that is implemented into the natural fiber. It repels all watery or oily substances, thus increasing the lifespan and durability of any fiber.

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Dropel is a bio-degradable polymer that is implemented into the natural fiber.

ICA Bremen: mUsing nano-technology to introduce scan-able tracers into fibers of organic cotton, ICA Bremen provides the technology needed to identify organic cotton and the mix ratio of conventional and organic within textiles.

MySource: An intelligent online business network, MySource matches fashion professionals to the connections and information they need to build successful, sustainable businesses. The site builds on ten years of work by the Ethical Fashion Forum, and a global network in 141 countries.

MycoTex: A mushroom-based textile shaped on custom-fitted moulds, MycoTex, run by Neffa’s Aniela Hoitink, is a new one-step way of producing clothing that eliminates the need for spinning yarns, weaving and other processes. In addition to being chemical-free and requiring little water to develop, MycoTex is 100% biodegradable meaning clothing can be composted after use.

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MycoTEX -NEFFA

Pili-bio: Via the use of microorganisms, Pili could enable the textile sector to phase-out petrochemical, non-renewable dyes and replace them with natural organic ones, notably reducing the level of toxic chemicals used in textile production.

RePack: Both a new type of packaging and a new business model, RePack has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of e- commerce packaging by 80%. Once a product is received, the client sends the packaging back to the store for re-utilisation and thus closes the loop.

Sundar: Sundar is building the digital supply chain for the modern, faster, sustainable fashion industry. The platform connects manufactures and suppliers of textiles, trims, accessories and garments with brands and retailers, and enables in minutes what used to take weeks and months to accomplish

Tersus: Via its water-free technology, Tersus offers a replacement to conventional high-polluting fiber & apparel cleaning processes. Specifically aimed at brands, dry-cleaning professionals, and industrial laundry cleaning, it uses recycled fluid CO2 (from industrial manufacturing) as a solvent instead of water.

Tipa’s 100% biodegradable and compostable packaging solutions

Tipa: Having already developed 100% biodegradable and compostable packaging solutions made from bio-plastics for other industries, Tipa has the potential to reduce waste levels and the use of plastics in the fashion industry.

Under the accelerator, the start-ups will follow a unique 3-month programme in Amsterdam during which Plug and Play, Fashion for Good and Kering will support them in scaling-up their innovations by providing mentoring, training, networking opportunities, and other valuable resources.

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